back to article Microsoft pulls Windows 7 balloons from Euro 'launch parties'

Microsoft's mischievous marketing mavens are at it again, this time Photoshopping some of the fun out of its upcoming Windows 7 faux launch parties. As we reported last Friday, Redmond is sponsoring global launch parties for its upcoming operating system, set for release in late October. To enhance the festivities, they'll …


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  1. Chris Haynes
    Paris Hilton

    Steve Ballmer's head

    Balloons look too much like Steve Ballmer's head. That's why they were 'shopped out.

    Paris, because she takes her balloons with her everywhere.

  2. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    Guess what we did to your laptop...

    I wouldn't be laughing like that unless I was installing Windows 7 on somebody else's computer.

  3. northern monkey
    Paris Hilton

    What flummoxes me is..

    ...what the hell are the finding so amusing about the Windows 7 installation process? Is it really just hitler with flashing eyes as observed/made up by xkcd ? Or have some scampish developers replaced some graphics so the inevitable 'Browse the web more securely than ever' actually shows firefox, and the 'Productivity' bit shows openoffice...

  4. Connor

    Odd, but demographically correct

    Perhaps it was just a simple case of red, blue and orange balloons not being very representative of Europe, or anywhere else outside of America? I'll be honest, the last me and my multicultural friends piled round for a party and crowded round a single laptop, we also drew the line at Red and Blue American style 'party' balloons, they are so passé.

    I should point out, savoury nibbles, beverages, lots of people with pointy fingers and laptops do not make good bed fellows.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    I formally withdraw my WIN 7 Party application

    Microsoft give me back the text I spent time writing

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ahh, diversity

    i finally cracked on that one after the 'diversity' training at work where the correct multichoice answer to one of the quiz questions at the end. Who would you employ?, was not the best person for the job, but rather the most diverse person!

  7. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Launch party

    Will these massive Launch "parties" be followed by massive Suicide "parties" once all of the attendees of the Launch parties realize they have no life whatsoever? I do hope MS planned for that...

  8. gollux
    Jobs Horns

    American Ballmer Balloons...

    contain a inhibition reduction gas that when released into the atmosphere, enables us to reach for our credit cards despite the fact we're on a tight budget. Added is some psychotropic dust to allow things to sparkle and buzz so that the bad memories of Windows Vista ("the view before you fall off the edge TM) can be suppressed allowing us to view Windows 7 with giddy joy!!

  9. Anonymous Coward

    It's obvious.

    Dumb people like balloons.

    In the rest of the world the adults throw their launch/dinner/wife-swapping/divorce parties without such frivolous embellishments.

  10. Steve Evans

    Well if all the paranoid hype is to be believed...

    ...surely for an accurate ethnic make-up every house in the UK should have some straggly bearded suicide bomber hiding in the corner?

  11. Bill Gould


    ...bundling the balloons with the party violates some EU Anti-trust argument dreamt up by a daft whoremonger deserving of a slow, painful death atop a pyre of exploding iPhones?

  12. CADmonkey

    Hosts file?

    I hear it sucks

  13. Anonymous Coward


    yeah right! keep on using word like "flummoxed" and i'll keep taking El Reg as the serious media outlet it deems itself.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Don't care.. long as there is no idiot with a pass around his neck whooping like a teenage girl on speed and clapping like a demented seal.

  15. Robert Pogson


    The region of the images involving the balloons contains a steganographic message for the Technological Evangelism department of M$ in each region. In the USA no evangelism was thought necessary. They are pretty thoroughly locked in. In Germany, the message was too large so they needed a larger region, hence the different image. Munich has finished buying M$'s licences/protection fees so the team was dealt a scathing reminder of the consequences of failure.

  16. garetht t


    hmm.. the pics are called people.jpg & people_noballoons.jpg. Both are available at each site - mebbe they just chose the wrong one on one page..?

    More humourously, this Microsoft party page is hosted on Red Hat & Apache (with indexing still on - inquiring minds should probably refrain from browsing through their client list, though you might notice the VAIO logo that was also shopped out of the final pic here: )

  17. Sentry23
    Paris Hilton


    It can't be a good sign when your promotion campaign consists of people pointing and laughing at your new OS.

  18. Richard Scratcher
    Jobs Halo

    You need balloons? There's an app for that!

  19. Stephen Stagg


    These marketing types are geniuses. They spend 5 minutes airbrushing out some balloons, and manage to generate endless discussions about the meaning on blogs etc..

  20. Swarthy

    Colo[u]r balancing

    Looking at the two images, I note that the second one has much more accurate colors; the first one having a green pall over everything. I am therefore assuming that the balloons were removed so that the color balancing would work better and not make everyone look like trolls.

    Here in the US we are all either colorblind, or we are trolls, not sure which.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Wow, what a party, eh?

    Yeah man, lets all gather around a tiny laptop screen.

    But what are they watching?

    I think, in the German party, they are watching hardcore porn. The Asian girl, in particular, looks rather excited, possibly pointing at a huge wang. The bloke in the check pink shirt looks a bit worried, possibly he's inadequate in the trouser snake department. The guy sitting down is rather smug, probably because it's not his computer and he's just planted the porn on his flatmates work rig for a laugh.

    It's possible the American version also features pornography on screen - certainly the black girl is even more amazed than our German based Asian bird. In this case, our computer operator, the large black guy, is also looking smug, possibly because he's a large black guy.

    Then again, it may just be my imagination. Perhaps they are all laughing and/or incredulous over the windows 7 user experience, or maybe they are watching a Disney movie?

    Whatever the reason for hi-jinks and photo changes, I reckon the balloons are in the American version as a reference point for "fun", just in case they don't get it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    It's because there's enough hot air in the room already

    I'm not being funny or insulting, but I really think the reason for removing the balloons is that the kinds of Americans who would take part in something so cringe worthy, are far dumber than their European counterparts. They might hold a party and drink some cheep beer, but putting up balloons and letting of party poppers like a 7 year old having his first organised birthday party is a step too far. Whereas it doesn't seem to be the case in America.

    But come on... a party to celebrate a new version of Windows? That's sad no matter where you're from.

    Perhaps this will spawn a flood of Facebook parody parties, with flashmobs turning up outside department stores to 'celebrate' the release of a new Miele washing machine, or a supermarket to 'celebrate' a new improved recipe Robinsons strawberry jam.

    I'd go, hell yeah! So would Paris, probably.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still no photoshoppers at MS then?

    Good lord, when ARE they going to employ someone who actually knows how to use image editing software at MS? Yet another atrociously bad effort.

  24. Gulfie

    Never mind the balloons...

    ... I vote we hold Microsoft exorcism parties.

    Game 1: Sit around and laugh as you watch the boot time for any version of windows, or the number of patches released since you last ran Windows Update five minutes ago, or the number of virus signatures uploaded since you ran your last AV update two minutes ago. Winner is the first to throw up or pass out from laughing too much.

    Game 2: Everybody get a helium balloon, find your least favourite Microsoft product, put a return address on it with an indelible marker (e.g. "Mr B.Gates, Microsoft, Redmond, USA, reward for safe return") and tie it to the balloon, then release all the balloons in one go. Repeat as necessary or until you've run out of MS discs. Winner is the first to have one of their balloons sucked into the engine of a passing aircraft.

    Game 3: Microsoft Top Trumps. If you have any CDs left, get out all the driver CDs you got with your mice, keyboards etc and play Top Trumps with them, using the driver version printed on the disc.

    Game 4: If you're still going by now, well done. You have no MS discs left and you're ready to Hackintosh your PC or install Linux...

  25. Pink Duck


    I particularly like how the UK version has been colourised more effectively and how the distasteful curtain pattern has been sorted out :)

  26. Anonymous Coward


    This is just like that time they changed the Hosts file and made it 7 bytes less efficient PER LINE. And I should know, I'm a Software ENGINEER. I make the tools you glorified monkeys use.


  27. Anonymous Coward


    So how come they can promote DELL laptop in these shots, but in the head-swap piccy they had to remove the Apple logo from the Macbook, which can easily run Windows, though lord alone knows why you bother! Then again, if you're going to get lots of young trendy metro-sexual types round you might install it for a laugh!

  28. LaeMi Qian
    Thumb Up

    @ Kevin McMurtrie

    Kevin McMurtrie:

    > I wouldn't be laughing like that unless I was installing Windows 7 on somebody else's computer.

    I can sense a captioning contest:

    I Suggest: "This will teach Richard Stallman to not password-protect his accounts!"*


    * Last I heard, RMS had ethical issues with password-protecting computers, though that was some years ago.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    European Version?

    Maybe the balloons represent Internet Explorer

  30. LaeMi Qian


    Non-commercial link:

    (very slightly NSFW stuff way way down the bottom of this page, but nothing that will show up while viewing the image I am talking about - unless you have a 400-inch vertical monitor perhaps)

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Good lord, when ARE they going to employ someone who actually knows how to use image editing software at MS? Yet another atrociously bad effort."

    They were required to use only MS software so the job was done using Windows Paint.

  32. mrweekender

    The bald black dude has just said...

    ..."Honestly just watch this mother fucking fat guy 'dancing' around the stage screaming about loving his company - IT'S BAT SHIT INSANE!"

  33. wsm


    I heard this all had something to do with the rights to 99 Luftballons.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Just need to ask

    Did they do the photoshopping on a Mac?

  35. Allan George Dyer

    @garetht t - mystery

    Yeah, they're running Apache/2.0.52 (Red Hat) now, but last year they were running Apache/2.2.3 (Fedora)

    (insert joke about how far IE is behind Apache here)

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not if you live in Ireland!

    Microsoft have confirmed no launch parties for of Europe yes...Irish no...explanation given...of course not!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    If i was being paid millions and had literally billions in stock options, I would dance around on stage too! On the basis I may look like a ****, but thats a rich **** and Sir to you, as everyone back at the office will still being grovelling lickspitlle running dogs!?

  38. Darren 4

    The Nanny State

    Obviously balloons are banned here in the nanny state unless a HSE can attend to assess the danger...

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind on seeing any of these photos

    is "The First Time I Saw Goatse"*

    *don't try this at work

  40. PerfectBlue

    Sensible move

    Speaking as somebody who used to do amateur studio photography I'm less surprised about the balloons being take out than I am about them being included in the first place.

    What kind of third rate set designer actually put those balloons? From an aesthetic perspective. The viewers attention is supposed ot be focused on the man in the foreground, but putting the balloons behind his head draws the reader's eye upwards and to the left. Which is not a good thing. You're supposed to focus on the family scene but instead you focus on the shiny spots on the balloons.

  41. Peter Kay


    Sadly, the T&Cs are locked down so tight on the party site that anything except the logos provided for that particular event aren't allowed. That stuffs several t shirts people might be wearing, too.

    Of course, an interesting point is whether 'contains any visible logos, drawings, cartoons, photographs, pictures, phrases or Trademarks (as defined in Section 3.2 below) or other third party materials other than any of the foregoing as featured on materials provided by the sponsor of any Party at which any photographs or video were taken;'

    includes plush toys. Cute penguins, daemons and puffer fish ahoy..

  42. Elmer Phud
    IT Angle

    Not so sure about W7 now

    If it takes half a dozen people, and by the looks on their faces, several attempts and a long night to install W7 I'm not sure it's worth the effort.

    It wouldn't surprise me if it does take a hell of a lot less time and effort but it's the men that have hogged the keyboard and the women have the 'I told you four hours ago, but you had to try and do it the clever way' look on thier faces.

    It's a look of relief on the men's faces and 'It's about fucking time, you twat' on the women's faces.

    At least in the Euro version they are allowed to drink.

  43. MarkOne

    I'm more concerned about..

    The pot on the table with everyone's car keys in.....

    Are Microsoft suggesting we hold Windows 7 swinger parties?

  44. phoenix


    Who cares I am still yet to be convinced of any OS that is in current use. Like all of them slap on some paint but they are still a dog underneath yeah that includes Crapple. I have tried using GNU/Linux as desktop and lost the plot, windows ( hmmmm......) and cheap OS huge hardware cost (OSX). Yes I use both CentOS and FreeBSD as servers (nice). I Just can't all wooshy over desktops.

  45. xsquared_uk
    Paris Hilton

    Try this

    Those pictures work much better if you imagine that the image on the screen is goatse.

  46. Rod MacLean

    Smells like hammers

    I know why they are all smiling.

    Microsoft have bloated Win7 out using the software made infmaous by Brass Eye.

    It increases your suggestibility and makes your keyboard smell like hammers.

    They're all smiling because Winblows is telling them to!

  47. Drem

    All Wrong

    Maybe it's the other way around, and the balloons were actually shopped into the picture...

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Not if you live in Ireland!

    It's part of the dispute over the ownership of the letters "IE".

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Beer is only for Germans, it seems.

    Deutchland, Deuchland Uber Alles in der beer! Where's my blue cup, Steve! Don't you want everyone to have something to ease the pain of install?

  50. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Beer is only for Germans, it seems.

    Germans do NOT drink beer out of blue paper cups.

    Drinking beer out of a paper cup is so uncultured I wouldn't even speculate about what kind of backward culture could stoop so low.....

  51. The First Dave


    You beat me to it - the highlights on the head of the man nearest the front don't match the highlights on the balloons, making me think that they were a later addition to the photo to make it seem more festive, rather than the other way around.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    I guess Canada should join the EU

    The Canadian version is also devoid of ballons:

    I suppose Canadian sensibilities are indeed more European than American after all...

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quite simply...

    the image looks better without the balloons, more balanced composition and no danger of them appearing to be rather odd headgear of the guy in the middle.

    This time MS found someone who is half-decent with Photoshop to do it.

  54. Will 3


    So I noticed you credited me in the article. Can I put this on my CV now as investigative journalism?? :D

  55. Mark Eccleston

    Addition vs. Deletion?

    How do we know that the balloons were not added to the US ad, rather than removed from the EU one?

  56. Will 3

    @ Addition Vs. Deletion?

    Because if you look closely you can see that the British version is rather crudely clone-stamped to form the wall and curtains.

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