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Windows XP Road Show Opens In New York

Microsoft opens its main marketing event for the new operating system.
New York--Bill Gates gave Regis Philbin his final answer, and drank coffee with Ed Koch. Tech execs Craig Barrett, Michael Dell, and Carly Fiorina gathered on stage to talk up the PC market. And New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani praised the city's "spirit of defiance" as it carried on its business.

Microsoft's Windows XP road show rolled into New York Thursday, and Big Apple personalities were there to greet it. Following an early-morning roundtable discussion that included Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and the CEOs of Intel, Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq, Microsoft opened its main marketing event for the new operating system with a choral performance of "America the Beautiful." Then Gates strode onto a bare stage alone, joined within moments by Giuliani. The mayor praised Microsoft's decision to hold its event in New York, and Gates called Giuliani "an American hero."

The next two and a half hours in the Times Square hotel theater were devoted to Gates, Microsoft senior VP Jim Allchin, and local guests touting Windows XP. Television personality Regis Philbin acted as master of ceremonies, challenging Gates to a round of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" ("Are you sure this is worth your time?" Philbin asked Gates), and performing a series of technology demonstrations that aimed to prove even technophobes could use Windows XP.

Gates also ventured outside into Times Square, trailing his camera crew, to sip latte at Starbuck's with former New York Mayor Ed Koch, demonstrating XP's videoconferencing capabilities via a remote hookup to the theater.