Windows 95 launched 15 years ago today, Mary Jo Foley reminds us.
Today, after 15 years of additional technology evolution–and after memories of the event have been obliterated by semi-annual blockbuster launches of Apple products–it’s hard to believe that the Windows 95 launch was a big deal.
But it WAS.
In fact, it was a monstrous deal.
Windows 95 catapulted Microsoft into the mainstream consumer consciousness, in a way that no other Microsoft product ever had. It capped Microsoft’s utter demolition of Apple in the first round of the companies three-decade-long war (Apple’s shaping up to win the next round). It set up Microsoft for five years of awesome financial performance that nearly made the company the most valuable in the world.
It also featured a MASSIVE publicity campaign, headlined by the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up.”
And it featured a launch event that rocked the world.
The stage, the man. In those days, Bill Gates was arguably an even more awe-inspiring figure than Steve Jobs is today
The iconic START button… Brought to you by the richest and most powerful man in the world
It was a heck of an event (for those days). Featuring a (much-younger) Jay Leno…
(This video will give you the full experience)
Here, Bill introduces Brad Silverberg, the exec who headed the development team. Brad marvels at people buying Windows 95 at Egghead at midnight and almost has tears in his eyes
The launch included… a dedicated web site. Innovative!
And, wow, what an ad campaign. That “Start” meme was EVERYWHERE
And you have to admit… “Start Me Up” was a pretty great song to hitch the brand to. As good as anything Apple has used to date. Go ahead, just give it a play…
The pirated copies… (PIRATED COPIES! Of Windows 95!)
And remember the humongous LAUNCH LINES!!??
Okay, well, we remember lines. Or at least stories about lines.We also remember stories about how the product went on sale at midnight and the stores were jammed. (Or maybe that was Windows 98).
But, strangely, we can’t find any pictures of Windows 95 lines.
Which leads us to wonder…were there really any Windows 95 lines?
Or are lines just a recent Apple phenomenon?
The line above, of course, was not the line for Windows 95, but the line for the iPhone 3GS, in a normal town in Westchester.
So were there any Windows 95 lines? Please send us your pictures and we’ll add them. (And do send them. Because without pictures, our kids will never believe that the Windows 95 launch was a big deal at the time…)
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