Microsoft uses Hollywood and NFL to brand Windows Phone 8 as cool

While the rest of the world was focused on the super storm battering the U.S. East Coast, Microsoft pushed ahead and launched its new Windows Phone 8 platform during a surprisingly celebrity-driven launch in San Francisco.

Led by Microsoft software vice president Joe Belfiore, the event kicked off with a round up of the features in Windows Phone 8, with the key message being that the phone is designed to be heavily personalized. The company then showed off a video that featured NFL star quarterback Cam Newton holding up his own HTC smartphone using the new operating system.

Then, midway through Belfiore's presentation, actress Jessica Alba (Fantastic Four, Sin City) not only made an appearance but gave a short tech talk herself. The event ended with Belfiore and Alba joined on stage by the company's gregarious CEO Steve Ballmer, happily basking in Alba's aura of Hollywood cool.

Interestingly, the only other promotion video for the platform featured Ballmer himself, taking viewers on a tour through his daily life using the operating system. The soft-spoken voice-over was a marked departure from the "developers, developer, developers!" version of Ballmer many geeks have come to admire, but this is apparently just the latest in Microsoft's attempt to rebrand itself as cool.

You can check out the newly hip and mellow Microsoft CEO in the video below.

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