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A quick look back at the once lost video of the official (not a joke) Windows XP musical

Windows XP

In the past several months, we have taken a look back at the launches of earlier Windows operating systems by Microsoft and how they were marketed and promoted. For the launch of Windows 95, we wrote about how Microsoft helped to create a VHS tape to teach people about the OS in the form of a TV sitcom episode, with actors Jennifer Aniston and the late (RIP) Matthew Perry.

We also wrote about the promotions that were done worldwide for Windows 7 in 2009, which included a special Burger King Windows 7 hamburger, with seven patties, in Japan.

However, perhaps the strangest way Microsoft promoted the launch of a new Windows OS was done for Windows XP which was officially released on October 25, 2001. It was a promotion that was previously thought to be lost forever, but it has recently resurfaced on YouTube for the first time in a long, long time.

What are we talking about? It's the Windows XP musical. No this is not a joke; this 90-minute original musical was made to promote the OS in Israel and was performed to the public just once, on the launch date of Windows XP.

It's an example of what used to be called the "industrial musical", which were musicals commissioned by companies to promote their products. They had a long history that dated back to the 1950s, but they had mostly died out in the 1980s. Apparently, Microsoft didn't get the memo.

Indie game developer "DancingEngie" has offered some info on how this odd event came about on his X (formerly Twitter) account. This all came about because Microsoft's team in Israel helped to develop some of the components of Windows XP. According to "DancingEngie":

When Marketing VP Lior Tzoref (the male host) met producer Arik Schter, he says Schter really wanted to make the event into a musical. Tzoref shared his enthusiasm and gave him MS's blessing. Schter got to work. He struck a deal with the Cinerama - one of TLV's seminal cinemas and conference centers. He also brought in a team of about 30 dancers, including Doron Medeli (writer of Israel's Eurovision songs and prominent producer) to choreograph the whole thing.

The event was chronicled at the time by the Isreal-based news site Haaretz, The translated story stated:

A boy wearing a "Madonna" microphone replaces Scoop and doesn't waste a second: without warning he takes off his shirt and starts singing a rhythmic love song to the new operating system. About 25 dancers burst onto the stage, moving Britney Spears style and screaming at the top of their lungs: "Windows XP! It's full of surprises! Windows XP! Makes dreams come true! Windows XP! Every question has a thousand solutions!", and so on

The site concluded the article by saying the Microsoft XP musical was "the embarrassing high-tech event of the year, or of the millennium". It's not hard to see why. The songs are very embarrassing. They included one that was supposed to be coming from an email with a large attachment and needed a compression program to send it, and then the musical's chorus sung that was no longer needed with Windows XP's built in email compression feature.

Needless to say, Microsoft tried to distance itself quickly from this musical. It removed its own edited footage from the musical on its own mini-site, according to "DancingEngie". Someone managed to get the songs from that musical uploaded on YouTube a while ago but the actual video footage was thought to be lost forever.

Then, "DancingEngie" posted word a few days ago that someone had indeed quietly posted the entire video of the Windows XP musical a few years ago. When that was discovered, whoever was in charge of that channel quickly made it private. Thankfully, another YouTube channel, UsesTheName, managed to get the footage before it went private and posted it for all the world to check out. "DancingEngie" reports that this channel is trying to release a version with subtitles so we can all appreciate the "great" lyrics to the event.

In the meantime, you can "enjoy" the songs, the dancing, and the entire weird event itself online. This attempt at a different kind of Windows XP launch event should never have made it out of the planning stages, but we can now look back on this musical with some camp amusement.

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