Neowin at Digital Life 2007: Microsoft's Booth

Microsoft took a three pronged approach to their booth this year. They decided to focus on Vista (again), Games for Windows, and Windows Mobile. Surprisingly, the Xbox 360 and Halo 3 were not highlighted in the least bit.

It actually surprised me to see Microsoft pushing Vista so hard, still. Compared to last year, before Vista was released, this year's Vista display was even larger and more in your face. There were more kiosks, sofas, and lots of Vista logos on anything that could bare one. We know about Vista, though, so let's move on.

Game for Windows received a lot of attention with two walls being used to show off various Games for Windows games such as Gears of War and Age of Empires 3. Having played GoW on the 360, I was very impressed with the butter smooth frame rates of the Windows version. I'm sure there was a very high end PC powering it, but it was beautiful to look at nonetheless. Age of Empires 3, though not a new release, also received a fair amount of attention for its eye catching graphics. Gears was the highlight, though, and for good reason.

Surprisingly, however, the smallest display actually seemed to be getting a large amount of the attention. On the very edge of their booth setup, Microsoft had two tables set up with various Windows Mobile 6 devices up and running. I got to see a Samsung Blackjack running WM6 reassuring me that they are at least close to releasing the darned thing, already. The devices that got the most attention, though, had to be the ones from HTC.

Both the HTC Touch and HTC Tytn II (/Kaiser/8925/Tilt) received a lot of attention from the crowd. The HTC Tytn II was the most impressive, though. The tilting screen was beautiful to look at and the keyboard was, as expected, roomy and responsive. The software felt snappy and was presented with just the right amount of eye candy. My only complaint with the Tytn II would be the touch screen. It seemed as though it wasn't as sensitive as it should have been, though being that hundreds of people had been pawing at it, it may simply have been a case of the display unit being slightly worn.

To be honest, overall, the Microsoft booth was unimpressive. That's why I combined it all into one story. There was nothing presented that deserved much attention. Let's face it, when Windows Mobile is the most intriguing display, something isn't going right. My friend, bigbluepride35, who attended the show as my camera guy even took notice and said he hopes Apple sets up a booth next year so Microsoft has to actually try a bit to impress visitors. Walking away from the booth, I got the impression that Microsoft still feels the need to try to convince people to get Vista and that, perhaps, they aren't too concerned with the Digital Life show. Two feelings I'm sure the boys over at Redmond didn't want people to walk away with. Where was Halo 3? Where was the Xbox 360?

View: HTC Tytn II [1] | HTC Tytn II [2]

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Halo 3 doesn't really need promoting anymore. It reached the main headlines, over here in the UK, on the BBC channel. It was featured in pretty much every newspaper that week somewhere, and just look -- almost every topic in this forum has either a signature, avatar, or personal comment in it related to Halo3.

I think the reason they're pushing Vista is because after spending so much money, and wasting so much time on it - the company needs sales, considering there is currently a large delay between the OS switchover.

That's just my opinion anyway.

The majority of world and I presume the US is still on XP,

You said like if the US were bigger than the world. Even for getting money, I believe nowadays it is China.

I don't see the big issue with Vista. It runs fine on my machines, I game and do some Autodesk Inventor stuff along with general computing.

Your right, there's nothing wrong with Vista itself. The problem, is that it's not much of an improvement over XP, yet still has the pricetag of a huge improvement. I don't want to start another Vista debate, though, so lets move on.

The operating system has just been on the market for 10 months now. Windows is one of the Company's flagship product that brings enormous revenue. The majority of world and I presume the US is still on XP, thats a ripe market for upgraders and opportunity make money, the best way to that is to promote the latest version of your product and entice XP users to upgrade.

Despite what many people will suggest, Microsoft will not simply let Vista fade. They've invested too much to simply start over, just like Sony has with the PS3. With this in mind, it makes sense that they continue to push and promote Vista. It's their future OS until Vienna is out, which could be further away than most would hope for. Would've been nice to have seen something about the new Zunes. It's October and we don't have anything more than some-what confirmed rumors. I want my flash based Zune darn it!

I know they have to continue pushing it, but it caught me off guard how they seemed to be pushing it harder this year when compared to last.

bangbang023 said,
I know they have to continue pushing it, but it caught me off guard how they seemed to be pushing it harder this year when compared to last.

A valid point. Perhaps they simply assumed what they were doing was enough.