How a Microsoft Cafe, consumer-hosted Windows 7 parties and a flagship store will help improve Microsoft's image.

If you compared Microsoft to a person a few years ago, he would be the rigid guy at the party wearing last season's clothes, the one that doesn't know how to style his hair and is a bit awkward when it comes to social interaction. He is almost always present at all the parties - not because he is a good conversationalist but he was just in the vicinity and no one had the heart to kick him out.

But that gawky image may be slowly changing as Microsoft adapts to the phenomenon of emotional marketing and starts to create a social desire for their products.

On October 22 Microsoft will open their first dedicated flagship store in the US and will start serving up cakes, coffees and juices at the Microsoft Cafe in France. On that date consumers around the world will also hold their own "Tupperware-style" Windows 7 parties where they invite their friends and family over to talk about the release of Windows 7.

This type of buzz is new for Microsoft which has traditionally relied on the more formal avenues of marketing to promote their products. But they are headed in the right direction because consumers like to associate the products they use with a friendly face or a good memory and this type of marketing allows them to do exactly that.

The Microsoft Cafe, located in Paris, is the first of its kind in the world. It has been designed as a cool place to hang out, relax, and get a hands-on tour of products sporting the Windows 7 OS. You won't be able to purchase a PC or Windows 7 software at the cafe but you will be able to buy reasonably priced (for Paris, anyway) coffee and fruit and veggie juices with names like "Le Frutti Bing," "Le Banana Win Shake" and "Le Blue Screen" (actually, according to the menu, that last one is no longer available to purchase).

A team of dedicated Microsoft staff will be in the cafe for the sole purpose of showing off Microsoft products. The multitouch capabilities of the new Windows 7 operating system will be demonstrated on large-touchscreen computers supplied by MSi and other companies such as Sony, Philips and Samsung have provided hardware that shows off the new OS.

If you want to try out Microsoft's cool new marketing strategies in person, the Microsoft Cafe, located at 47, boulevard de Sébastopol, Paris will be open from Monday to Saturday from October 22 until the end of December.