At the New York launch of Windows 7 on Thursday, the stage is lit up with colorful screens. The new Microsoft operating system's top saleswoman, Vice President Tami Reller, says Windows 7 had 8 million beta testers.
Ballmer introduces to the stage Brad Brooks, Windows' vice president of marketing. He demonstrates Media Center on an HP TouchSmart all-in-one PC. A deal with CBS, publisher of CNET News, means that all of its TV shows will be available over the Internet in Media Center. He also shows off a new touch-capable Kindle application from Amazon.com due to be available in beta-test form next month.
Brooks then demonstrates how a Windows 7 feature called HomeGroup, designed to simplify home networking, can be set up in real time. The downside is that the feature requires all connected machines to run Windows 7.
Brooks then uses Windows Live to play a recorded episode of the "Family Guy" from his home machine in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft recently announced a partnership with News Corp.'s Fox that will see Microsoft sponsoring a TV show that will merge a pitch for Windows 7 with the comedic stylings of "Family Guy" voices Seth MacFarlane and Alex Borstein. The show, "Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show," is scheduled to air Sunday, November 8, at 8:30 p.m. (ET and PT), sans commercials.
The last feature Brooks demonstrates, called Play To, lets users control media from a Windows 7 PC, playing on other devices, such as a sound system, digital photo frame, or TV. He uses a single Dell laptop to stream media to seven different screens. Yes, the term "man cave" is used.
Ballmer, back on stage, notes that 300 million PCs are predicted to be sold this year, with an "unsurpassed" range and diversity of software. "Ninety-five out of 100 times, when people choose a device, they are choosing a Windows PC," he says.
Windows General Manager Mike Angiulo takes the stage to show off some of the new PCs debuting with Windows 7, including an Acer AspireRevo, designed to boot up in 15 seconds. 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.