Shipping of Windows Vista / Microsoft Office prizes to competition winners (UK developer launch)

I have received an update on the shipping date, we're likely to start shipping during week commencing 12 March. This also applies to the copies for people who attended the physical launch event.

Comments (95)

  1. John says:

    Any update on when the emails will be sent out?

    I presume that this will now be next week.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. Ian Moulster says:

    Yes it will be next week. At least, that’s the latest info I have.

  3. ALesser says:

    Ian, in the other topic I asked if accidentally entering twice will invalidate my entry. You haven’t answered yet. So will it or not?

    If it does: I’ll be upset

    If it doesn’t: oh my lord i really hope i win.

  4. Ian Moulster says:

    Yeah sorry but I’m not permitted to comment, I’ll try to get an answer but it will probably take us past the time that we’ll actually be sending the emails.

    So in short I can’t answer unfortunately.

  5. IanC says:

    IanM : there was an earlier mention that people would need to be quick responding the email notification (or it expired after 7 days).

    Will this be the case?

  6. Mike says:


    I’m sure people appreciate this indication of when the competition prizes are likely to start shipping. I’m also sure that many people will have a blind spot for the words “likely”, “start shipping” and “during week commencing”. They’ll only see one part of that sentence and that’s the date of 12 March.

    Many people will take it that their competition prize will be shipped on 12 March. Your comment inbox will be overflowing if the prizes don’t arrive immediately after that. Given that the competition T&Cs set an end date on the shipping process at 60 days after the competition ends, I think it would have been better to state:

    “I’ve been told that we’ll be shipping the competition prizes sometime between 12 March and 20 April.”

    That would have set the expectation that no shipping will take place before 12 March, which is really all you want to do, for the sake of your comment inbox.

  7. Steve_G says:

    Ahhhhh man !, I want it now (stamps feet!)

  8. Mike says:

    I’ve looked at that sentence in the blog posting again. The lexical emphasis on the 12 March date is even more pronounced by the increase in font size before the date, which visually increases the emphasis on the date.

  9. Buckie says:

    For the people who have entered more than once, I’d keep quiet about it, and hope its missed, as it is in the ruels and we were told that checks would be made !

    Although I’m not having a go at anyone, as it appears quite a few have accidentaly entered more than once, it is unfair for the people who entered once, especially for the Vista side as it was full one hour after opening !

    I say this not out of malice but I was at the phisical event in Reading, and we only get a choice of Vista or Office, not both. While people who were at home get a copy of Vista & Office, seems a bit unfair as we had to shell out to get there and for hotels……so come on guy’s stop keep going on about it.

  10. Neil says:

    Another MONTH?  Killer 🙁

    At this rate I might even get my "Express Upgrade" copy first!  (Yeah, right…)

    Still, guess I can’t complain for a freebie.  It would be so nice if I could just download it and have the key e-mailed though.  

  11. mbrown says:

    Hi ian,

    Is there any chance that the emails will go out over the weekend?



  12. mbrown says:

    Ooops, sorry I forgot my previous question was answered above… sorry ian 😀

  13. Ian Moulster says:

    The reason the font is a different size from the words "12 March" onwards is pretty prosaic: I cut and paste from an email I received. In an ideal world (the kind of world I dream about sometimes) I would have noticed that and fixed it. But don’t read too much into it.

    As for the language used like "should", "week commencing" etc it’s just my cautious nature coming out. Although these are the dates I’ve been given I’m a sceptic at heart and know that there are multiple opportunities for things to change.

    So the bottom line is that I need to balance being as open as possible with you guys against misleading you unwittingly when things happen that are beyond my control. I may sometimes get that balance wrong, and hopefully I won’t get too badly trashed on those (hopefully rare) occasions. Sounds like I’m back in that dream world again…

  14. Mike says:


    Just to clarify; I’m not being critical over the accuracy of your wording. I’m being sceptical about how accurately some of your readership will interpret the shipping date sentence.

    As I said, they’ll just see the shipping date of 12 March and they’ll bombard your comment inbox, if they haven’t received their prize by the next day’s post.

  15. Ian Moulster says:

    I hear what you’re saying and you’re probably right. I know from bitter experience that few people read things closely.

  16. John says:


    I agree that people should not have entered the comp more than once and hope that if it was an honest mistake they will reject any duplicate emails.  However I don’t agree with your comment that "people who were at home get a copy of Vista & Office, seems a bit unfair".  You will only get a copy of both if you were able to watch all the relevant videos and answer both questions correctly (within the first hour for Vista).

    I would have loved to join the event live but it was not possible as I live in Edinburgh.  No-one made you attend and there was nothing stopping you from entering the competition when you got home.  Seems to me that you would have been better attending the online event and using the money you saved to buy a copy of VisaOffice.

    Anyway, hopefully the emails will be sent early next week and all of this will be history.

  17. ALesser says:

    I was intending for my wife to enter as well as me, so maybe the second entry was a godsend!

  18. Jason R says:

    Nice One Buckie, can you imagine if everone who attended the Live Event also entered online.

    I also hope the the wrong answers are checked too, as it only takes a couple of guesses and you have it right.

    Only One Entry from One Account, right or wrong.

    I too only entered once and would hate to loose out to people with multiple entries. As lets face it, it is a compertition, but lets be fair about it, and for the record once you enter it takes you away from that page so you cant just accidentaly press enter again, it takes you back to the page that you started from, I’ve just checked.

    No IF’s or BUT’s ruels are rules.


  19. Jon says:


    If we attended the event in reading will we also be sent an email at some point to confirm which product we will be recieving?



  20. Ian Moulster says:

    jon – those emails were sent out some time ago (see

    If you haven’t responded you have unfortunately missed the cut off by now.

    Drop me an email, I’ll see if anything can be done.

  21. Buckie says:

    Ian I think jon is refering to "as to wheather or not he will get his choice" not if he received the e-mail. As we were told you may not get your first choice of software.

    I’ve asked this in another of your blogs, asking if I’ve missed a e-mail telling me if I will get my first choice of software (ie Vista)

    I’d have e-mailed you but can’t lay my hands on your addy

    cheer’s Buckie

  22. Joe Wheeler says:

    There is a question above relating to the possible  need to respond to the email that will be sent for the online competition.

    Do we have to respond at all, is there a time limit, or will the software simply be sent out ie can I stop stressing about this and just wait to see if I get a present (or two?) in the post?

    ( I am aware there was a deadline in the live event email)

  23. Yiannis says:

    It’s "next week" already 🙂 Where are those emails ?:P 😛 😛

  24. Jon says:


    I did reply to the email, I was just wondering if we would be sent a confirmation email to say which product we would be recieveing as I thought there were limited numbers of each product?



  25. John says:


    true it is "next week" now, but the comp doesn’t officially end until 23:59 tonight, so the earliest the emails will be sent will be tomorrow.  Event then I wouldn’t hold your breath. 😉

  26. Ian Moulster says:

    If you attended the physical launch event you should have already indicated your preference (if you haven’t, you’ve missed the cut off). We will not be sending further emails to you, you will simply receive the product in the post. And hopefully we’ll be able to fulfil everyone’s first choice.

    As for when the online competition winner emails will be sent: I don’t have an update, but the team who are responsible for sending it are very aware of the need to send it out asap….

  27. Tristan says:

    Er, why is the competition link still visible on the dev launch page in the left hand menu?  Shouldnt that be gone now that it finished at midnight last night?

  28. mbrown says:


    Hi Ian, as most of us will now know – the competition has ended.  We will no be receiving our emails in due course.  Just like to thank you for keeping us all up-to-date over the course of the last few months.

    Thanks again, next time we will try to be a little more patient.



  29. JohnF says:

    Why is the competition entry page still up?

  30. Yiannis says:


    Tell that to my wife, she’s been pestering me for Vista ever since I told her about the competition 🙂


  31. Jaz says:

    5pm on the 20th of Febuary, has anyone received an email for the online comp yet?  i haven’t :s

  32. Ian Moulster says:

    I spent the day at the Future of Web Apps event in London today, thinking "I bet people are posting comments on my blog saying why is the website still up and where in the name of all things sane is our email?"

    Glad you folks haven’t disappointed me 🙂

    I agree that a) the site is still up and b) it shouldn’t be. I’ve been expressing that view myself today, and I’m told people are on the case.

    As for the winner emails: I’m almost afraid to say this but tomorrow *should* be the day they’re sent. At least, that’s what I’ve been told.

  33. John says:


    you’re a braver man than me.  I would have left that last paragraph off.


  34. Will says:

    Cool, thanks Ian!

    So what is the future of web apps then ? :p

  35. Buckie says:

    Time to book that well earned hol now Ian, I don’t know how you’ve held it all together throughout this Launch of Vista & Office and the more stressfull compertition.

    I’m sure I can speak for all in thanking you for all the help you’ve given and hard work you’ve put in to it.


    Until Next Time !

  36. Chris Mossom says:

    So Ian, does the *should* still hold true? ;p

  37. Yiannis says:

    Oooh the suspense is giving me gray hairs  🙂

  38. Tristan says:

    Just so that you aren’t disappointed with us, have you had any news about the competition page still being live plus the emails?  😀

  39. Stephen says:

    Guess not! 😉

    Ahh well, Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down. Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep movin’ on!


    I’m really just waiting for the confirmation that I DIDN’T win so I can scrape some money together and buy Vista, getting really eager to start developing on and for Vista!

    Good luck to everyone, and a big thanks to you and everyone involved at Microsoft for this chance.

  40. Jaz says:

    4.39pm on the 21st feb, no email for me, but am i a winner?

    how long does it take to gather the emails of a 1000 winners and email them to say theyve won? 😀

  41. Carl M says:

    OMG. I actually forgot about this. I’ve been reading through your posts today, as well as the comments, and just wanna say thanks for keeping track of this competition.

  42. J400uk says:

    Still no email, come on microsoft!!

  43. Ian Moulster says:

    So back from the 2nd day at the FOWA conference (which was interesting by the way, but more on that later perhaps). And it looks like things haven’t moved on all that much since I posted a comment this time yesterday. Should I say anything else? Or let you folks fill in the gaps? Safe to say there is some pressure being applied. I heard the word "imminent" a few times when speaking to someone this afternoon if that makes anyone feel any better.

    Anyhow, tomorrow I’m out of the office yet again so won’t be able to report back or doing a great deal of chasing up, but my eternal optimism says that it could all be fixed by the time I get back on Friday. Well it could. Really, it could.

    So we’re not quite out of the woods yet. I’m sure we’ll all look back on this fondly in a couple of months. Well, perhaps some of us 🙂

  44. WorWilly says:

    Ian,did any of the new web apps handle compertitions, you know the sort that accept entries say upto 1000 then close the comertition automatically, saying to all that still try to enter, "Compertition is now closed" then send out confirmation e-mails telling people they have won a prise.

    Its not looking very good for s world leader in Software development is it ….

  45. Ian Moulster says:

    WorWilly – I understand the point you’re making and yes we certainly have the software that could have done that. There are three issues with doing so:

    1) Legal obligations which, I’m told, mean that we had to wait until the official competition end date before send out the winning notifications

    2) Process that is aimed at avoiding errors and problems, but that introduces extra effort as a result. I believe in process where it is effective but I feel that there is room for improvement, as do a number of other people who are involved.

    3) Resource. While Microsoft has a resonable number of staff (but perhaps less than you think) there are still bottlenecks that can slow things down.

    Having said all that, my preference would have been for the emails to go out the instant the competition closed. Other people involved are of the same mind are we’re all very keen to ensure that we improve the processes for future competitions.

  46. Joe says:


    So the emails have been sent out?

    If we haven’t received an email we haven’t won?

    If not then please post a new topic to confirm as soon as they do so it is clear to everybody.


  47. ALesser says:

    I don’t want to come over all mean towards you Ian, but surely the competition has officially closed. I am on the verge of purchasing a copy of Vista, but I’m afraid to buy it in fear of receiving an email from you guys an hour later!

  48. Ian Moulster says:

    As soon as I’m absolutely sure they have been sent I’ll post a new topic.

  49. Ian Moulster says:

    Just had a long discussion with the team responsible for sending the emails, despite best efforts they will not be sent today. There are lots of reasons – and some of them pretty good ones – as to why this is but I don’t want to go into it here.

    The emails are now likely to be sent on Monday 🙁

    Everyone is involved with the project is very aware that a) this is a priority and b) a lot of people are waiting for these emails. So just a little bit longer to hold out.

    On a more positive note, it looks like the shipping date for the prizes is still holding.

    As mentioned above, I’ll post a new entry (rather than a comment on this blog post) once the emails have been sent.

    Thanks everyone for your patience.

  50. David says:

    Any chance on explaining why they can’t be sent out today?

  51. John says:

    Thanks for the update Ian.  I’ll look forward to receiving my email a week next Tuesday ;).

    I don’t know what is more stressful, waiting for the results of this comp or selling my house.


  52. Ian Moulster says:

    I know what you mean about the stress….

    As for the reasons they’re not being sent today, there are a host of them. I started writing them down but realised it just looked like a a whole bunch of excuses. It’s difficult to explain some of them anyway without going into great depth around the processes we have in place here and to be honest I don’t think many people really care: they just want us to get on and send them, a sentiment I share.

  53. Paul says:

    Thanks for the updates.  We’re getting far more info than is usually available from competition organisers!

    The prizes are good and the 1000 copies is a really generous amount to be offering so I guess any frustration is just a function of how keen we all are to be winners 🙂

    At the end of the day, it’s hardly that serious a situation is it?  My only concern is not rushing out and buying too many copies if I’ve already won one!

  54. Ian Moulster says:

    Thanks Paul, I appreciate that.

    For the record, my reason for keeping close to this and providing updates on a bit of a micro-scale is experience of being on the other side of the fence (ie your side) a number of times and feeling frustration as a result.

    And anyway, that’s what blogging should be about IMO: a way of getting around corporate "facelessness" and providing some transparency.

  55. Mike says:

    That’s a problem with us as developers, we always want instant gratification. We don’t like waiting for anything. I always adopt the Norman Stanley Fletcher attitude to life at times like this. His frequently offered advice to Godber was "Bide your time". Try saying it to yourself a few times and you’ll find that the notification emails will appear soon enough.

  56. WorWilly says:

    Incidentally Ian, thats one thing I will say, your feedback throughout this comertition has been great, and if anything you’ve shown how a Blog should be handled….thanks

    Its not we are having a pop at you or indeed Microsoft, its just sometimes we can’t see the wood for the tree’s, and were impatient…


  57. PSmith says:

    Got back from a weeks skiingon Saturday. Ploughed through my e-mails on Sunday. Apart from the usual MS postings I had nothing about the competition. Thought I must have lost.  Now on checking the blog, I see there is still a glimmer of hope!

    I agree with Ian.  How often have the "simplest" tasks actually consumed too many resources. Sounds like we all share similar processes!

  58. Yiannis says:

    Monday is here 🙂 🙂 aaand where are those emails? 🙂

  59. Ian Moulster says:

    You’ll be glad to know I have been asking that question too, I’ve been told that it should go today but we don’t have an estimated time. Could be after 5.30pm potentially.

  60. PSmith says:

    … after 5.30pm in which time zone  !

  61. Bill says:

    "You’ll be glad to know I have been asking that question too, I’ve been told that it should go today but we don’t have an estimated time. Could be after 5.30pm potentially."

    Haha they sound like salesman – "Yes your car will be fixed before we close at 5:30" then youll show up at 5:30 just to realize they normally close at 5:00 haha.

    Oh well thanks Ian for your constant updates.

    Ps. Yes these blogs do seem to help humanize the "big blue company". :p

  62. Ian Moulster says:

    lol good question, I hadn’t even thought that I could claim that I was talking about 5.30pm on some island in the distant Pacific. But actually I did mean UK time!

    I still can’t offer a cast iron guarantee that it will be sent today – as it’s not in my control. But I’ll stick my neck out and say it looks reasonably likely.

  63. Daniel says:

    Considering this thread was originally about the UK developer launch, it will be GMT.

  64. PSmith says:

    UK Time , great.

    I thought it best to ask the question rather than make the assumption. Corporate MS may have a central "team" to run all competitions etc, rather than have duplicate teams in several countries.

    Also, we have had the added distraction ofthe blog entries bearing EDT times.

  65. Ian Moulster says:

    Yes fair enough. There is a central UK team that handles all email that we send from the UK, but not something worldwide. So UK time it is, even if as you point out the blog posts do weird stuff with timezones….

  66. PSmith says:

    I suspect there is a review meeting taking place which will result in an action for someone to "press the button" to process the list of winners and automatically send out the e-mails?

    This comment sent at 14:25 GMT!

  67. Ian Moulster says:

    Yes – more or less. The list of winners is compiled and checked by two separate people/teams. Then it’s sent to the communications team who create the email and write the copy that will appear in the body and subject line, and add the graphics, the legal notices, links to unsubscribe, etc. Then they have an automated tool that jumps through numerous data protection hoops before blasting out the emails. With a whole heap of checks and processes happening along the way.

  68. Dominic says:

    Grr, I have to go out in a few minutes, and won’t then be able to check my mail until Friday evening. I trust that if I have won, it’s not something I’ll need to respond to immediately?

  69. Ian Moulster says:

    No, there is no response required. The email is for information only. So you’re ok

  70. Dominic says:

    Cheers Ian, fingers crossed for me! Have a good week.

  71. Jason R says:

    Ian I’m sure you too can see the funny side of this. I can imagine One little Microsoft trainee, in a broom cuboard sifting through a pile of 1000 Vista and 1000 Office correct entries, then passing them through a small window into a even smaller broom cuboard (next to Bills office) to his trainee, to be double checked. The entries then get passes back to the first trainee whom pushes the final list under Bills door. Bill signs the e-mail list off and after confirmation from the legal team is poised to push a big red button marked "Launch Event Winners" this is at 5.29 and 59 seconds then Oh the dreaded Blue Screen…..


    I had hoped to draw a story board but alas have not the time.

  72. Joe Wheeler says:

    With the wait practically over. I think we owe a big thank you to Ian for his attempts at keeping us at least partially informed.

    Can you imagine the frustration had we not had this line of communication?

    Thanks again.

  73. Ian Moulster says:

    Glad it’s been useful, thanks Joe.

    And Jason: scarily close to reality!

  74. Phil says:

    Haha @17:30 No one is a winner :p

  75. Peter-Baker says:

    Both me and a friend have been sending "have you had an email from MS yet about the competition?" for the last hour, we are crossing fingers for some sort of word on what’s happening.

    Besides that we both think it’s going to be tomorrow before anyone see’s any emails.

    So a wave to everyone waiting from me and my friend Chris!!!

  76. Ian Moulster says:

    They should be leaving the gates about now…..but I’ll post a blog entry when I’ve had confirmation.

  77. T.H says:

    Did anyone actually get a mail yet? I am still waiting for mine, but maybe it just means I haven’t won .. hehe, what a downer after waiting for a month!

  78. Bill says:

    Yes Email are out – got it. Thanks.

  79. the andyman says:

    Yes – just received my "you’ve won Vista Ultimate" confirmation email :D. Thanks for keeping us updated during the competition Ian, and thanks to whoever organised the competition in the first place 🙂

  80. Alastair says:

    Woohoo I won 😀 Thanks Ian for keeping us updated through the process 🙂

  81. Danny says:

    Great i won a copy of vista!! thanks Ian for keeping us informed, commiserations to those who didn’t win.

  82. DeviateX says:

    Thanks Ian!! Just got the email for office 2007 and Vista 😀

    Wow!! Wow!!

  83. IanC says:


    Just got my confirmation email re winning Vista (6:05pm GMT)

    Many many thanks IanM for taking the time trouble & effort for us all – I’m sure appreciation outweighs frustration of wait

  84. Nick says:

    My housemate won a copy but I haven’t had an email and I entered before him and with the same answer (Experian), looks like something didn’t work, aw 🙁

  85. Adam says:

    Yee Haa Cowboy, won me a copy of Vista!

  86. PSmith says:

    I won a copy of Office!  🙂  18:05

    Obviously my Vista entry was submitted too late 🙁

    Ian, thanks for all the feedback.

  87. WorWilly says:

    Bummer….I aint won, but I replied weeks before Ian anounced the Vista had reached 1000 but Office was still open, it was the Office I applied for  ????

    Oh well after such a long wait I supose someone had to loose out…  Bummer

    We Now want a blog for Appeals…….

  88. scoopex says:

    I just checked my hotmail account and it confirmed that i had won a copy of vista ultimate.


  89. Adam says:

    How are they posted? First class, Recorded delievery?

    Thank You

  90. Adam says:

    I will answer my self lol. First Class for anyone who wanted to know.

  91. Dave B. says:

    Will the shipped Windows be a 32 or 64 bit version?

    Might be time to upgrade my hardware…



  92. Damian says:

    Hi Ian,

    I recieved my Won copy of Vista in the post the other day and i have two queries,

    first one is that i didnt receive the e-mail saying that i had won it and wondered if something had gone wrong with that(not that im complaining)

    and secondly the copy of windows vista ultimate that i have (like all other competition winners), is this a full retail version or is it like the OEM releases where if i install it on one machine it will be locked to that hardware?

    Just wondered becuase i have one pc that may run it but im not sure and i am currently building the second one but it wont be ready for a while!


  93. Damian says:

    Sorry been doing some more reading on your other posts since i posted the previous question and i found the answers for the above.

    Although, i mailed volaunch for the list of winners 2 days ago now (becuase my profile is down as do not contact) and have still not received anything. Are they still sending this list out and if not is there a possibility that someone could provide me with this list?


  94. Adrian Oxbrow says:

    Hello Ian,

    I attended the day, and have not yet received the copy of Office I selected.

    Could I ask that you/someone check if it was sent out?

    and get back to me.  

    Thanks, Adrian

  95. Jackie says:

    Is anyone else concerned that they might not receive their copy when it’s sent out as it isn’t sent recorded delivery?

    Is there anyway that Microsoft could ensure that only the genuine recipient can use the copy and if it goes ‘astray’ replace it?

    I personally would be happy to pay for my own recorded delivery.

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