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August 13th, 2015

How Microsoft’s ‘Mad Men’ Are Working Overtime

Mad MenI haven’t seen this much hype since…well, since the last time Redmond came out with a new version of Windows.

Anyone who’s a member of the rapidly decreasing demographic that watches commercial television has by now seen Redmond’s prime time ads pushing Windows 10. If not, don’t bother to Google for the YouTubes. The campaign is kind of a bore with ads that aren’t quite as bad as what we saw with Vista (remember, “Wow!”?). The ads are of the feelgood genre, and they attempt to get viewers to suspend belief enough to believe that every facet of life will be instantly transformed into something magically perfect with Windows 10.

Watching the ads I find myself wondering why we don’t just airdrop a few million laptops loaded with Windows OS X on places like Sudan. If we do, suddenly colleges and universities will spring up, crops will grow abundantly — even in the desert and without irrigation — and the bad guys will throw away their rocket launchers to pursue productive careers as accountants and such. Here at home, I suspect we’ll see a painless end to global warming as adoption grows.

I can’t wait to see how Microsoft’s ad agency is going to handle product placement for Windows 10, which has got to be next up on the to-do list.

Ever since Ballmer unleashed Surface, the soft-top convertible tablet, we’ve been inundated with shots on TV shows, especially on CBS for some reason, of Surface machines saving the day — complete with lingering shots of the machines booting into the highly recognizable if not much loved interface formally known as Metro. It seems that every major crime fighting group on the planet, from the CSI folks to the Criminal Minds team to the yuppies at Five O, depends dearly on Surface to get ‘er done.

There’s no doubt that the TV cops will soon be trading in their Surfaces for something that’ll let us know that it’s now Windows 10 that’s keeping us safe from terrorists, common crooks and multiple murderers. First, though, they’ll have to figure out a way for the viewer to easily distinguish the new old Windows interface of Windows 10 from the old old interface of 7 and XP, or even from some obscure Linux desktop Ubutnu’s working on. I have confidence the Madison Avenue types will figure it out, however.

Another thing the Mad guys and dolls have been working on is getting tons of free publicity through news articles placed on content hungry news sites. Well, actually, this publicity isn’t exactly free, since Redmond spends big bucks advertising on most of these sites, which is something that must cross editors’ minds when deciding to go ahead and make important news out of what should be merely a product release.

Plus, a story that simply states that “Windows 10 is great!” might not make the cut as a news story, even with the always lowering standards on what passes as news sites these days. The job for the Mad ad men, then, is to create stories that find the positive within the negative — which they’re doing with great abundance, mainly because Windows never fails to offer a surfeit of negative.

Just yesterday morning, I took a quick gander at some sites and found these highly newsworthy stories about Windows 10:

  • Microsoft just fixed Windows 10’s first problems on Fortune. This article details a whole slew of fixes that Microsoft pushed, mainly to address (what else, this is Microsoft) security issues with Windows 10, .NET and the new Edge browser. Although some of the issues seem to be pretty serious (a .NET flaw that could give cracker-hackers elevated privileges) this is still positive PR for Redmond as it lets the public know they’re on top of it. They’re paying attention. No need to worry about security holes with a shiny new Windows 10 system; Redmond will fix holes before they can be discovered by the outside world.

    And now, about that bridge I have for sale…

  • People can’t dump Windows 8 fast enough as Windows 10 adoption surges on BGR. This article opens with the line: “So it looks like the Windows 10 launch was a big success if early adoption numbers are to be believed.” Yessiree Bob. Ya can’t buy publicity like that.

    Can you believe it, just two weeks after release and Redmond’s latest and greatest “already accounts for over 3.5 percent of desktop operating systems”? Never mind that it’s being offered for free to desktop and laptop users who despise Windows 8X and have been looking for any reason to jump ship. If that many people want it, it must be the next great thing. You need to get this on your computer before the Joneses do.

    Thanks, BGR, for supplying us with this most important news story.

  • The Worst Bugs in Windows 10 and How to Fix Them on Gizmodo. Here we truly get to see the spin masters at work pulling a positive out of a negative. I can see Don Draper pitching Redmond now: “Of course there’s some bugs in the new Windows; it just came out and operating systems are complicated — people understand that. But for most of the bugs there are already work arounds, and for the others, you’ll be letting people know they’re no big deal and will be fixed before you can say ‘blue screen of death.'”

    Actually, I doubt that Draper would use the BSOD part, but you get the point.

  • How to Install Windows 10 on Your MacBook on the Wall Street Journal. A reader writes: Wowie-zowie, FOSS Force! I just spent a gazillion dollars on a new Mac laptop, only to realize that it doesn’t come with Windows but with some crappy off-brand system called OS X. What the hell am I going to do?

    Answer: Thankfully, the folks at the Journal are offering step-by-step instructions so you can improve your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro Retina by installing Windows 10.

    There’s sure to be a big rush for this. Apple isn’t going to know what hit them.

So let’s raise a glass of fine Washington State wine and toast the hard working men and women who are putting great effort into ensuring that Windows 10 is a big success. Then let’s get some work done on our Linux machines.

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Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

12 comments to How Microsoft’s ‘Mad Men’ Are Working Overtime

  • Mike

    The Gizmodo article is a sad joke. First, the real problems with privacy, spying, and control are not even mentioned.

    Of the “solutions” several of them basically amount to “wait for MS to release a patch”, while one of them is how to disable the hated forced updates that turn end users into alpha testers. So which is it? Get the updates or don’t?

    Upgrading to Windows 10 is like playing global thermonuclear war, the only winning move is not to play.

  • Eddie G.

    What’s really sad is the people who are walking around claiming that Windows 10 is truly being “innovative” with this thing called “Multiple Desktops” (which are known as “Workspaces” here in Linux Land!) Somehow MS has become the Donald Trump of operating systems! And although Windows 10 is trying, I don’t think its gonna be as viable in the future as it was i nthe past!!

  • Mac taylor

    What MS also isn’t telling you is that the first cumulative upgrade is bricking machines worldwide (putting computers through a reboot loop). Also to compensate for those low upgrade numbers they are snagging win7/8/8.1 users, who did not reserved win 10 upgrade, through the normal upgrade cycle.

  • Richard Thornton

    At one point you call Windows 10, OS X; that’s a bit catty. Also, it’s GNU/Linux, not simply Linux, unless you mean only the kernel.

  • Mike S.

    Respectfully, I think the tone of the article is too scathing to resonate with anyone that still has a neutral or positive view of Microsoft. I would bet everyone who already agrees with your perspective will love it, but you won’t win anyone else to our side.

  • Smiling babies. Open and close your main television advertising with smiling babies. After all, it’s their future that we’re building.

    Somehow, I am not reassured by that premise.

  • Richard Thornton

    Trust me – guys like Donald Trump are way more dangerous to our country than anyone at Microsoft or its power wielding grip over proprietary software.

  • AC

    I feel bad for those guys, because putting lipstick on Vista 10 is impossible.

  • archuser

    I tried windows 10 on a laptop but sadly lenovo does not support this new version of windows on that laptop model, i am from 3rd world country , internet is slow and windows 10 does all this automagically and my entire internet bandwidth is used to download updates , unnecessary softwares etc etc and i cannot do my work ,hence went back to windows 7 .

  • Nomen luni

    Who would pay Apple tax then go straight ahead and cripple the hardware with Win X?

  • Stephen Green

    Good grief girl, why I can still remember when I got my first degree. And the first computer I owned was an Apple. With big floppies and that funky mouse..
    In other words if you’ve worked long enough in this business
    you got to adapt or die. Choices..

  • Mac Taylor

    Appreciate the humor Christine. Keep’em coming