Microsoft Goes Back To Basics For Windows 7 Launch

All indications are that the event, which will be hosted by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, will be a buttoned-down business affair with a "new efficiency" operating system theme.

Call it a sign of the economic times or simply part of a calculated plan to under-promise and over-deliver.

It's clear that Microsoft's first-ever layoffs this year and the beating that Windows 7's predecessor, Vista, took in the marketplace has taken some of the wind out of Microsoft's once-blustery Windows sail.

Ballmer, known for his boisterous rallying of the Microsoft troops, has repeatedly downplayed the impact of Windows 7.

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It's a far cry from Microsoft's in-your-face, rock 'n' roll marketing assault of Windows launches in years past.

The Windows 95 launch 14 years ago featured Jay Leno, costumed jugglers and jesters on a sports field at the Microsoft campus all set to the pounding pulse of the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up"-- a theme song for the operating system. At that time, Microsoft spent $200 million on an advertising blitz over roughly a year for the Windows 95 launch.

The Windows XP launch in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York in 2001 featured then-New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, New York Gov. George Pataki, the theme song "Yes You Can" and a free Sting concert in Bryant Park. Microsoft spent $200 million on advertising for XP in just the first four months.

The Vista launch in January 2007 featured a $500 million advertising blitz and an appearance by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on the The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.

There is no word yet on how much Microsoft will spend to rekindle that old Windows magic. But at least right now it seems Microsoft is going to let the product do its talking rather than use its pocket book.