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Microsoft to launch Vista with human billboard

Software giant plans to kick off its next version of Windows with a human billboard in downtown New York.

Microsoft will kick off its Windows Vista launch activities with a human billboard in downtown New York.

The Cirque du Soleil-style performance will take place at 9 a.m. Monday at the Terminal Building.

"It's a billboard. It's marketing, except that it's made by people," Mike Sievert, corporate VP for Windows told CNET late Wednesday.

Among those on hand for the marketing stunt will be around 80 families that extensively tested Vista.

The performance will kick off two days of activities in New York as the software maker touts its first consumer Windows release in five years as well as the launch of Office 2007.

Sievert said New York was chosen because it is a "very big, very important city" for Microsoft. The company plans to invite several hundred beta testers from the Greater New York area to a party in the Times Square area Monday evening.

Microsoft, along with several of its hardware partners are hosting a lunch Monday at the posh Cipriani restaurant.

New York was also the locale for the business launch of Vista and Office 2007 in November.