MICROSOFT GEARS UP FOR NT, WINDOWS 95 B-DAY

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Microsoft Corp. is doing Windows all over again.

The software giant in September breaks a three-month, $4 million to $5 million ad campaign for Windows NT 4.0, a high-end operating system with the look of Windows 95 that's being unveiled this week.

FIRST FOR WIEDEN

The NT campaign will be the first major business-products effort from Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., which recently won the account formerly at Anderson & Lembke, San Francisco.

Microsoft today announces it has sold 40 million copies of Windows 95, which swept the industry one year ago with an unprecedented ad and promotional blitz.

To celebrate that success, Microsoft will spend another $4 million to $5 million in an anniversary campaign. That August effort will run in the business and computer press, said Rob Shoeben, the Microsoft group manager who oversees Windows advertising.

Microsoft global subsidiaries will pick up parts of the anniversary campaign, also from Wieden.

Around the same time, Microsoft will open an ambitious revamped Web site to promote the Windows product family.

For the computer professionals Microsoft needs to reach, Mr. Shoeben explained, "the Internet as a source of information has gone from irrelevant to right up there with word of mouth."

NT NOW A HOT PRODUCT

The Windows NT 4.0 effort follows the birthday bash. Although getting off to a slow start in 1993, NT has emerged as one of the industry's hot products.

The operating system is designed to network computers, taking on Novell's NetWare, and to run servers.

Though Windows 95 has taken over the home market, many corporate buyers have stayed on the sidelines deciding when and whether to shift from the old Windows 3.1 to Windows 95 or Windows NT.

The new NT has the look and feel of Windows 95 but with added features.

Microsoft early this year merged marketing staffs for the two products. So the goal of the fall ad campaign will be both to promote NT and explain how it fits alongside Windows 95.

"The launch of Windows NT is a giant milestone for us," said Jonathan Roberts, general manager of desktop marketing.

Microsoft will try to bring more consistency between its product advertising and branding campaigns starting with the new NT effort.

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