Microsoft Strikes New Tone for Windows 10 Release

Microsoft Strikes New Tone for Windows 10 Release

SEATTLE — Almost 20 years ago, Microsoft licensed the Rolling Stones song “Start Me Up” to add a dash of rock ‘n’ roll to the release of Windows 95, the product that catapulted the company to a high-water mark of influence in the tech industry.

Microsoft‘s tagline for Windows 10, a new version of the operating system that will be released later this month: “A more human way to do.”

That slogan will be part of an advertising campaign for Windows 10 that Microsoft will announce on Monday. The ads will start appearing online and on television July 20 in the United States and outside the country on July 29, which is when Windows 10 becomes available for downloading to the first wave of consumers.

It’s clear the introduction of Windows 10 is going to be more low key than that for Windows 95. The technology industry is a much bigger, more diverse business than it was 20 years ago and the PC is just one of many devices. The release of a new Windows operating system isn’t the kind of cultural event that piles of marketing dollars can will into existence anymore.

For Windows 95, Microsoft held a jamboree with huge circus tents on its campus in Redmond, Wash., hiring Jay Leno, then the “Tonight Show” host, to act as emcee.

“That was Windows coming of age,” said Yusuf Mehdi, a corporate vice president at Microsoft who worked on Windows marketing in the Windows 95 days.

“This is a different tone and time,” Mr. Mehdi said of the marketing for the Windows 10 launch, which he is overseeing. “We’re celebrating the fans.”

The company plans to have events at more than 100 Microsoft stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. It will hold events for Windows fans in more than a dozen cities around the world.

One thing that makes the Windows 10 release different is that, for the first time, the company is allowing its users to upgrade free to a new operating system. Microsoft doesn’t need to get consumers into stores to upgrade to Windows 10 like it did with Windows 95, since people will now download the software over the Internet.

Ultimately, the company hopes the new software spurs more people to buy new PCs equipped with Windows 10, which is one of the primary ways it will make money from the software. A new wave of PCs and other devices designed for Windows 10 isn’t likely to go on sale until the fall.
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