In the 1960s & 70s the idea of a home computer was unheard of outside of science fiction circles. Before the late 1980s home networks were unheard of.
In 1975 Microsoft was founded with the vision of putting "A computer on every desk and in every home...". Microsoft led the charge in creating a world where a "home computer" something you expect to see in a home.
By including great support for networking technologies (particularly TCP/IP) in Windows 3x and 95 Microsoft ensured ubiquitous networking in businesses and homes. Today there are over 100 million households with a "home network" and Microsoft led the world in making this happen.
When we set about building Windows Home Server we knew we were going to be defining a new category of products and solutions for consumers. We thought long and hard about what we should call the product. As you would expect, there was no shortage of opinions. In fact some very, very senior executives at Microsoft were quite forceful in saying "whatever you do, don't call it a server".
So we worked hard at trying to come up with another name. We tried other "descriptive" names such as "hub". We tried fanciful names (like "Poodle"). But at the end of the day we recognized that no matter what we called the product we would always be describing it as a home server, because that's what it is: A device on a home network that provides centralized services over the network to other devices – helping consumers protect, organize and share their digital content.
In addition, as we did our research we discovered some very interesting things. First, we found that the only people who didn't like the term "server" were technical people who thought they understood consumers. Then we discovered that consumers in our target market (consumers who already have a home network and multiple PCs) understood what a server is, loved the name and the concept, and thought it was "the inevitable next step". In fact we heard loud and clear that many such consumers would feel proud to be able to say they had a server in their home.
This week we started an online advertising campaign for Windows Home Server that, in a humorous way will help explain how Windows Home Server can help families. The campaign complements a range of other communications efforts including events, webinars, online and in-store demonstrations and more.
This campaign will drive home (pun intended) the idea that just as Microsoft was the leader in making "home computer" and "home network" common household terms it is doing it again for "home server".
You can find the landing site for the campaign at www.stayathomeserver.com. Over the next few weeks we will roll out more funny video vignettes that will help families understand why they should have a home server in their household.
We've also commissioned a funny fake children's book titled "Mommy, Why is there a Server in my House?" which will help parents explain why there is a new member of the family. We are sure the book will become a best seller! Check out a teaser of the book on www.stayathomeserver.com right now.
We have home computers, home networks, and the era of home servers has just begun...