But it had its employees working to make sure the journalists assembled didn’t try to do much actual journalism. SearchEngineLand’s Danny Sullivan reports:

When I went to Desktop on Surface & selected Screen Resolution it was jerked out of my hands - “Nice trick” I was told

Which shows pretty clearly just how much these unveilings are about press manipulation (good for Sullivan for reporting this). Think of these events as live-action press releases, ads, and infomercials all rolled up into one. Would folks go all exclamation-pointy if Microsoft fanned out this information on PR Newswire?

As I wrote back in 2009:

It’s all carefully choreographed instanews that gives the reporter no chance to call, say, a skeptical analyst or a book publisher or really to add much context at all. In other words, by going along with this kind of thing, news organizations risk putting themselves in the business of advertising for the corporation—or at least issuing a sort of dynamic press release.

And much of the tech press still, with what’s no longer a new form, keeps playing along.

UPDATE: Reuters this morning, with the benefit of a few hours and some calls: “Microsoft Corp’s new tablet computers are no threat to Apple Inc’s iPad, given the lack of enthusiasm among developers to create applications that run on the new Windows operating system, analysts said.”

Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.