Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Phoenix Launch Wrap-Up

Monday Night
"They won't line up", my a$$. The Phoenix launch had over 100 people show up. When the doors opened up at 10pm, the line was all the way down the front of the building. It wasn't as many people as I had hoped, but it wasn't the Xbox 360 launch either. At the same time, there were a lot of people who hadn't heard about Vista until that evening, which was really cool.

The last 1/3 of the line

They opened the doors, and after they handed out the badges, we all scattered. Almost immediately, I saw that there was an HP TouchSmart PC on one of the end-caps. So I brought a couple people over to do some demos. A little over an hour later, I still wasn't done answering questions and showing off all the little features in Vista. It was really cool.

So anyway, former NFL Player and ESPN Radio Commentator Ron Wolfley was on hand for pictures, and he spent a fair amount of time with each customer, which was nice. He was a great guy. Outside, there were hotdogs, drinks, and music, and the tents had people rotating through constantly.

FINALLY, Midnight rolled around, and they brought Vista & Office out on carts. Within minutes, all of the Ultimate editions were gone, and they even had some Signature Editions to sell. Most of the Home Premiums were gone fairly quickly too. I didn't see one copy of Home Basic on the shelves... not sure what the plan was there.

Of course, I made it my personal mission to get out and tell everyone about the Windows Vista Family Discount. Practically everyone I talked to owned more than one computer at home, and was shocked that there was a way to get such a deep discount. I really hope that people take advantage of it while they can.

Tuesday Afternoon
There was still stuff going on all day Tuesday, so I came back around 5pm to lend a hand until the giveaways ended at 7pm. The store was packed. Chad, the Microsoft Rep on hand to coordinate everything, was back giving demos in the front of the store. There was a crowd of about 10 people around one of the kiosks up front, and I wasn't there but 2 seconds when he asked me to give demos again. So I walked a few of them through the media features in Vista, including a very nice couple and a guy who was curious about the "bad DRM that he heard about in Vista".

At one point, Chad came back and gave me a really cool Windows Vista '07 jersey, autographed by Ron Wolfley, the NFL player from the night before.


I'm going to get it framed, along with my "Vista07" license plate. Anyway, it was really cool of him to do that, and I just wanted to say "Thanks" here in public.

Anyway, I did a few more demos, and then left about 7:20pm. I really hope my future Mother-In-Law's school won the $25,000 computer lab, because I didn't hear who won while I was there.

Overall Impressions
All in all, I ended up spending over 3 1/2 hours showing people the really great work Microsoft has done over the last 5 years. And it was well worth it.

You know, I thought the whole "Wow starts now" thing was kinda ridiculous. But, having given 20-30 demos to regular people over the last couple days, I've never heard so many "wow"s over an operating system. People seriously never thought that Windows would look that great. The Top 5 'Wow' Moments of the event:

    1. Flip 3D
    2. Media Center TV Search
    3. Start Menu Search
    4. Word 2007
    5. Burning Photos to Video DVD

It was really fun to see people's first reactions to Windows Vista. There wasn't a single person I talked to that was like "Nah, I'm not really interested." Even on Tuesday, where the only thing going on was the giveaways.

Thanks to everyone I got to talk to... it was great meeting you. I had an absolutely wonderful time, and it made me wish that I could go around the country and demo Vista to consumers for a living. I met some truly wonderful people.

Well, that's it for me tonight. I'll have some more thoughts up tomorrow.

Posted on Jan 31 2007, 02:04 AM by Robert McLaws
Filed under:


  • Matt said:

    I didnt really think many would show up.  I think the vast majority of people will get vista through a new PC purchase in the remainder of 2007 (especially around christmas).

    January 31, 2007 7:48 AM
  • Most of the people that were there that knew about it already had already bought it online. I think that's where most of the box copy sales are coming from, and that's why turnout was low.

    January 31, 2007 10:41 AM
  • They can nay-say Microsoft all they want, BillG still puts out a great product :)


    January 31, 2007 11:01 AM
  • Bob Jones said:

    Compare to the lines of an Apple store opening, or the release of a new version of Mac OS X.

    I guess the complete lack of innovation corresponds to the complete lack of excitement.

    January 31, 2007 11:03 AM
  • January 31, 2007 2:19 PM
  • You can't by OS X on which pretty much means you have to wait in line, doesn't it.

    Also, there are fewer Apple stores, so of course the lines will be longer. You can get Windows Vista at like 30,000 retailers. So that means you can go more places to get it.

    Did I mention the store was packed Tuesday evening?

    January 31, 2007 2:34 PM
  • Hadley Stern said:

    You've been able to buy OS X for ages at Amazon...

    Congrats to Microsoft on finally getting Vista out, but about 98 percent of the features are direct copies of OS X. Spotlight, widgets (sorry...gadgets), etc. etc. etc.

    January 31, 2007 7:31 PM
  • Bob Jones said:

    You couldn't even be bothered to search for Mac OS X?

    Lazy or incompetent, the perfect match for Microsoft.

    January 31, 2007 11:22 PM
  • My bad, I checked on that after the fact. If you read the post after this one, you'll see that I did in fact list as an OSX retailer. But you can't get it there on launch day.

    Hadley, I hate to burst your bubble, bust most of the features that you think Microsoft copied, Apple copied from them after Microsoft put out Longhorn at PDC 2003. Search was not integrated in OSX the way it is now, but Apple added it after Longhorn debuted... and the Sidebar was demoed before Apple stole the idea/implementation from Konfabulator. So just because Apple released theirs first doesn't mean that Apple demoed them publicly first.

    February 1, 2007 12:11 AM
  • Wally said:

    I was wooed by only a small wow or two in a retail location. Now I'm at home with a computer that can't play Sims2 at all, let alone faster than my older PC, which is why I was in the store to begin with. I really only access the internet and use programs like Word, Excel, and Power Point for school projects. Clearly I'm not a huge technology buff or even a serious gamer....but I'm really put out, put off, and frustrated. I expected more of Microsoft and their big wow in my brand new computer. I have had the worst time trying to get any information on this as well, from $59 to ask microsoft a question to HP/Circuit City not knowing enough to answer any questions either. I hate the hassle of having to pack everything back up and return it to the store, but I still haven't found any other options. Any ideas or direction you can point me in? Thanks

    February 1, 2007 2:49 AM
  • Wally, use my contact form to e-mail me and I'll see what I can do.

    February 1, 2007 9:19 PM
  • Carl said:

    I was excited when Vista was launched.  My university had a PC in their IT office with Vista Business.  I checked it out right before break and loved it.  It is a welcome break from that all to familiar grey start button and outdated menu layout!  I was psyched!

    I used Linux for a while, and even used Mac OS X.  I had a PC laptop that I bought a few months ago (I know, I had to have both OS's).  I bought Vista Home Premuim Academic today, and just now had enough time for the upgrade.  I think I'll stay up all night and play with it.  It's good to be back...

    February 2, 2007 9:21 PM