Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hasta La Vista (Baby)

Microsoft launches Vista into the consumer market today. What seems curious is that there is little or no big print media push on the launch day. I had a look in this morning’s Financial Times and The Irish Times and there are no adverts at all, certainly none of the full-page extravaganzas that you might expect based on previous launches, just some small editorial in the business sections. Somewhere at home, I have kept the edition of the FT from the day that Windows95 was launched. I am working from memory here, but the reason that I held on to it was that not only did Redmond run a four-page centre spread advertorial, but Apple also ran interference with a double page ad for MacOS and IBM ran another double page for OS2/Warp. (Now that takes me back.)
It seem that in today’s marketplace the arrival of a new OS is just not as remarkable an event as it once was, even five years after the previous major iteration of Windows. I imagine that the majority of the consumer market is going to migrate to Vista by upgrading their hardware rather than purchasing the boxed OS off the shelf at PCWorld. I also find myself agreeing with those commentators who predict that this may turn out to be the last big Microsoft OS launch proper, with their future model being one of more frequent incremental iterations pushed out over the internet. The question then arises as to whether the need to create marketable brand identities for OS product releases will evaporate in that future. For example, I do not know whether I am running Gmail 2.6, or Gmail 3.1, or Gmail Ultimate Edition, as it is always just essential Gmail to me. The cloud is always up-to-date.