Launch Events Around the World Herald the Arrival of Windows XP and the Best PC Experience Ever

Ted Waitt, (L) CEO of Gateway Computers and Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect of Microsoft present a Gateway laptop computer with Windows XP to the Waters family at the Gateway Country Store in New York. Click on the photo to download a high-resolution image. Photo by Jeff Christensen

NEW YORK, Oct. 25, 2001 — When more than a half million people show up for a party, it had better be entertaining. Today’s global launch of Windows XP marked a revolution in computing for PC users worldwide — and was indeed entertaining.

In the Netherlands, taxicabs painted in Windows XP sky-blue gave free rides to surprised passengers. In London, they used Windows XP technology to attempt a new world’s speed record for producing a music video. In Brazil, an open-air event covered three miles of highway. In Toronto, a 27,000 square-foot Windows XP banner hung at a golf course driving range adjacent to a highway. “Midnight Madness” events were held at retail stores around the world.

But that’s not all: In Detroit, Microsoft donated US$1 million for local youth and family services, while Microsoft offices in Colorado and Utah celebrated the advent of Windows XP by organizing support for their communities’ needy.

Windows XP, the new standard for personal computing, is already a hit with users, ranging from businesses of all sizes — over 1 million desktops are committed to deployment — to users in homes, where consumers can take advantage of the best PC experience ever.

“Windows XP is a worldwide phenomenon, a new standard for personal computing and a huge milestone for Microsoft, for the industry and for computer users everywhere,” says Jim Allchin, Microsoft group vice president of Windows. “So it’s appropriate for us to give everyone around the world a chance to participate in the festivities.”

Ringing in the Celebrations in New York City

Festivities began in New York City Wednesday morning with top executives from Adobe Systems, Corel, Fuji Photo Film, Symantec and WorldCom joining Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates as he rang the opening bell for trading on the NASDAQ Exchange. The celebration then moved to Times Square, where Windows XP showed its “face” everywhere — New York’s ubiquitous hot dog sellers sported Windows XP umbrellas and served up food with Windows XP napkins, street vendors sold watches with the Windows XP logo, and the world-famous NASDAQ and Panasonic jumbo electronic signs featured brightly-colored welcome messages for Windows XP.

Technology leaders got into the act too: Intel decorated Times Square with giant banners and entertained passersby with digital music from live DJs. Compaq Computer sent mobile video screens driving through Times Square and much of Manhattan. Hewlett Packard hosted an amateur photography exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, displaying photos taken with HP Digital cameras around New York. Dell Computer handed out T-shirts.

Those walking through the area could even spot acrobats, jugglers and fire-eaters entertaining in Times Square.

Meanwhile, inside Times Square’s Marriott Marquis Hotel, more than 50 companies came together Wednesday in an “Experience Partner Pavilion” to give attendees a hands-on experience with the thousands of new products that work with Windows XP. Gates was on hand at “Windows XP Madness” events at the Gateway Country Store and CompUSA retail store in New York’s Columbus Circle, along with fellow industry executives Ted Waitt of Gateway Computer and Craig Barrett of Intel. The three executives autographed copies of Windows XP computers and software packages for the first consumers to buy them.

At the main event at the Marquis Theatre, 1,500 people attended the official launch of Windows XP, featuring a keynote address by Gates and comments from New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and TV personality Regis Philbin. The festivities then moved three blocks to Bryant Park, where recording artist Sting served up a free, hour-long concert for 5,000, with thousands of the concert-goers receiving free Windows XP umbrellas.

Windows XP from Coast to Coast

To complement the excitement in New York, more than 500 retail stores from coast to coast will have in-store promotions and Windows XP demonstrations this weekend, and consumers can attend Windows XP events in cities around the country.

In the Netherlands, taxicabs painted in Windows XP sky-blue gave free rides to surprised passengers. Click on the photo to download a high resolution image

Robert McDowell, vice president of Microsoft Services, kicked off Seattle’s Windows XP celebration in the Washington State Convention Center, while senior vice president John Connors did the honors at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. In Cincinnati and Detroit, attendees received free “Microbucks,” redeemable for quality merchandise and the chance to win Compaq computers.

“Good works” was the theme for many of the national celebrations, with Microsoft donating $1 million dollars to “Think Detroit” to provide social services to the city’s young people and families. Microsoft also made donations to the Denver Rescue Mission in Colorado and to the Good Samaritan Program in Salt Lake City, Utah, as part of the Windows XP celebrations. Attendees — 3,000 in Denver and 1,800 in Salt Lake City — were encouraged to bring new or good-condition clothing and blankets for donation to help the needy this winter.

Windows XP Around the World

Windows XP is available today in 15 languages — including French, Korean and three versions of Chinese — and will soon be available in a total of 33 languages.

In addition to the taxicabs highlighted with the distinctive Windows XP logo and colors that offered free rides to pleasantly surprised passengers in the Netherlands, in Mexico, entire buses got the Windows XP paint treatment as well, and more than 12 million cans of Sprite soda sported Windows XP logos. In the United Kingdom, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer led Windows XP festivities at HMV, where Microsoft and the cutting-edge band Electric Soft Parade participated in an attempt to break a Guinness world record by producing and broadcasting the fastest-ever music video — using Windows XP Movie Maker.

Microsoft President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Belluzzo kicked off the launch in Brazil, while other events took place in Ireland (in the Lord Mayor’s mansion), Germany (as part of a street fair), and in Australia (where they welcomed designer Peter Morrisey and Top 10 chart holder Bardot).

The celebrations are not over yet, with numerous Windows XP events continuing in the U.S., and other celebrations still to come as the product becomes widely available in Japan, Slovenia and other countries around the world.

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