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Is Vista prettier in pink?

Microsoft has a just-for-Japan that bundles Vista and OneCare into a hot pink bundle. Plus, it's Japan Web site offers a cartoon XP vs. Vista prize fight you really have to check out.

A Windows prize fight, starring Ralph Macchio as Windows Vista.
Microsoft Japan

Sometimes, internationalizing Microsoft's products just means translating the same, boring packaging into another language.

Every now and then, though, one of Microsoft's subsidiaries goes out on a limb. Such is the case with a new bundle Microsoft has in Japan that combines Windows Vista Home Premium with Windows Live OneCare in one eye-popping hot pink box. (Kudos to Long Zheng for spotting this one.)

I'm not sure how much adding hot pink will add to the software's appeal (though it has made Hello Kitty's career), but it is interesting to see Microsoft thinking of new ways to sell its gear.

Sorry Hello Kitty fans, you have to be in Japan to get this version of Vista.

I did some more poking around on the Microsoft Japan Web site and found another marketing approach that might have more global appeal than pink packaging. On its site there, Microsoft has a cool Japanese cartoon prize fight between Windows XP and Windows Vista, really illustrating how the new OS is different than its predecessor in areas like desktop search, security, and performance.

Its U.S. marketing, by contrast, just didn't seem to do the trick when it comes to really making a compelling case for an upgrade.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has talked about the company's need to do better when it comes to Vista marketing, and I think the U.S. folks might want to take a page from their Japanese counterparts. In case there was ambiguity here, that page is the prizefight one. I'm not that into pink.

Maybe instead of Johnny Knoxville, what Microsoft really needs is a little more Ralph Macchio.