Finding Grand Things in An XP Package
Within an economy in the swamp, in a world where terrorists abuse the most basic tenets of the civilized world and in a city that needed some good news, Microsoft was able to turn a product launch for a new operating system into something grander last weeWithin an economy in the swamp, in a world where terrorists abuse the most basic tenets of the civilized world and in a city that needed some good news, Microsoft was able to turn a product launch for a new operating system into something grander last week in New York. The product, Windows XP, is a decent, fairly stable operating system that finally does away with most of the baggage of previous Windows generations. The host was Bill Gates, an exec who certainly doesnt need the money but is still unable to contain his enthusiasm for new software. But when the software and exec came together following a choir singing "America the Beautiful" and an onstage thanks from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, even a crowd that has probably seen more product introductions than sunrises was moved. Maybe it was simply a confluence of events that made it an opportune time for the launch of an operating system to become more of a symbol that the high-tech industry is fundamental to the well-being of the United States. Maybe it was simply a lot of people looking for some good news in a dour time. Whatever it was, this time, the grand statements about using technology to restart an economy seemed less forced. The jokes seemed funny, rather than stilted and staged. And having a product launch with a choir singing a heartfelt anthem seemed appropriate.
The tragic events are too well known. New York and the nation still reel from the Sept. 11 attacks and the continued biological attacks. While it would have been understandable for Microsoft to move the launch location or hold an introduction via the Internet, the decision to go ahead with a launch in the city most devastated by the attacks may go down as the best decision the Microsoft executive team has made. As Giuliani told Gates, the product introduction "couldnt have come at a better time."