Microsoft has begun its global launch of Windows 7 with the first sales in Australia and New Zealand.
Australian retailer Harvey Norman commenced sales of the OS at Midnight AEST. This was followed by an official Australian launch in Sydney this morning.
The OS also launched in New Zealand today, with All-Black Richie McCaw the first New Zealander to purchase a machine powered by the completed version of Windows 7.
In contrast to 2007's extravagant Vista launch, the Windows 7 events have been quiet affairs. Most of the launch events have been arranged by Microsoft enthusiasts, with around 60,000 worldwide planning house parties to tie in to the launch.
Microsoft has been eager not to repeat the mistakes of Vista, and pre-release reviews of the product indicate they may have succeeded. Reviews have highlighted the differences between Vista and Windows 7, such as improvements in speed, networking and compatibility.
In an attempt to steal some of Microsoft's thunder, two of the company's main rivals both announced competing products on the eve of the Windows 7 release.
Apple on Wednesday launched a new MacBook, updated versions of the iMac and the Mac Mini, and a redesigned mouse.
IBM teamed up with Canonical to launch a Linux-powered, cloud based desktop software in the US, which they are pitching to business as an alternative to Windows 7. The product is part of IBM's “Microsoft-free PC” project.