Microsoft plots Windows 10 blitz for July 29 launch

Microsoft's multimillion-dollar Windows 10 ad and marketing campaign will focus on an "upgrading the world" theme.

Mary Jo Foley
Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network.
Mary Jo Foley
3 min read

Microsoft is spending millions of dollars to market Windows 10. Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

When Microsoft starts rolling out Windows 10 operating system on July 29, it won't host a single, centralized launch or a webcast chock full of PowerPoint slides.

Instead, Microsoft plans to play up to "the newest generation of Windows fans" via a global advertising and online marketing campaign, company officials said Monday.

On July 29, Microsoft will host a number of fan celebrations primarily for its 5 million Windows Insiders in 13 cities: Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo, Sao Paolo, London, Berlin, Madrid, Singapore, Johannesburg, Nairobi, New Delhi, Dubai and New York City. At these events, there will be hands-on opportunities, demos, entertainments and "opportunities to meet the Windows team," the company said.

Microsoft also will kick off the launch of Windows 10 in more than 110 Microsoft stores in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico on July 29, with in-store events designed to help customers upgrade to Windows 10.

The company is also working on programs to help consumers upgrade. Retail partners working with Microsoft on these efforts include Best Buy, Dixons, Jarrir, Croma, Media Markt, Yodobashi, Incredible Connection, Elkjøp and Wal-Mart. Partners will help provide data migration services for moving files from old PCs to new PCs and offer stations where people can try out Windows 10.

"From the beginning, Windows 10 has been unique -- built with feedback from our fans, delivered as a service and offered as a free upgrade. Our approach to launch is also unique -- focused on a more aspirational goal, inspired by Windows 10," Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the Windows and Devices Group, said in a blog post outlining Microsoft's launch plans.

Microsoft will promote a new wave of TV and digital ads that will highlight Windows 10's features, including Windows Hello biometric security technology and the Microsoft Edge browser.

Microsoft will use its "Upgrade Your World" theme in its launch campaign. "Upgrade Your World" is Microsoft's year-long initiative to partner with 10 global and 100 local nonprofits. Microsoft is donating $10 million in cash to tparticipating partners, which include CARE, Code.org, Keep a Child Alive, The Global Poverty Project, The Malala Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Pencils of Promise, Save the Children and Special Olympics.

Tens of thousands of Microsoft employees will also be taking a day off to volunteer to "upgrade their community," starting on July 29, as part of the Windows 10 launch.

For those still wondering exactly when they'll be getting Windows 10 on their PCs and tablets via Microsoft's one-year upgrade for free promotion, the rollout will be a staggered one, as company officials have said. Windows Insiders will get the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) version of Windows 10 on July 29, via a regular Insider "flight." Other Windows 7 and 8.x users who have "reserved" their copies of Windows 10 will be getting the operating system delivered to them via Windows Update within the following few weeks.

Microsoft officials are treating Windows like a service these days. In the same way that users of Microsoft's other services seldom all get new versions of a service on the same day, Windows users who want to upgrade to Windows 10 won't all get the OS on July 29, either. Those with devices that are likely to have the fewest driver and application compatibility issues will likely get Windows 10 first, officials have said.

This story originally posted as "Microsoft plans a fan-focused Windows 10 launch kick-off" on ZDNet.