January 18, 2010
Microsoft created an avatar, wallpapers and sounds (by pop singer and voice actress Nana Mizuki) called "Nanami Madobe" (窓辺ななみ) for the Japanese Windows 7 rollout. Her first name can be read "beautiful seven" and her last means "by the window."
Nana Mizuki's first name (奈々,) is also a homophone for "seven," but in this case is derived from the kanji for the ancient capital city of Nara. Still, a clever bit of casting.
These (previously) unofficial software mascots have been around for a while in Japan. They're called "OS-tan" (tan is a slang form of the diminutive suffix chan). But Nanami was developed internally and with a healthy budget, as Nana Mizuki is a star in her own right.
Alas, the U.S. Microsoft site doesn't mention her at all. I found a single reference on the Microsoft-Japan site. Even in Japan, Nanami Madobe is only available with the Windows 7 Ultimate edition.
For once, Microsoft has completely out-cuted Apple, but is doing its level best not to admit it. I mean, doesn't John Hodgman deserve a girlfriend? By gum, yes he does! (Sit-com possibilities abound.)
"Get a Mac" fail
Nanami Madobe CM
Me and my mechanical girlfriend