The power of Waggener-Edstrom, Microsoft's PR agency, never ceases to amaze me. Now it seems the PR folks have the entire Windows 9 press pack chasing its collective tail in pursuit of the Windows Technical Preview.
That Windows 9-chasing press pack has grown gargantuan. Every news outlet in every corner of the world is waiting breathlessly for the latest on everyone's favorite whipping boy, Windows. Good job, Wag-Ed.
Those with even the slightest interest in Windows 9 (or whatever it'll be called) now know that Microsoft has scheduled a press conference for Sept. 30, to "join us to hear about what's next for Windows and the enterprise." The conference will take place in San Francisco -- a decidedly Microsoft-sparse but press-dense location.
Of course everyone -- and I do mean everyone -- assumed Microsoft would use the highly publicized (and no doubt expensive) event to crow about the widely anticipated Windows Technical Preview.
Then late last week Microsoft officially announced there would be no live stream of the event. "Public materials will be available on Blogging Windows and Microsoft News Center following the event. However, there will be no live stream of the keynote."
Considering the problematic live stream of the Build 2014 keynotes (and no doubt in resonance with Apple's iPhone 6 live stream debacle), the lack of live streaming shouldn't surprise too many people -- although it does speak volumes about Microsoft's (and Apple's) technical capabilities.
Now we're hearing that the Windows Technical Preview bits won't ship on Sept. 30, but instead will be available in early October. Paul Thurrott dropped that bomb on his Windows Supersite late last week: "In less than two weeks, Microsoft will begin revealing information about the Windows Technical Preview, the first pre-release look at the next version of Windows. The actual Preview won't be out until October, I'm told."
Then Zac Bowden -- another Microsoft blogger with strong leaking street cred -- echoed Thurrott's statements on the WinBeta blog: "Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft will not be releasing a public Technical Preview at its September 30th event. According to my sources, Microsoft will allow the press first dibs on the new bits (or at least give them a very detailed look), and then release to the public a few days later for testing."
Keep in mind that many members of the press already have the Windows Technical Preview bits, or at least an early build.
Four points strike me:
First, if Microsoft (or Wag-Ed) wanted to ensure that the invited press critters actually show up in San Francisco on a cold Tuesday morning -- the first string, mind you, not the second bench -- that's a mighty good set of incentives.
Second, the chances of Microsoft spending a breathtaking amount of money on an SFO junket and not releasing the already-aging bits seems mighty tiny to me. What is Terry Myerson going to do, show videos, like he did at Build?
Third, if the bits are released at the presentation, even if only to the Microsoft-chosen A list, what are the chances at least one of the ISOs will make it out into the wild within seconds? Microsoft has certainly taken that possibility into account -- and may well be preparing to seed the deluge itself.
Fourth, a sure way to drive a press pack wild is to dangle prey just out of reach.
Mind games. Microsoft's good at them. Well done, Wag-Ed.