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Windows 98 Launch Party

By Cliff Palmer, Jr.

On June 25, 1998, two and a half years of hard work culminated in the launch of Windows 98. And so, Microsoft launched what is sure to be its largest release of the year.

While there were a lucky few who were able to attend the main event in San Francisco, most of us were stuck either hearing about it, watching it on the web, or viewing it in one of the ninety-something locations across the world (and only a few got to do that).

Well, I wasn’t able to get to California, but I was able to see the event live at one of the movie theater locations where it was being broadcast. When I got there, I really didn’t know what to expect, I wasn’t even sure if I was even in the right place. For some reason, I expected there to be some huge banner across the front of the theater proclaiming the Windows 98 launch to be there, but there wasn’t.

As I made my way into the theater, I saw a few people with Windows 98 bags in their hands, along with some kind of Win98 t-shirt, and I knew I had come to the right place. I walked in to registration, and the MS employee (affiliate?) handed me my t-shirt and a couple of questionnaires for me to fill out.

The event provided a great opportunity to meet with the other professionals and experts on Win98, as well as mingle with some other fellow betatesters and chat about our experiences with Win98. After a little while, they let is into the theaters, and the live broadcast began. Brad Chase, the senior VP of Microsoft, introduced all of the basic features of Win98. I got the impression that he was a little nervous as we watched with some entertainment as he stumbled over every other word. But it all went well, including a successful attempt at the same demonstration that crashed on Bill Gates a couple of months ago.

After Brad got finished showing off Win98, Bill Gates himself gave his speech on what Win98 meant in comparison to Win95 and everything else in the industry, and how it was only the beginning of what MS has in store for the future.

Then suddenly, it was over. Bill said good bye, and left the stage, and the broadcast was over. It took most of us by surprise, especially given that it ended about a half-hour early. It was obvious that the audience wasn’t the only one who was surprised, as the MS presenters at the theaters stumbled to raise the lights and think of something to do. They finished off the night with a little Q & A with some MS software giveaways, mostly games but including a copy of MS Plus! 98.

I left the theater that night a little disappointed. I guess I had expected more excitement for the release of this new version of Windows, but I guess there was more hype then it really deserved. That still doesn’t mean that Win98 doesn’t deserve your attention <G>.

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