An email from Microsoft senior vice president Bill Veghte to all Microsoft employees. I've highlighted a few bits I find important and/or interesting:

From: Bill Veghte
Sent: Thursday, September 04, 2008 5:37 PM
To: Microsoft - All Employees (QBDG)
Subject: Telling the story of Windows

Since it first launched nearly 25 years ago, Windows has been one of the most successful products in the history of the high tech industry. As we set our sights on the next 25 years, it is essential that we deliver incredible offerings on a great platform. We must also tell the story of how Windows enables a billion people around the globe to do more with their lives today. We must inspire consumers with the promise of what Windows uniquely makes possible across the PC, phone and web.

Telling our story means making significant investments to improve the way consumers experience Windows. To that end, we are focused on making improvements at practically every consumer touch point, from the moment they hear about the Windows brand in our advertising to how they learn more about Windows products online; from how they view Windows and try it at retail to how they use the entire range of Windows offerings – Windows Vista, Windows Mobile and Windows Live – across their whole life.

Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign. The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity. The first in this series of television ads airs initially in the U.S., and it aims to re-ignite consumer excitement about the broader value of Windows. The first television spot aired on NBC during the opening game of the NFL season and will be seen throughout the evening on various primetime programs. Worldwide, you can view this first TV spot at http://msw.

This first set of ads features Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. Think of these ads as an icebreaker to reintroduce Microsoft to viewers in a consumer context. Later this month, as the campaign moves into its next phase, we’ll go much deeper in telling the Windows story and celebrating what it can do for consumers at work, at play and on-the-go. At that time, I’ll be back to share more information about our plans to further strengthen the bond between consumers and Windows – one of the most amazing products, businesses and brands of all time, and, with the right tenacity, passion and agility from all of us, a story that has many great chapters to come.

Note the bit about "the first phase" of the campaign being about sparking a conversation and being an "icebreaker." This is just the start of something much bigger, and not a specific discussion about Windows Vista, to answer some bizarre questions I've seen about this ad. And the "humor and humanity" thing is something I've pressed Microsoft on again and again, so I'm heartened that they've picked up this motto. It's a big company and sometimes people forget that there are real humans in there that really do care about making Windows better. You don't hear about that very often, which is a problem. And let's face it, the only humor on the other side of this equation is smug and condescending. As Anthony Bourdain would say, which shampoo are you buying?

I'm glad Microsoft is finally telling its own story. The bad guys have owned this conversation for too long.