|31 Dec 2008||#1|
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Who Leaked Windows 7?
"Who Leaked Windows 7?
News Commentary. BitTorrent brought the Christmas present Santa didn't: Leaked build of Windows 7, which official Beta 1 release is perhaps days away. Was this a craftily-timed Microsoft marketing leak?
I sure as hell think so. It's certainly what I would do if I worked at Microsoft on Windows evangelism. The timing is perfect, from a marketing perspective. The leaked build hit BitTorrent sometime on Saturday, right after Christmas when the Windows geeks had nothing better to do and bloggers and journalists had nothing better to write about. The leaked build is designated "7000," which strongly suggests that the code is the same as forthcoming Beta 1, or close to it.
The slowest news week of the year is going on right now. Everybody and anybody is writing year-end reviews and making stupid predictions about 2009. It's not because they care so much about the past or the future. They don't have much to write about now, because most tech companies are closed or running minimal staffs. Meanwhile, the big announcements are being saved for Macworld Expo (Jan. 5-9) and the Consumer Electronics Show (Jan. 8-11).
What perfect timing to create buzz for Seven? Windows beta leaks used to be fairly common, but Microsoft has clamped down on them under the tenure of Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group. This leak is surprising because of Steven's record managing Office development: Few leaks. Heck, were there any?
Something else: Microsoft doesn't seem all the rattled by the leak. That reaction, or lack of it, is inconsistent with Steven's past no-leak management style. I called Microsoft's PR agency for confirmation and got this statement in response: "It is part of our normal testing process for testers to receive regular builds; however, the Windows 7 public beta is still expected in early 2009."
That statement could be construed as meaning the leak came from outside Microsoft. It's unusual for a Microsoft statement to make such a veiled accusation. But it makes sense as deflection from the real source, meaning Microsoft.
I'm not being critical here, as some Microsoft Watch commenters will surely claim. It's rather smart marketing. Microsoft fills a big news void with something bloggers and journalists will write about. The suspense of stealth downloads from torrents and races to post the best screenshots first make the Windows 7 leak buzz all the more exciting. For other people, there is delight in seeing Microsoft squirm because Seven leaked early. Not that I see much squirming going on.
If Microsoft didn't leak the build, forshame! If this is a real leak, how undeserving is Microsoft of the timing. Because the marketing benefits are immeasurable, given how much buzz there is out there. Google news search shows a couple hundred stories related to Windows 7 Beta 1. If someone on Steven's team didn't leak this Seven build, they should have.
The leak lets Microsoft get in front of Apple. In a strange turnabout, Macworld comes before CES this year. Usually CES is earlier. Microsoft knows that Apple is prepping Snow Leopard—and quite possibly for early year release. The economy gives Apple good reason to formerly unveil Snow Leopard next week and set a release date by end of March. Software is a big-margin item in a slow-sales economy.
Scenario is set where next version of Mac OS X would grab big headlines and eclipse Windows 7, which I do expect Microsoft to present for public beta during CES. The leak puts Windows 7 news in front of and behind Snow Leopard. In military tactics, a flank maneuver gives an attacker superior position by surrounding an opponent on two or more sides. Marketers use flanking, too.
Looked at one way, Snow Leopard could steal all the buzz, because of timing and its presumed development status: Nearly done. By comparison, Windows 7 Build 7000 doesn't visually appear much different from the Pre-Beta software distributed during PDC. If the code is same as Beta 1, then the public testing software wouldn't be feature complete. So Microsoft conceptually would be stacking up its work-in-progress against Apple's masterpiece.
If Snow Leopard turns out to be a work incomplete, Apple is super hush-hush about software development. That's good for Microsoft, which could turn its work in progress into marketing gold. There's the leak for bloggers, journalists and enthusiasts writing on forums to chatter about now. Then comes the official public beta and the development process that follows. The leak is opportunity, whether by design or chance, for Microsoft to seize the marketing messaging and push it hard.
It has been a long time since Microsoft has had any positive buzz about a new Windows version. Seven made a solid debut at Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference in late October. But Apple and Microsoft are about to enter their fiercest mindshare competition since 2001, when Mac OS X 10.1 and Windows XP shipped in the same year. I expect Mac OS X 10.6 and Windows 7 to ship within a few months of another—at most.
The leaked build is for the "Ultimate" version, but 32-bit only; not 64-bit. For Windows Vista betas, Microsoft also distributed the Ultimate version. The 64-bit support will be one area where Apple and Microsoft will compete to create perceptions their OS is better.
The leak also helps Microsoft set expectations about Beta 1. People writing about the leaked build are reporting some user interface niceties, modest performance improvements, but no shocking changes from Windows Vista. That said, the leaked software does pack some of the visual eye candy demonstrated at PDC, including new Mac OS X-like taskbar; "Aero Peek" for looking under Windows; and new themes chooser.
With New Years coming, enthusiasts will have more time to uncover features, and the slow news cycle will give bloggers and journalists more reason to follow-up early perceptions with more information about the software.
For Microsoft, it's all free marketing. Enthusiasts are the best marketers, and they're certainly babbling about Seven."
Microsoft Watch - Windows 7 - Who Leaked Windows 7?
|My System Specs|
|31 Dec 2008||#3|
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Always bringing us the latest and the greatest, thanks Norm!
Great read. And I agree. It's a fantastic marketing tactic that may or may not have been put into motion by the giant themselves. It certainly was timed very well, heck I even jumped onto the Windows 7 bandwagon with this "leak". I am looking forward to what Microsoft will be doing in the near future. I like what I see so far, and foresee only better things on the horizon.
|My System Specs|
|31 Dec 2008||#5|
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I am very pleased with what I've seen so far.
|My System Specs|
|31 Dec 2008||#10|
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I seem to have come in on the end of something and it ain't Windows 7. You lot have been talking about me behind my back!
|My System Specs|
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