Bill Gates active during Vista launch

NEW YORK: Using great fanfare, the 36-hour product launch of Microsoft Vista aimed to take the company's newest product to average consumers.

NEW YORK: Using great fanfare, the 36-hour product launch of Microsoft Vista aimed to take the company's newest product to average consumers.

“Overall, we were looking to do a few things,” said Debbie Anderson, communications director at Microsoft Windows, about the launch strategy. “A key element was to humanize [the product].”

The launch started yesterday with the “human billboard,” which was unveiled by aerialists and performance artists in Manhattan. Then there was a luncheon with Steve Ballmer attended by analysts and members of the press, a thank you celebration hosted by Microsoft for all of those who helped with the creation of the Vista operating system, including some of the 5 million beta testers whose input helped create the system; and a retail event this morning at a Manhattan Best Buy, also attended by Steve Ballmer. Outside of New York City, 30 stores nationwide participated in grassroots events last night that included entertainment and door prizes.

Bill Gates also made appearances, most notably on the Today show and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Together, Microsoft hoped to reach the large proportion of Microsoft consumers who aren’t necessarily tech savvy.

“These were really exciting opportunities to meet with consumers where they are,” said Anderson. “Throughout the day, a lot of different media were targeted that same way.”

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