The Empire Strikes Back

August 14, 2010
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Microsoft has decided to strike back at Apple. One cannot forget the Apple ads that derided the PC so effectively over the past year or two - Windows Vista presented such an inviting target. But now with Windows 7 improvements and Mac prices going ever higher relative to the equivalent PC, Redmond has launched its own counter ads – just as the back-to-school and off to college computer buying season gets started. And clearly the ad above shows the demographics Microsoft is shooting for.

Apple Stings Microsoft Vista
As expected, Microsoft hammers the 3 biggest selling points in favor of Windows :
1)more programs are not just available for the PC but likely to be found and needed on the new school scene[yikes, turning the tables on Apples constant bragging about its app advantage on the iPhone/iPad front];
2) lack of cross platform compatibility of the existing Mac programs and file formats puts users in jeopardy of falling behind at school [the pot calling the kettle black ass];
3)there is a notably large learning curve getting up to speed in the Mac for users familiar with a PC [how soon Redmond forgets the learning curve for Vista and Windows 7 moving from Windows XP].

Yes, it is  the old fear and dread campaign only a Republican could love. But the ad has positive inducements including more Windows  fun and  games, greater TV and media features["how dare they- media friendly was practically invented on Macs!"], better security features ["what, encryption is mandatory only if you have a PC, not so a Mac"] and full touch screen operations["why the blighters, Apple created multi-touch operations and brought it to full fruition on the iPhone and iPad"]. Takethe5th was surprised that Redmond has not mentioned in the ads  two other large PC advantages:
1)The price of a comparably equipped PC is 1/2 if not 1/3 the price of the equivalent Apple Mac [and the guts inside including CPU, diskdrive, GPU, and memory once matched are nearly identically the same];
2)The graphics and video performance of PCs is between 10-50% better than Apples as Cupertino has fumbled the drivers for its graphics cards and GUI such that both  video and a wide range graphics on identically the same hardware runs slower on Macs[don't do a Steve Jobs and blame it on Adobe Flash, Macs also under-perform on games and other graphics].
These omissions are surprising given the very high stakes.  Apple is looking to obsolete the PC with its lite, full day battery life, mobile and touch-easy to use iPads and iPhones. Apple, Google and a bevy of others are betting keyboard-less, mouse-less yet multi-touch and long-battery life smartphones and slates will steal significant market share from PCs. And to do so, Apple has already lead off with the biting satire of its PC vs Mac ads [see above]and its CEO lead campaign blaming Adobe Flash for its largely self-inflicted graphics performance woes.

Now Redmond is getting into the direct attack ads game with its own largely soft and fact-based comparison ads. The problem is that the next round of negative comparison ads will likely appear in the smartphone/pads arena where Windows Phone 7, Xbox, and Zune are playing catch-up with Apple iPhone+iPad+iPod, Amazon Kindle, Dell Streak, Google’s gaggle of Android powered smartphones+slates, and several others. These Fall+Christmas ads will very likely take the Washington approach – negative comparison ads because Phone 7 will likely be at a features disadvantage relative to all the competition except on price. The only question is will those negative ads use light humor, satire or direct Washington-style full face slaps?

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