If the Windows 8 launch has been able to prove one thing, it's that Microsoft's fanbase isn't nearly as faithful as Apple's. When Apple releases a new product, it's become a given that people will be lined up outside of their local Apple Store for hours - or potentially days - prior to the release. It's become such a stature, in fact, that some people have made a bit of a business out of it - offering to stand in line for a nominal fee.
In an interesting twist to that last thought, with its Windows 8 launch Microsoft is being accused of staging huge lines at some stores, to give the appearance of huge demand. According to GeekWire, who had someone peruse the line at a store in Seattle, it was discovered that many in the line were either Microsoft employees or related to the company in some way. No hard information was given otherwise, though.
It likely goes without saying that a store with a huge line is going to result in greater hype than one with no line, and despite Microsoft offering some compelling products here, there just isn't the same sort of devotion to them as has become standard on the Apple side. Microsoft knows well that it'd be embarrassing to launch a major product and have empty lines, so it's done everything in its power to make sure appearances were as good as can be. Helping this, the company held giveaways at the biggest launch stores.
In New York, as the Wall Street Journal reports, the line outside of the Microsoft store leading up to the launch was pretty modest. Here, it didn't seem like anyone was paid by Microsoft to stand there, and while those waiting in an Apple line expect to get interviewed, it seems that those standing in this Microsoft line did not.
Whatever you take away from this, there's one thing Microsoft had at its Times Square launch that Apple never gets: Naked Cowboy. That has to count for something, right?