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MS plasters Ballmer's signature on Windows 7 special edition

Includes balloons, but no jelly and ice cream

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Anyone brave enough to be throwing a Windows 7 house party is in for an extra special treat - Microsoft is dishing out a “Signature Edition” of the Ultimate version of its upcoming operating system to the hosts.

And, praise be, it’s also handing over balloons to party animals too.

The special flashy edition of the OS comes in a black box adorned with gold writing that includes an “autograph” from Big Steve. Of course, this doesn’t mean he’s personally signed every single copy that the company has provided to Windows 7 party hosts across the globe.

Instead the printed signature version is basically a limited edition version of the software.

Inside the box, Microsoft has included the aforementioned balloons, which the eagle-eyed among you will recall had been unceremoniously yanked from European Windows 7 parties.

Microsoft’s Windows core OS division boss M3 Sweatt blogged about the “Signature Edition” on Friday and provided a few pictures too.

"The goodies are actually very nice, especially the Windows 7 tote bags, perfect for the Cayman Islands for the beach! Also included were Windows 7 branded napkins, a puzzle pack; the pieces come together to form a wallpaper image from Windows 7,” he said.

“There was also a pack of Windows 7 playing cards, a colour poster and of course the piece de resistance, a FULL copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition (Steve Ballmer Signature Edition). What I was not expecting though was the Anytime Upgrade to Ultimate Signature 64 bit edition. A nice bonus!"

Microsoft’s poster child Bill Gates had his signature plastered over special edition packs of Windows Vista when it launched in 2006, so it’s hardly surprising to see Redmond repeat its marketing gimmick with Windows 7.

Meanwhile 24-hour-Windows-7-party-people on the look out for a fast buck have already begun flogging their Ballmer-signed copies over at eBay.

It's not clear whether party hosters will have to pay for the signed pack. They will of course want to keep the shrinkwrap on to maintain its pristine collectable status - meaning they'll have to buy a standard copy, if they actually want to run the software.

This could lead one to accuse Microsoft of a cynical effort to drive up sales of their new OS - if it wasn't already clear the strategy paid zero dividends with Vista. ®

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