The official launch of Windows Vista in Australia was so orchestrated it would have been cheaper to have given every journalist a script and a copy of the demonstrations. This wasn’t a press conference. It was a party political broadcast according to the gospel of Microsoft.
Out was any form of Q & A. This was just in case anyone asked questions about irritating things like third part drivers or why was the OZ product $100 dearer than the US version. Instead we got orchestrated speech after speech. Even the two radio jocks who acted as master of ceremonies couldn’t help staring into their auto cue in case they missed a line.
The only genuine speech was that of current Microsoft MD Steve Vamos who simple said that he was glad to be at the gig as this was his last week at Microsoft Australia before he headed to a new job at Microsoft in the US.
But we did get a dodgy projector presentations which I was assured was nothing to do with drivers but a projector that only delivered half power to a screen. At first I thought it was Microsoft new Digital Right Management System kicking in.
The new DRM technology in Vista gives Microsoft the ability to lock you out of your computer it also reduces the quality of content that may be suspect.
Microsoft has defended its use of DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) consumer control, “saying it is only acting on the requests of content rights holders,”
However we did a few added bonuses in the form of long overdue downloadable movie and music content from Sanity Music and BigPond.
And for all those Microsoft partners who sell printers like Dell, HP etc Microsoft has introduced a service where you can do away with the printer instead one sends their images to Kodak over the Internet and then wait days for them to come back.
For all those Digital Camera fans Windows Client manager Jeff Putt lifted the curtain on another of Vista’s photo features. Named Group Photo, it allows users to combine elements of several photos into a single snap. It looks undeniably useful for those times when you’ve taken a few group photos but no one shot has everyone in their best form.
Group Photo works like a smart cut and paste which can take the best headshot from each individual snap and combine them into one perfect photo.
For those screaming out for Internet content Telstra’s BigPond Movies service is now interlaced into Vista’s Windows Media Centre, which is available in the Home Premium and Ultimate editions. Titles start at $1.95 with an eight day viewing period. We’re told that downloading a two hour movie will take an hour over BigPond Cable but could take as long as 8 hours over 1.5Mbps ADSL or 16 hours over 256Mbps ADSL.
Microsofts new Managing Director Tracy Fellows announced that from April, Sanity Music’s online Sanity Live! music service would be available through Windows Media Player 11 (both in Vista and XP) but no price was put on the service.
An offline version of the million-song catalogue containing album artwork, track listings, artists bios and other metadata – will be downloaded onto Windows Media Player 11, with updates adding titles added as they are available.
Users will be able to browse the catalogue and then purchase individual songs at $1.99 or sign up for a flat all-you-can-download monthly subscription which Sanity Music CEO Greg Milne says will cost about as much as “a couple of CDs”. Even if this means two $25 CDs then that’s a slug of $50 per month or $600 per year.
This marks the first time that such a service has been offered outside the United States, partners say.
When it’s deployed in April, the service will give consumers an alternative to the pay-per-song/pay-per-album model that is the more common platform for digital music distribution – one that is dominated by Apple’s iTunes Store.
Downloaded tracks will be compatible with any device carrying Microsoft’s ‘PlaysForSure’ branding, which excludes the iPod and Microsoft’s own Zune.
So that it folks. A new era, a new operating system and a $9 million dollar Marketing Campaign to follow to convince you to buy it.
The only problem is that the bulk of all Windows consumer operating systems are sold by OEM’s when they install them on a new system and the cost to them is around $150.00 all up. So really it is all hype and you had better believe it.