New York - Launch events for today's release of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system are relatively subdued compared with the rollouts of Vista and XP.
Dealer launch promotions include an exclusive $1,200 Hewlett-Packard bundle by Best Buy that includes a desktop, monitor, laptop, netbook, wireless router, and setup and networking services by Geek Squad. The so-called "PC Home Makeover" is available today through mid-January.
Best Buy has also converted the majority of its PC assortment to Windows 7, and has reduced its regular $130 operating system install service charge to $40. (Customers who purchased PCs between June 26 and Oct. 21 can qualify for a free upgrade.) The retailer has also created dedicated Windows 7 pages on its Best Buy and Geek Squad sites, located at www.bestbuy.com/windows7upgrade and at www.geeksquad.com/win7.
Meanwhile, Systemax is heralding the new platform today with launch parties at its 10 CompUSA stores in Florida, Illinois, North Carolina and Texas that began at midnight. Early-bird shoppers received gift cards and a chance to win a free Windows 7 installation, and prices were reduced on select peripherals and accessories including LCD monitors, video cards, memory upgrades and hard drives.
The doorbuster events were broadcast live over the Web site ComputerTV, and Microsoft's U.S. Windows marketing manager Kunal Sikka is scheduled to conduct demos and field customer questions today at CompUSA's flagship Miami-Dadeland store.At Office Depot, customers can have Windows 7 installed on their PCs at no charge, regardless of where the new operating system was purchased, and will receive a coupon book with over $300 in savings if they buy the upgrade through the chain. Office Depot is also offering free online tutorials for the new system at www.officedepot.com/windows7.
Also promoting the platform was an uncharacteristically subdued Steve Balmer, who appeared this morning on NBC-TV's "The Today Show." The Microsoft CEO demonstrated the new system's touch-screen capabilities and cited its enhanced media center features, but acknowledged in response to a question by host Matt Lauer that smart handheld devices like Apple's iPhone, and IP-capable TVs, will assume a larger part of the PC's traditional role.