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If Windows 7 doesn't work, it's your fault

In the ad campaign accompanying the vast and subtle launch, Microsoft is crediting consumers as the brains behind Windows 7. So if it doesn't succeed, do you only have yourselves to blame?

When, like Microsoft, you've suffered more criticism for your operating system than Tom Cruise has for his height, you have to really think deeply when you launch something new.

You could go out and continue to tell people that you're very clever. But then they'd be a little more reluctant to believe you.

You could tout Windows 7 as the brainspawn of a whole new generation of terribly clever engineers. But then consumers might have a vision of an operating system created by pot-smoking, pot-bellied youths with the body odor of mousetrapped rats.

So you reach the conclusion that you've listened to both the great washed and unwashed out there and designed a new operating system completely according to their needs.

Then you draw on a little creative license and suggest that Windows 7 was actually not Microsoft's idea at all, but that of all the suffering, frustrated, maddened folks who screamed at Vista till their neighbors called 911, shortly followed by a call to their local Apple store.

This new ad undoubtedly embraces Microsoft's newly discovered zest for emotional values. It is charming, safe, warm--visual cocoa for a bleak economic winter.

It's just that I can't help thinking that if Windows 7 does go wrong--or at least if your own copy of seizes up like a nervous "America's Got Talent" contestant--then aren't you, one of the billions of brains behind this new system, just a little complicit in its failure?

They're really clever, those new marketing people at Microsoft.