It was a product launch like no other: Microsoft's launch of Windows XP was held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, New York City. The company held special events, parties, and meetings before and after the launch keynote, with key company executives making themselves available to the press. Here are some of the sites we saw this week in New York City.

Windows XP Madness
October 24, 9:30 p.m., Gateway Country and CompUSA stores on Columbus Circle, Manhattan
The events were held in two stores on Columbus Circle, the Gateway Country and CompUSA stores. The Gateway event included CEO Mitch Waite and a live cow, so there you go. At CompUSA, across the street, eager XP users waited in line for the store to reopen at midnight.

Windows XP Experience Pavilion
October 24, 1:00 pm - 4 :00 pm, Marriott Marquis, New York City
October 25, 8:00 am - 1:00 pm, Marriott Marquis, New York City
A nice overview of some of the coolest Windows XP technologies and applications from more than 50 Microsoft hardware and software partners. I'll have much more on this in the coming days.



CEO Panel
October 25, 9 a.m., Marriott Marquis, New York City
Microsoft and key technology industry leaders held an exclusive press event before the worldwide Microsoft Windows XP launch. Executives such as Michael Dell, Ted Waite, and Craig Barrett and New York governor George Pataki provided a Q & A discussion about the industry opportunity created by Windows XP.



Bill Gates Windows XP Keynote
October 25, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., Marriott Marquis, New York City
Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates provided the Windows XP keynote address.


Attendees stood and heard a rendition of America the Beautiful before
the keynote began.


"New York City is the perfect place to announce the worldwide
availability of Windows XP," New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said. "I want
to thank all the people of New York City for welcoming us here, to
congratulate them for their unbroken spirit, courage and determination,
and to urge all Americans to join us in recognizing that New York is
absolutely open for business."


"Today is a great day for users and for the PC industry," Gates said in
his keynote address. "With the launch of Windows XP, we are entering
an exciting new era of personal computing."


Gates described XP as the end of an era: The DOS/Windows 9x era. XP
is built on the solid underpinnings of Windows NT/2000.


"Sorry DOS," Gates joked. "That movie wasn?t called 2001 for nothing!"


"It's the end of too many crashes," Gates said, "the end of the static
Web." Gates noted that XP was a great upgrade for the 400 million
people that use Windows 9x and the 70 million people using NT/2000.


Gates congratulated Microsoft Group Vice President Jim Allchin for his
11 years at the company, culminating in the release of XP. "It's been
an exciting journey for me and the Windows team," Allchin said.


Gates and Intel CEO Craig Barrett discussed how the combination of
Intel's Pentium 4 and Windows XP made for exciting new experiences.


Setting the stage for the rest of the show, Gates highlighted the
advances in XP.


Gates and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" host Regis Philbin play a
special XP-oriented version of the hit TV show.


While Gates wandered out into Times Square for a few staged video
opportunities, Joe Belfiore took Philbin through the digital media
advances in Windows XP.


After returning, Gates explained that Microsoft expects Windows XP
to reach twice as many people as Windows 95 did in the same
time period.


Gates wraps up the launch event.


Paul runs into Joe B. The last time we met, in June, we brought Joe to
a cool Italian restaurant... named Luna, of course.


Sting Concert
October 25, 1-2pm, Bryant Park, New York City
Microsoft hosted a free concert featuring Sting at Bryant Park, three blocks from the Marriott Marquis Theater. We missed most of it because of meetings, unfortunately.


Everywhere you turn in New York, you see XP.


MTV studios done up for the launch.


Sting's free XP concert was already well underway, but many people
were still trying to get in.