We mentioned the Vanishing Point Game back at the beginning of January. It was a viral marketing campaign that Microsoft had started to hype the launch of Windows Vista. We were decoders after receiving a little box in the mail that contained a 256mb USB Drive with a video, a cypher key, and instructions to follow. Anybody could get involved by solving puzzles worth points online.

Along with all of the puzzles, Microsoft went all around the world from the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas to Singapore and Germany giving clues to solve the puzzles. Many bloggers got into it, although I don’t think that it got as much publicity as Microsoft had hoped.

Yesterday, a winner was announced, and the prize package was definitely pretty cool. One lucky winner, William Temple from Sacramento California won all of this:

  • A trip to space!
  • Windows Vista-based AMD powered Dell desktop PC
  • 24-inch widescreen monitor
  • Zune digital media player
  • Xbox 360
  • Three games for Windows game titles
  • Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 webcam
  • Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007
  • 50,000 cash (to help cover taxes)

Microsoft was actually thinking when they put this prize package together to include money to help cover taxes. Just recently, I read about a man who had won a trip to outer space from a sweepstakes that Oracle sponsored. He was unable to take the trip when re realized he had to report the trip which was worth $138,000. Had he taken the trip, it would have resulted in a $25,000 tax bill.

The winner says â€