domingo, 25 de outubro de 2009

A loucura do Windows 7 em Hong Kong

Latest Microsoft offering takes queuing tekkies to 'seven' heaven

Kobi Chan
South China Morning Post
October 25, 2009

Hong Kong's love of overnight queuing has reached new heights, with hundreds joining lines for an offering even after it had run out at 8pm on Friday.

Microsoft began selling its new Windows 7 computer operating system in the city yesterday, and offered the first 400 copies of its "Ultimate" version for HK$377 - a saving of HK$2,322 - in a first-come, first-served charity sale.

The offer opened at 7pm on Friday and the software giant took down the names, ID numbers and phone numbers of the first 400 people in line within an hour.

But they had to remain in the queue until the product went on sale at 11am yesterday. That led to more people joining the queue at the Times Square shopping mall in Causeway Bay. It eventually extended for 800 metres.

About 1,000 tech fans, mostly male, joined the queue for a 32-bit version of the software, featuring different packaging from the retail edition.

The first in line, Rayman Chan, 25, from Tuen Mun, also received a free copy autographed by Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer.

Chan said he had been queuing for 26 hours, since Friday morning.

"I am happy to be the first," he said. "The price is cheaper and I can buy one, get one free. The signature is also valuable. I will keep it."

Chan is a regular queuer, having lined up for limited-edition Olympic banknotes and computer products.

He said he had earned about HK$60,000 by reselling banknotes, but technology products were not so easy to part with because they were an obsession.

"I have queued for limited versions of computer products overnight at least 10 times," he said. "I just like them."

Many of those in the lineup said they were disappointed. Some complained that the sale had been poorly organised.

Second in line was photographer Sit Kam-man, who said he had not intended to queue overnight. "I've already got an allotment so I don't know why I still have to queue up," he said, calling the queuing rules unreasonable.

"I have to come back to the queue within 30 minutes," he said. "The arrangement is not good. There is no need to queue up. I won't do this next time. I could not sleep well last night and I am tired now."

Leung Mei-ling, 45, was 86th in line and said she was not satisfied with the arrangements.

"People are lining up just like at a refugee camp," she said. "I am so tired."

Joelle Woo Oi-chi, of Microsoft Hong Kong, admitted there was "room for improvement". "Queuing up overnight [prevented others getting ahead] in the queue," she said.

Microsoft launched Windows 7, designed as a replacement for the much-maligned Windows Vista system, in the US on Thursday.

Vista, launched three years ago, failed to win over new customers and caused many personal computer users to stick with the eight-year-old Windows XP.

Pirate copies of a pre-release trial version of the software were on sale yesterday in shops in Sham Shui Po for prices ranging from HK$80 to HK$150.

Shops in Shanghai's bustling Xinyang market have also been selling counterfeit copies of the new operating system.

Microsoft Hong Kong general manager Peter Yeung said: "The pirate problem is serious in the mainland. It affects our sales volume."

The HK$150,000 raised by yesterday's sale will be donated to the Hong Kong Sports Institute.

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