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Microsoft ropes in Family Guy to pimp Windows 7

OS launch ditches rock stars for an American Dad

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If Windows 95 made you Mick Jagger, and Windows 98 made you David Bowie, then Windows 7 is going to make you a Family Guy or American Dad.

Microsoft has coughed up to take over the talent behind the apparently subversive comedies to celebrate the launch of its must-succeed operating system this month.

Or as Microsoft puts it, "The cornerstone of the effort is the exclusive Windows 7 sponsorship of an upcoming television event devoted to the comedy of Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, American Dad and The Cleveland Show."

Redmond and MacFarlane are apparently taking the idea of "commercial-free" to the next level, with the "original FOX variety special Family Guy Presents: Seth & Alex's Almost Live Comedy Show."

They promise "simplicity for viewers" with no ads or promos - just "unique Windows 7-branded programming that blends seamlessly with show content".

We're sure it'll be so seamless that you won't notice that, as Microsoft puts it, "MacFarlane and (co-star Alex) Borstein have teamed with Windows and their agencies, Universal McCann and Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, to develop, write and produce the customized branded integrations."

"We have simplified the PC with Windows 7, and together with FOX, we're simplifying entertainment," said Gayle Troberman, general manager of consumer engagement and advertising at Microsoft, completely ignoring the fact that Fox TV has been "simplifying" TV, and American public life for over 20 years.

The deal definitely marks a stepping up in Microsoft's commercial activity, which has an uncanny lack of burying any remaining cred its hired "talent" still has. In the case of Jagger and Bowie, their best days were frankly behind them before Microsoft exposed how they'd happily tout unfinished software to increase their cash hoards. But some of us wish we still thought of the Berlin Wall instead of Windows 98 when we hear 'Heroes'.

Even Jerry Seinfeld was almost a decade away from his eponymous sitcom when he became the pitchman for the ill-fated Vista.

Either way, it'd be hard to say that Jagger, Bowie or Seinfeld has done much since taking the Microsoft dollar to tout operating systems.

MacFarlane, though, is arguably at the top of his game - but is presumably anticipating an early retirement from creative work. ®

Top three mobile application threats

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