Apple 2.0

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Windows 7 launch parties: Microsoft's lamest idea yet

September 23, 2009: 6:19 AM ET
Photo: Microsoft

Photo: Microsoft

Somebody at Microsoft (MSFT) must have taken to heart the zinger in the first Laptop Hunter ad: the PC shopper's fear that she might not be "cool enough to be a Mac person."

How else to explain the deliberate, extravagant uncoolness of the Windows 7 Launch Party campaign?

These house parties, in case you haven't yet received your invitation, are intimate gatherings of 9 guests and a host to be held in thousands of homes in 12 countries around the world between Oct. 22 and Oct. 29 -- launch week for Microsoft's newest operating system.

Would-be hosts have been submitting their online registration forms for weeks, and on Monday finalists began receiving confirmation e-mails with requests for head-shot photos and other proofs of bona fides.

The whole thing has an unspontaneous, Tupperware party feel to it, from the pre-packaged themes (PhotoPalooza, Media Mania, Setting up with Ease, and Family Friendly Fun) to the Party Packs of Microsoft swag (Windows 7-theme playing cards, posters, puzzles, napkins, balloons, streamers and tote bags).

It may sound lame, but the idea has one thing going for it: No one would ever accuse Microsoft of stealing it from Apple (AAPL).

Below the fold: The Launch Party introductory video. For more "host help" videos, click here.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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