RealTime IT News

Hold a Launch Party, Earn Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 is the new Tupperware.

Microsoft is teaming up with party planning service Houseparty.com to recruit a thousand or more hosts to hold Windows 7 house parties around the time of the product's October 22 consumer launch.

The event is even going international to coincide with the commercial availability of Windows 7 in 13 other nations, although the nations hosting the Windows 7 house parties doesn't quite match up with the ones actually getting it on October 22.

Besides the U.S., UK, and Canada, Houseparty.com is seeking potential hosts in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, and Spain. The thing is, Australia won't be among the launch countries. Holland is, but no recruiting is being done there.

The idea is clearly to generate viral demand for Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) new Windows 7, by offering potential house party hosts an inducement -- a free "signature edition" of Windows 7 Ultimate. That's no little party favor. The full version of Windows 7 Ultimate lists for $319.99.

"These gatherings are a way for people who are excited about Windows 7 to bring together their friends, families and acquaintances to see and experience the product," Brandon LeBlanc, a Microsoft spokesperson said on the Windows Team blog Thursday afternoon.

"[The house parties] can happen anywhere -- at home, in a cafe, at schools, or at other community gathering spots and can be as flexible and creative as you and your circle of people," LeBlanc added.

He didn't mention whether those in "your circle of people" need to have a high level of geekiness in order to be interested in sitting around, participating in a sort of tech version of a Tupperware party -- without the onsite sales, of course.

The house parties are just the latest in Microsoft's marketing schemes to build consumer excitement in the run up to the retail launch of Windows 7.

Microsoft executives signed off on the final bits for Windows 7 on July 22, and since early August have been working to build market demand for the retail release. The company has offered heavily discounted pre-sales deals that let consumers place online orders for Windows 7, to be shipped when the system reaches retail.

On Tuesday, the company also announced a 90-day free trial period for enterprise customers who want to try out Windows 7 Enterprise edition, as well as up to 15 percent discounts for users who purchase Windows 7 Professional or Enterprise upgrades from volume resellers.

Microsoft has always held impressive launch galas for new Windows versions in the past, and this release is no exception. The company plans a party in New York on October 22.

The company also plans to deliver 22 other language versions for sale a week later on October 31. Not coincidentally, the house parties are set to run between October 22 and 29.