Live blog: Windows 7 debuts in New York

Live coverage of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's introduction of Windows 7 in the Big Apple.

As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer prepares to launch Windows 7 in New York on Thursday, the stage is lit up with screens and changing colors. Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft is rolling out Windows 7 around the globe Thursday, and we're bringing you live updates from New York, as CEO Steve Ballmer introduces Microsoft's newest operating system at a special event.

The product is now on sale online and at stores worldwide. Microsoft itself has started sales of Windows 7 and has expanded its online store to sell PCs from Sony, Lenovo, Dell, Acer, and Hewlett-Packard.

The one place where you won't find Windows 7 on store shelves is India because of a customs dispute there, though it is shipping on new PCs.

"It will be available in retail shortly," a Microsoft representative said on Thursday.

The following is a play-by-play of the launch event, which has concluded. You can check out all of CNET's Windows 7 coverage here.

10:30 a.m. EDT: Folks have been allowed into the Skylight Studios, where the launch is taking place. We're not in the keynote room, but they are serving mimosas. There's lots of modern art in the walls and artsy people running around in blue shirts. Each shirt has a single-word reference to Windows 7 features, such as "Snap" and "Peek."

10:35 a.m. EDT: They've let folks inside the keynote room, which looks like the inside of a comedy club with table seating in front and standing room in the rear. On stage are lots of flat-panel displays on the screen.

10:48 a.m. EDT: The two largest screens are now playing commercials with Kylie and other kids talking about Windows and Windows Live features.

10:50 a.m. EDT: It's not exactly Windows 7 news, but Microsoft is expanding testing for the online Office Web Apps--the browser-based versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

11 a.m. EDT: Event is kicking off. In the house, CEO Steve Ballmer and Kylie, the oh-so-cute kid from the Windows commercials. Speaking first, Microsoft Windows Vice President Tami Reller.

Windows' top saleswoman, Tami Reller, introduces the new operating system. Sarah Tew/CNET

Windows 7 had 8 million beta testers, Reller noted.

11:02 a.m. EDT: For those who have an XP Netbook and have been wondering how to update it to Windows 7, CNET has an exclusive on Microsoft's plan .

11:05 a.m. EDT: Kylie speaking with really important announcement--she's now 5 and a half.

She's also there to do the intro of the main speaker.

"I'm a PC, and here's Steve Ballmer," Kylie said.

Ballmer is discussing his meeting with Kylie. "You were late," she interrupted. But Ballmer has a present: a small pink PC.

CEO Steve Ballmer greets Kylie, the young star of a Windows 7 ad campaign. Sarah Tew/CNET

Now he's into his sales pitch.

"I'm Steve Ballmer, and I'm a Windows 7 PC, effective immediately," Ballmer said.

11:08 a.m. EDT: Ballmer said the secret sauce for Windows 7 was the testers, partners, and feedback.

One of the things the development team did was put up a "wishing wall" bulletin board, which collected various customer feedback from the technical to the emotional to the visual on how Windows could improve.

On to its features, Ballmer notes that Windows 7 works the way you want, simplifies everyday tasks. and makes new things possible, such as multitouch.

Ballmer notes that there isn't one killer feature, but rather things that appeal to different people.

"A road warrior like me--I like the new wireless features," Ballmer said. "Everybody finds the things that delight them."

Steve Ballmer is "fired up." Sarah Tew/CNET

11:14 a.m. EDT: Ballmer brings on Brad Brooks, Windows' vice president of marketing. "Who wants to see a little bit of Windows 7?" Brooks asked.

He's showing how it's easier to import photos using Device Stage, a feature that hardware makers can use to put up custom options whenever their product is plugged into a Windows 7 PC. He takes the photos off the camera and makes a movie with Windows Live Movie Maker.

Brad Brooks, vice president of Microsoft marketing, takes over for Ballmer to provide a Windows 7 walk-through. Sarah Tew/CNET

Now he's showing Media Center on an HP TouchSmart all-in-one PC. A deal with CBS means that all of its shows will be available over the Internet in Media Center. (Disclosure: CNET News is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.)

11:22 a.m. EDT: Brooks shows a new touch-capable Kindle application from Amazon.com. It will be available in beta test form next month, Brooks said.

11:25 a.m. EDT: Now he's on to HomeGroup, a feature that makes for simple home networking (the downside is that all the PCs have to be Windows 7 machines.)

Brooks demonstrates how HomeGroup can be set up in real time. Sarah Tew/CNET

Brooks uses Windows Live to play a recorded episode of the "Family Guy" from his home machine in Redmond, Wash.

Brooks uses Windows Live to play a recorded episode of the "Family Guy" from his home machine in Redmond, Wash. The Fox show's creators have partnered with Microsoft to sell the operating system. Sarah Tew/CNET

The last feature Brooks is showing is called Play To, which lets you control media from a Windows 7 PC and play it on other devices, such as a sound system, digital photo frame, or TV. He uses a single Dell laptop to stream media to about seven different screens.

The Play To feature wrangles various devices throughout the home, or "man cave." Sarah Tew/CNET

11:35 a.m. EDT: With that, Ballmer is back.

"I hope it's pretty clear why we love Windows 7," Ballmer said. He notes that 300 million PCs will be sold this year.

He said the range and diversity of software is "unsurpassed, and that's at the core of the success of the PC."

"There's simply more you can do with these systems," Ballmer said. "Ninety-five out of 100 times, when people choose a device, they are choosing a Windows PC."

11:37 a.m. EDT: When Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft, they talked about a computer on every desk and in every home, Ballmer said. Today, he said, there's a PC "for every room, for every scenario, and for every person in every facet of their lives."

Ballmer says the range and diversity of software is "unsurpassed, and that's at the core of the success of the PC." Sarah Tew/CNET

11:45 a.m. EDT: Now Windows General Manager Mike Angiulo is showing off some of the new PCs that are debuting with Windows 7, including an Acer desktop that can boot up in 15 seconds.

The Acer AspireRevo, shown off at the Windows 7 launch event, is now on sale in the United States. Sarah Tew/CNET

He also shows a Dell machine that charges and docks wirelessly, as well as several touch-screen laptops and, finally, Dell's 9.9-millimeter-thin Adamo laptop.

Mike Angiulo of Microsoft shows Ballmer some of the Windows 7 hardware on display. Sarah Tew/CNET

11:50 a.m. EDT: Ballmer wraps up. I'd like to thank CNET's Rich Brown, who helped make sure that Sarah Tew's photos got to you almost as quickly as she was taking them. Stay tuned for more coverage of the Windows 7 launch Thursday and, if you have questions, send them along.

 

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