I'm trying to remember the last time a major product launch like Windows Vista and Office 2007 was met with such universal derision. I won't add to the chorus of yawns and "OSX did that first" comments. But I wonder, have we reached a tipping point where the cult of personality alone is not enough to sell boxes of Microsoft software?
Bill Gates took time out from his philanthropic duties to spruik the product around the world. And Steve Ballmer held court in New York City (see this Biz Week story). The media was always going to make a big deal about this -- no self-respecting IT journalist turns down an opportunity to interview or listen to either Gates or Ballmer. But outside that media bubble, you get the sense no amount of "wow factor" they generate can sway the average consumer to abandon logic and upgrade for the sake of it.
Consider the fact that thousands lined up at midnight to buy the Wii, PS3 and Xboxes around the world. Harvey Norman's midnight sales gig for Vista in Sydney apparently didn't get much more than 100 people. So the buzz differential between these different consumer tech launches is like night and day. People "needed" these cool consoles. They don't necessarily "need" Vista. And worst of all, where have all the Windows geeks gone? Amazing.
Update: I found a few! My colleague Joshua Gliddon pointed me to Jim Allchin's blog (who left Microsoft post Vista launch as promised).