Microsoft's billion dollar advertising campaign for Windows 8 got under way over the weekend with a countdown to all the things you can do with the new OS, as the company prepares a new Xbox Music service. Does the ad appeal, did it strike a chord, more importantly did the non-tech members of your family seem interested?
Raising Interest or Rising Anger?
Over the weekend, the first advertisement for Windows 8 aired across stations in America. With pre-orders already being taken for new Windows 8 PCs, and a new all-in-one music service launching this week, expect Microsoft to be everywhere from now until everyone on the planet has a W8 device.
The advertisement shows the death of old notebooks and the rise of Ultrabooks, with media and creativity to the fore without a spreadsheet in sight (that will come with the adverts for next month's business launch of Office 2013). It also shows Microsoft trying to get ahead of the hype for iPad Mini launch.
Having a Space Shuttle launching in the clip seems rather nostalgic given the current news and its otherwise focus on the future. Perhaps it have shown PayPal founder Elon Musk's SpaceX Dragon launch, or a render of (Microsoft co-founder) Paul Allen's Stratolaunch to keep things in the tech family?
Spotify, Here Comes Microsoft
But before everyone gets giddy, or irate, over the new OS and hardware, Microsoft will first show off Xbox Music, a service that will play across all devices and not just the games console. Designed to compete with Spotify, it replaces the neat, but failed Zune service and brings 30 million tracks to users, stored in the cloud.
With Xbox Music, users can listen to individual songs or full albums for free (with ad-support) on their Windows 8 tablet and PC (with phone support coming soon, including iOS and Android, but not Windows 7 or WP7); create music mixes and playlists; create artist-based Internet radio stations; use Smart DJ to create playlists with unlimited skipping; and purchase the music they want to own. Subscribers can get it without adverts for US$ 9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.
Spotify and others may be popular but they are small change compared to Microsoft and if the service is provided on all these millions of new devices, plus the 70 million Xbox consoles, it could pose a serious challenge to them through weight alone. Then again, Microsoft's media offerings have rarely lived up to the promise, so we'll see on this one.