Microsoft Begins Windows 10 Marketing Blitz With '10 Reasons To Upgrade'

We're in the homestretch now, folks! In just nine days, Microsoft will launch Windows 10 and begin doling out free upgrades to registered Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users in waves. Make no mistake, this is a big launch for Microsoft, as it can ill afford to release another OS that lands to heavy criticism the way Windows 8 did. To help avoid that, Microsoft's message in a new ad campaign is that you should upgrade to Windows 10 because "it's familiar."

It's a simple message that provides the foundation for the 46-second clip titled "10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows 10: IT'S FAMILIAR," and it's one that should resonate well with Windows users who found the changes in Windows 8 to be too jarring. Namely, the overbearing focus on a touch friendly Metro UI and the disappearance of a Start menu on the desktop.

Windows 10 Laptop

This time around, Microsoft says it took the best parts of Windows 7 and Windows 8, and shaped them into Windows 10.

"You’ll notice a lot of familiarity in Windows 10. It’s the best combination of the Windows you already know, plus lots of great improvements you’ll love having," Microsoft stated in a related blog post. "The familiar Start menu is back in a more robust and expanded format that provides one-click access to the functions and files you use most. You can quickly reach your most frequently used apps, PC settings and there is plenty of space to add your favorite Live Tiles."

I've been critical of Microsoft's advertising efforts in the past. For example, when Apple ran its Mac versus PC campaign, the ads were misleading but they were also funny (and perhaps convincing to less savvy users). Microsoft's response was to have Jerry Seinfeld go shoe shopping and Bill Gates eat churros.

Then with the Surface launch, Microsoft failed to adequately convey to consumers exactly what it was and why they should buy it. Luckily for Microsoft, it seems to be learning from its earlier advertising missteps, which is shown both in the way it now markets its Surface tablets and with this latest ad for Windows 10.

Promoting "familiarity" is exactly the right call. Windows 8, while perhaps overly criticized, failed to win over consumers because it treated the desktop as a red-headed stepchild. There were too many changes, both in form and function, and consumers rejected it.

Based on what we've seen and experienced so far, Windows 10 is the OS that Windows 8 should have been. It's a solid release, and between giving it away for free for the first year to upgraders and intelligent advertising campaigns, this could be the mulligan that Microsoft needs.