Windows 10 rollout plans reveal a humbler Microsoft
This will not be your father’s Windows launch.
Microsoft outlined on Monday its global release plans for Windows 10, a desktop and laptop operating system Microsoft has taken to calling “a service.” It will include global launch events, a television and digital advertising and marketing campaign and a staggered rollout intended to give customers “the best upgrade experience.”
SEE ALSO: Hands On With the Windows 10 Preview
If all of that sounds like business as usual, it’s not. Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Corporate VP of Windows Device Marketing told Mashable that this launch campaign the company is taking a humbler approach. “We’re celebrating the fans as opposed to having some broad set of spectacles,” said Mehdi.
That means no big name stars (Sorry, Jay Leno, Windows 95 was a one-time thing), and probably no name-brand musicians licensing songs for the advertisements (sorry, Madonna, sorry Rolling Stones). Instead, Microsoft is going to put users (or “fans” as they’ve taken to calling them) front and center in virtually all launch activities, which kick off on July 29.
These relative low-key launch events will take place in 13 cities (including London, New York, Berlin and Beijing) and in smallish spaces like lofts. No Times Square blow-out, with attention-grabbing pop-up showrooms. There will, though, be a heavy Windows 10 presence in the 110 Microsoft stores (U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico).
Even the commercials, which will start running on TV in six major markets on launch day, will have a different tone.
“Less ‘rah-rah’ product features with thumping music. Something different, to usher in a new era of Windows fan, a more global, a more diverse audience,” said Mehdi who insisted that this humbler approach wasn’t prompted by consumer reaction to anything Microsoft had done before.
“For us, a big part — a general trend with all products we’re doing — is we really have real conviction on focusing on our fans. What’s most important is the product experience. They help shape it. When we do right by them they tell other people,” he said.
To that end, Microsoft will be especially careful in the Windows 10 rollout.
Yes, it will still be a free upgrade (Windows 7 and up), but the company is staggering the rollout. It will start with the 5 million Windows Insiders who’ve participated in the beta program. However, even within that set, Microsoft will be looking to start with “machines we know we can upgrade,” said Mehdi.
If it works, Microsoft will move to the next set of users, working its way out of concentric circles of users. Those on the outer rings may have less compatible systems and, perhaps, more driver issues. By dealing with the more prepared systems first, Microsoft may be able to avoid issues with what are probably somewhat older PCs.
A potential one billion users will know their system is ready for the upgrade when they get a pop-up message on their machine.
Mehdi added that even if you don’t have a machine to upgrade, new systems running Windows 10 should start appearing as soon as launch day.
The operating system will be feature complete on July 29th, though some features like Hello biometric security will require additional software, like an infrared camera.
Windows 10 is clearly an upgrade, but Microsoft is extending that theme beyond the computer and to, well, the world. On July 29, it will also launch a global initiative called “Upgrade Your World.”
Microsoft is investing $10 million in nine global and 100 local nonprofits foundations. Included in the global agencies are CARE, Code.org, The Malala Fund and Special Olympics. It’s also launching a search for a tenth global agency, which people can nominate starting on July 29 and 100 more local agencies, a program which kicks off in September.
Microsoft attempting world domination? Sounds familiar after all.