Microsoft finally finds a way to get the media hot and bothered

Taking a page out of Apple's storied playbook, a starchy brand tickles the media by wrapping itself in mystery.

Got Milk? Microsoft does for today's announcement. Milk Studios

Microsoft will have big Barnes & Noble news as part of its rumored tablet announcement later today. No, Microsoft will not have any Barnes & Noble news to offer when it holds its Los Angeles shindig.

By the way, it's 9:24 a.m. PT as I write these words and we still don't know where this announcement is going to happen -- other than that it's going to be in Los Angeles, somewhere. Last-minute haggling over rental arrangements? Doubtful.

Word has it that the deets will hit the wire around 10 a.m. though your guess is as good as any. As for the time of the event itself? That much they have said. It's at 3:30 p.m..

This just in at 10:15 a.m. PT: The mystery revealed: The festivities will take place at Milk Studios at 855 N. Cahuenga Blvd. in L.A. (see map below). Here's its Web site, which bills Milk Studios as being at the crossroads of the fashion, music, photography, and film worlds.

Live coverage: Get the Microsoft news from LA as it happens today via CNET's live blog, starting at 3:30 p.m. PT.

Kudos to the sotto voce leakers who have got us all chasing our tails.

This is Microsoft trying to be Apple -- though I doubt the marketing meisters in Cupertino would ever go in for this type of high-wire stunt. At this point in its corporate history, Microsoft has apparently concluded that assuming an air of purposeful ambiguity is just the ticket to help revive a starchy brand and endow it with Bogart-like cool.

Frankly, that's lame. But the stunt achieved the desired aim and we're all at the edge of our collective seats, waiting for the next tickle of titillation. It's also a new tack that we've not seen out of Microsoft, a company that's trying desperately not to be dismissed as a company that dares to be boring. The closest we've seen out of Microsoft was the Project Origami viral campaign it carried out early in 2006 that generated a similar media scrum.

So thanks for the faux drama, Microsoft. You've turned on the hype. Now, let's see if you can deliver the goods. Yup,  CNET will be there live . Wherever there is.


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