The local subsidiary of Microsoft prepared a special marketing and advertising campaign for founder Bill Gates' visit to Romania. On his way from the airport, near the headquarters of Microsoft Romania and near the hotel where he spent the night, the CEO of the software producer could admire the big, outdoor ads with the name and logo of the company and new operating system. Parts of the road were also decorated with the Vista sign.
Representatives of the local subsidiary see this as just a brand awareness campaign.
Dan Bulucea, marketing manager of Microsoft Romania, said this is the first such large-scale advertising campaign until now as the launched products are expected to have a huge impact on the market, and that the visit of the CEO was the central point of the campaign. He did not reveal the cost of the campaign but compared the launch of Vista to the importance of Windows 95.
The operating system was commercially launched last week but the price of the license was not given by the representatives of the company. Bulucea said that it was the same as the price of Windows XP for home and business versions of both systems. The differences between the prices on the US market and the ones on the European market might be generated by the alignment of the product to the European market, Bulucea added.
Although the launch of Vista has been awaited for a few years, and Bill Gates presented it as the most reliable product from the security point of view, the updates for the operating system appeared on the company website on the same day it was launched. Other major players from the industry, such as IBM, Nokia, Sun Microsystems, Adobe and Oracle, accused Microsoft of illegal practices in the European Union.
In 2004, the European Commission established that Microsoft had used its dominant position to eliminate several audio and video software producers from the market, making the Windows operating system incompatible with their formats.
Referring to the new Global Center of Technical Support, Gates said that he was impressed by the technical and linguistic qualities of the Romanian employees.
The support center in Bucharest is expected to employ up to 600 local specialists and will provide assistance to customers in Europe, particularly in France and Germany.
Bulucea said that if interest in the center increased, the activities of other support centers around the world could be integrated into the local one.
President Traian Basescu said that while the country had changed its laws in recent years to fight computer piracy, many Romanians were introduced to Microsoft and computers in the early 1990s by using pirated software as they had no access to the original software.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu said that the opening of the support center could bring back the Romanian IT specialists who had chosen to develop their careers abroad in multinational corporations for much higher wages.