Technology: Windows 7 launch praised

PR professionals commend Microsoft for learning lessons from problematic Vista launch.

Microsoft has gained plaudits for rolling out an ambitious digital-driven PR campaign to launch operating system Windows 7, three years after its Windows Vista product fizzled out upon release.

The tech giant plans to promote the new product via sites such as YouTube, using its 'Windows 7 Launch Party' video to generate conversation. The video acts as a guide to hosting a Windows 7 party.

The campaign, handled in conjunction with its UK consumer agency 3 Monkeys, also makes a major effort to reach online influencers - after Vista drew sustained criticism from bloggers.

Windows 7 launch PR lead for Microsoft UK, James Tutt, told PRWeek that the campaign was attempting to let consumers 'do the talking'.

'The tone of the launch has also been different from previous launches,' said Tutt. 'A lot of the PR campaign has educated people about the improvements on Windows XP and Windows Vista.'

The campaign has drawn cautious praise from PR professionals, for taking on board lessons from the Vista launch.

Edelman's director of digital strategy, UK, Marshall Manson said: 'The launch parties are interesting. If you get together we'll reward you. It's quite a cool way of encouraging people to come together around your product.'

Ketchum Pleon's head of digital media, Fernando Rizo, said: 'The PR campaign has been quite practical. Microsoft has acknowledged what everyone already knows: Windows Vista was annoying.'

Ruder Finn's director of digital strategies, Ged Carroll, agreed: 'Windows 7 is assured success as the company has listened to, and acted on, customer concerns.'

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