Live at the Windows Vista launch event

Alright, so we're reporting to you live from the big Windows Vista launch; you might not stand in the freezing cold for Vista, but we did for the big launch event here in NYC. It's bones-cold, but we're hoping they're gonna let us all in shortly to see Bill give another speech about the real awesome power of Windows, so stay tuned!

4:13PM EST - Defective by Design people are here protesting the DRM of it all, god love 'em! Ok, we're in!

4:25PM - On stage: three really lame drumming fools, probably rejects from Stomp. No Bill yet, obviously.

They say "The 'Wow' Starts Now", but as far as we can tell, they're half an hour behind schedule. Which is fine, since our fingers are still warming up. It's getting worse, one of the (white) drummer dudes is beat-boxing "Windows, uh uh Vista!" Cringeworthy.

4:42 - The show will begin in TEN minutes (i.e. at about 5PM EST.)

"Our program will begin shortly. Please move into the theater." We can see some indie rock in silhouette behind a screen. They're playing a weak pop punk "What a Wonderful World" but still not sure who they are.

4:54 - Bill gates is walking on stage. "Well, it all started 24 years ago in NYC, Microsoft committed to GUI. Machines could barely keep up, took us two more years to get it all together. That was our bet, that not only could we do fantastic things with Windows, but that it would be the platform for our partners. Two years later, we could say with Windows 95 that our vision had succeeded -- 32 bit computing drove GUI into mainstream.

4:56 - "Windows became majority of all software sold, with more manufacturers building more Windows machines... now 12 years later, it's a much different industry. There were a fifth as many PCs as there are today. digital lifestyle is taken seriously. We take all these things for granted now -- Everything's becoming digital. It's a platform for people to be creative, that is a central element that allows it all to thrive. Windows 95 key to its era, and Vista key to its era."

4:59 - "Homes are expecting to have integration, as things go digital, people have high expectations now. Windows has this exciting central position. It's been 12 years since we brought Windows and Office together..." Breakthroughs in Office and Windows. "What kinds of innovation? Features that make it all easier: search, office ribbon..." his list goes on.

5:00 - "Safer: a lot here... as the internet has become mainstream, we're making sure that info is protected. That software isn't working against you. Anti-phishing, anti-spyware, parental controls. Entertainment: some neat games, photo galleries, DVD Maker... Better connected: simpler to find WiFi resources, extensions for RSS, XML capability, lots of APIs there. Defintiely a platform for innovation. With Vista you can upgrade your machine."

5:04 - Mike Sievert is now on stage, and is showing off tagging in Photo Gallery. DVD burning built in. Sievert is showing off a quick DVD of photos and videos. Now showing off new Office 2007. Sievert is now looking at Games for Windows, playing Uno for Vista, showing off Live capabilities, pretty much what Gates showed off at his CES keynote.

5:12 - Still demoing... it took a few tries to get that Uno game going. Sievert talking about parental controls. He's setting time limits, blocking access at night, setting what kind of ESRB rated games he wants his son to be able to play. Activity reports: these will basically rat out your kids if they're looking at porn.

5:13 - Now on to Media Center, talking about how Media Center Extender is built into every Xbox 360. Playing a clip from The Office. Sounds like Apple and Microsoft finally have something in common! (Oh, the band that played was Angels and Airwaves.).

5:15 - Now Sievert is showing a photo slideshow on Media Center Extender. Talking about Windows Vista Ultimate Extra: Dreamscene (i.e. full motion video desktop, something else shown at CES). Sievert is off, they're playing a video for Vista. "Turn on the 'wow'".

5:17 - BALLMER! He looks pumped! You're always in for a borderline-insane treat when he gets on stage. "THE BIGGEST LAUNCH IN SOFTWARE HISTORY!"

"We're incredibly excited about the product, about what it means for the PC industry. We hit the ground running." Broadest release ever, 70 countries, 39,000 retail outlets, 1000s of OEMs. But how many developers, huh?

5:19 - "The biggest-impact release we've ever done. How many developers, IT people?" HA! Oh no he didn't... "Over a million in Europe, two million in US." Yes! He did!

"It's the best release we've ever made in support; 1.5 million devices that are supported, 31,000 drivers, 2,500 certified products... Vista will have broadest support for hardware of any OS, ever. If you think back to 1995, PC was solitary, the internet wasn't developed, not many people with cellphones or digital cameras, 12 years later, at the center, the product that brings it all together really is the PC running Windows -- particularly Windows Vista."

5:23 - "We have a lot of partners and 5 million beta testers; today we want to have you experience and hear from many of our partners about hardware innovations." Playing a video of a bunch of OEMs...

5:28 - Bill and Steve on stage together now. Welcoming Kevin Rollins from Dell on stage. Bill hands him an first edition of Vista. Next: Sean Maloney from Intel. He gets a first edition too. CEO of Toshiba gets his first edition as well. Hector Ruiz, Chairman and CEO of AMD gets his. Then Tom Bradley from HP. Steve: "I want to thank all of these partners." OEMs and Steve walk off.

5:29 - Bill now talking about Office 2007 and Vista: "We wanted to thank our employees for their hard work. I personally thank Jim Allchin for all his work and his commitment to Vista's quality. We've had 5 million people download betas of Vista and Office 2007; it's the best tested and highest quality release we've ever had. We were able to take observations, see what people were having trouble with, and use that to tune the interface."

"The amount of time has been phenomenal, thanks to everyone who participated in the beta testing. A really special part of the customer feedback was a new program about how these products work in the home. Let's see what families say about what they want. We went to 50 families in seven different countries, gave them a beta 1 product, and spent a lot of time with them, hearing their frustrations, what they liked to do. Features like DVD burning came directly out of this." Now showing a video about these families.

5:37 - Video just ended, Bill and Steve are on with "The Regan Family", a "Windows Vista Family". This is super awkward. They're giving another very first edition to them. They're "officially" launching Vista now, the kids are going to push the "Wow starts now" button. All hell breaks loose! Or at least super loud music and lots of footage of Times Square on the screens behind them.

Looks like they're bringing Angels and Airwaves back out to play some music, guess that's it for Bill and Steve?

5:41 - The Regan kids are off stage, but now they're on the video screen, talking about being on stage with Bill Gates and how they launched Vista and Office 2007. "Now, Angels and AIrwaves!" Alright, looks like that's it! We'll see everybody in 2013 for the launch of Windows Radical: Totally Extreme Edition.