We are ramping to the launch of Windows Vista SP1 and most of the Microsoft watchers are speculating whether business, particularly enterprises, will move to Vista once this major patch is out. In thinking back to Windows 95, we had similar issues, but Windows 95 had some rather significant and unique benefits as well and the speculation on Windows 7 suddenly has a Windows 95 feel.
Windows 95: A Perfect Storm Product (Almost): The ramp to the Windows 95 launch was in many ways very much like the ramp to the iPhone. Folks were excited about the offering, news programs ate up every code change, and there wasn’t a month that went by in the release year where some major news service wasn’t covering the offering. There wasn’t a lot of other sustaining news, particularly in the technology market, and this was to be the big breakout product.
Application developers, seeing what appeared to be a massive wave, were all over themselves trying to build applications for the offering, and we had hardware vendors coming out of our ears who wanted to build specifically for Windows 95. This led to one of the most amazing launch events I’ve ever attended; the Microsoft campus was turned into a circus with the main tent showcasing the product in a presentation that concluded with the developers taking a bow.
The boxes containing the new product had white fluffy clouds on them and, coincidently Redmond, Washington had matching weather; the sky actually matched the art on the boxes. I mention this because it added significantly to the impression of the event.
There were tents all over campus with hardware and software being shown, all designed to revolutionize the PC. You couldn’t help but walk away seeing this as the future. I remember telling the Mac guys that they were so screwed because they had nothing that could match the impressions that were being created during that time. Had Microsoft continued to execute to that level, I believe Apple probably wouldn’t have made it until Steve Jobs’ return. But…
Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows Seven, Win7, Win95, Windows 95, Apple, Steve Jobs, Mac, Mac OS X, Bill Gates, Launch