Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows

By  |  Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 10:50 am

Tired of all the banter about Lauren, the lady who spurned the 17-inch MacBook Pro for an HP laptop? Meet Giampaolo, the newest protagonist in Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” ad campaign for Windows:

The format of the commercial is the same as the “Lauren” one–Microsoft tells Giampaolo that if he finds a laptop that meets his needs, it will pay for it. He wants something with portability, battery life, and power, and brags about his “technical savvy.” He comes across a MacBook and says it’s “so sexy” but then dismisses Macs as being about aesthetics, and says he doesn’t want to pay for a brand. (He may have been chatting with Steve Ballmer, who recently advanced the similar theory that there’s a $500 price premium for Macs based on the logo alone.)

Ultimately, like Lauren, he decides on an HP–the HDX X16, which sells for $1099. I’m not sure if HP should be happy that both of Microsoft’s laptop hunters end up choosing its wares, or ticked off that Giampaolo, especially, seems to be implying that HP computers aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as Macs, and the HP brand isn’t something that people value enough to pay extra for.

Once again, there’s a reasonable message here: Windows PCs offer far more choices than Macs, and it’s possible to get a Windows machine with a lot of features for far less money than the cheapest Macs. (Although Giampaolo, who ranked battery life as one of his key criteria, may be disappointed by the HDX X16–Laptop’s review says it has subpar battery performance.)

Even more than Lauren’s laptop quest, Giampaolo’s boils down to speeds and feeds: He runs around the electronics store (a Fry’s, by the way) talking about clockspeeds and hard drive capacities, and a salesperson talks about discrete graphics with 512MB of memory. Lots of people buy computers this way, and when they’re out to get the biggest numbers for the lowest price, a low-cost Windows computer will always beat the cheapest Mac. Always.

But the weird thing to me about these ads is this: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision. That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs.

As I said about the “Lauren” ad, the most positive idea you can take away about Windows from Giampaolo’s shopping expedition is that it comes on computers that are cheaper than Macs. Which might be a selling point at the moment, but I can’t imagine that it’s a healthy statement to make about Microsoft’s primary product over the long haul.

I also still can’t quite understand why Microsoft’s ad campaign harps on the notion that Windows PCs provide more variety at lower price points than Macs. It’s pretty much self apparent to anyone who’s ever stepped foot in a store that sells computers, and it’s in large part responsible for Windows’ giant market share and Apple’s small one. I keep coming back to variations on this metaphor, but it’s kind of as if Chevy ran ads showing economy-minded car shoppers choosing a Cobalt or Malibu over an Audi Q5 or A6. The folks in the ads would be making the right decisions for them. But you gotta wonder how many actual people in the real world there are whose buying decisions would be affected by the comparison.

 
81 Comments


Read more: 

52 Comments For This Post

  1. DTNick Says:

    Indeed–Microsoft is basically saying what anyone who's shopped around for a computer likely already knows.

  2. Bob Caswell Says:

    Well, at least no one’s offended or victimized this time around (yet). By the way, what is your solution to a Microsoft ad campaign? Would love to hear how you’d position MS in this context. FYI- Here’s my take on the latest ad (with some good discussion in the comments):

    http://bobcaswell.com/2009/04/04/new-microsoft-ad-macs-are-so-sexy-but/

  3. Harry McCracken Says:

    Microsoft has a challenge in that the real buying decision that matters most for the largest number of people isn’t whether to buy a Windows PC or a Mac–it’s whether to buy a new Windows PC or keep the one you’ve already got. Most Microsoft marketing of the past has been Windows-centric and upgrade-driven (“The Wow Starts Now” etc). It’s this new campaign that has a larger Windows-vs-Mac component, and which doesn’t say anything positive about Windows as an operating system.

    Additional challenge: Rightly or wrongly, Vista’s reputation is tarnished enough that an ad campaign centered around it would have big credibility challenges from the get-go. All of the new ads from the Seinfeld ones are about Windows, not Windows Vista, and while that’s in part a reasonable reflection of the fact that Windows is about a lot more than Vista, it also neatly avoids the Vista problem.

    I’ll be curious to see where the ad campaign goes once Windows 7 is available–I’ll be startled if it doesn’t come back to promoting specific virtues of the OS.

    I’m lucky enough to not have the responsibility of figuring out how to market Windows. It’s tough! But If it was my job, I might convey the variety of Windows PCs available and how there’s one for everybody (as “Laptop Hunters” does, sorta) without suggesting that speeds and feeds at a given price point are the overriding factor.

    In an odd way, I think that there’s an implied message in these new ads that’s increasingly true but very uncomfortable for Microsoft: Over time, as much of the computing experience moves to the Web, operating systems are going to be less and less relevant to our everyday computing experience. It’s going to be tougher for Microsoft to dominate, and tougher for it to command the prices it currently does from PC manufacturers.

    –Harry

  4. Bob Caswell Says:

    Thanks, Harry, for your insights. It’s true that the latest ads are avoiding Vista and that’s likely on purpose. I mean, MS has a new OS coming out soon… It’s saving up the specific OS marketing for then, I’m sure.

  5. Sam Says:

    It is interesting that Microsoft, the software supplier for these computers, is not talking about software. They are touting hardware cost. For those that care about cost, especially in this economy, the choice is mostly going to be a Windows PC. For those that are about experience and don’t see it as a commodity item the OS is going to win out and that gives OS X the edge. Maybe Ubuntu as well. Both are better than Windows for different reasons. OS X is so much better than Windows in its current version and as people I know get exposed to it they agree. Long-time Windows users are switching. I was one. 18 years on the DOS/Windows platform before I switched 3 years ago. If you are moving from XP you have to learn a new paradigm anyway and the long-time users figure what the heck? Might as well go Mac and never look back.

    If I could run the Mac OS on a HP, Dell, or Lenovo there is a good chance I would. Probably a Thinkpad even though they are ugly but they are hard to kill. I am not married to the hardware, it is the software that counts. This is going to be true more and more in the future as we move to software as service. Anyway, it is the iPhone OS and Android that is going to battle it out for primacy on the next step in the evolution of the computer platform. The desktop is dying a slow death.

  6. Ed Oswald Says:

    Yep.. I think its very telling that they do not sell the OS here. I wonder why :)

  7. Sal Romano Says:

    It is a most excellent ad and effectively outdoes the Mac vs PC ads of yesterday

  8. Brendan Says:

    Oh don’t get your panties all in a bunch.

  9. Tom B Says:

    I’m waiting for Joe the Plumber. Mac users will be portrayed as a bunch of Latté-drinkers.

    Serriously, though. Who cares about clock speed when you’ve got a pokey OS like Vista? Intel giveth; MSFT taketh away, as the old saying goes. Until MSFT gets serious about modernizing there OS, it’ll be the the bottleneck on Windows PC’s.

  10. Joe Says:

    The large majority of PC users that I know have no concept of Windows…they just know their computer is slow, or it crashes, or it doesn’t do this or that. Ask if they know about how much space their OS takes up, or if they know about a browser other than Internet Explorer and they’ll get that “deer in the headlight” look.

  11. NanoGeek Says:

    I hate to break it to “Gaimpaolo”, but if he did want a Mac (which he seems to in the ad), he could have gotten a MacBook with 4GB of RAM 2.0GH, a Core 2 Duo, 250GB hard-drive, a large keyboard, and a long battery life for under $1500.

    It might have been more expensive for you if you were paying for it, but Microsoft did say ANY laptop right??? :)

  12. Wilbur Says:

    You need silverlight to view a commercial? NO Thank you! Try this so you don’t need to install silverlight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRF9-5itZA4

  13. apphacker Says:

    That video crashes safari 100% of the times I try to play it.

  14. Harry McCracken Says:

    My apologies to anyone who had trouble with the original video embed (it started crashing my browser, too). I’ve replaced it with a YouTube version that should be less troublesome.

    –Harry

  15. nehalem Says:

    It’s really not that hard to figure out – people don’t buy an OS, they buy a computer. Can I get my email, can I get on the web, can I run word?

    Real people, the ones these ads are meant for, make these decisions every day, and 1 out of 10 of them choose Macs.

  16. Harry McCracken Says:

    Nehalem–I agree that folks buy computers, and that it makes sense for Microsoft to do ads talking about computers rather than stand-alone OSes. Still find it odd that there’s no reference to the OS part of the equation. The OS isn’t everything, but it still accounts for a lot. (I don’t think that’ll be true forever, though.)

    And you’re right that the vast majority of folks choose Windows–which is one reason why I think it’s interesting that both of these ads still set up the PC/Mac comparison.

    –Harry

  17. Ken Says:

    For the longest time, Apple’s biggest problem was that typical consumers did not even consider a Mac as a viable choice. A Mac was not even on the radar. These days, especially since the Intel transition and growing popularity of iPods and iPhones, more and more people are putting a Mac model on their list of possible choices for that next PC. And THAT is all that Apple needs to be extremely successful for the next decade; once a potential customer actually considers getting a Mac, a high percentage end up buying a Mac (because they visit an Apple Store to see and try one in person).

    So along come these Microsoft ads. There are still a good percentage of Windows PC users who would not put a Mac on their list of possible choices. They are not Apple haters; they are just indifferent and buy whatever commodity PC has the lowest price. But they see these ads. “Hey… Lauren and G-whatever seem like regular people, and they considered a Mac as a possible choice. And they dismissed the Mac because it was too stylish or too high quality or “too cool.” I want stylish and high quality, and I’m definitely cool enough. I need to go to an Apple Store and check out these Macs.”

    See how it works… Microsoft is ultimately shooting themselves in the foot. Most people don’t want unlimited “cheap” choices because they are only choosing one PC. They want choices that are stylish, high quality, and cool. They want Macs.

  18. Tom B Says:

    “Real people, the ones these ads are meant for, make these decisions every day, and 1 out of 10 of them choose Macs.”

    It is good for people to have choice, but, so very often, the choice is ill-considered. “I MUST have a 17 inch screen on my laptop, even if the laptop is a POS.” (as in the Lauren ad).

    I MUST have Windows because then I can steal software from work/find lots of teenagers to help with tech support/everybody else does/I need DullBooks for Business/I’m a hard-core gamer. It turns out several of these reasons WERE somewhat rational– until the Mac went to Intel. Now you CAN run Quake Apocalypse, or DullBooks FULL speed, in Windows, if needed, on your Mac. So, the only thing MSFT has left to fall back on is price. Yes, you might spend 10% more on a Mac. But you DO get more than twice the machine for your money, IMHO.

    BTW: I’m a Ph.D. scientist, plenty familiar with Mac/ Windows/ LINUX/Solaris/IRIX. The only kind of computer I would contemplate buying with my PERSONAL cash is a Mac, though in the pre-OSX days, IRIX was a better choice for some of my work purposes.

  19. Allison Says:

    I bought a Macbook Pro tonight.

    I’ve had a Fujitsu Lifebook for the past 5 years (personal laptop). I’ve used IBM/Lenovos provided by work for the last 10 years.

    I too was motivated by speed and power – plus weight.

    Depite always upgrading my PCs upon purchase, the performance degrades significantly over time. And then they die. My Lifebook is on it’s last leg. I’ve been through SEVEN work IBMs/Dells in the past five years.

    Interestingly, I still have a 1989 Mac SE O30 and a Grape iMac in my storage unit. Both work just fine, as good as the day I bought them. I’ve actually used the iMac in the past few years when dealing with yet another catastrophic PC BSOD.

    So while it’s been a long time, the extra 1k I spent on the MBP I believe will pay for itself over the years. And from what I understand, the straight numbers aren’t apples to oranges (so to speak). Plus, MSFT has had over a decade to fix all the problems, and they just haven’t done it. Unless Apple screws up even worse, I highly doubt I’ll ever be convinced to go back.

  20. DTNick Says:

    “Tom B Says:
    April 4th, 2009 at 1:35 pm
    I’m waiting for Joe the Plumber. Mac users will be portrayed as a bunch of Latté-drinkers.”

    Why not Joe the Plumber? Shoot, they already set the tone of class warfare in the first ad…

  21. Kontra Says:

    Here’s riddle for Ballmer: How many PCs need to be sold for Microsoft to make enough in license fees to make up for a single Mac sale (for Apple to keep all the OS and hardware revenue)?

    I think Wall Street has already figured out that if the OS isn’t differentiating enough (as Microsoft suggests in these ads) there isn’t much hope for MSFT in the cloud era.

    Meanwhile, the battle has shifted to the mobile scene some time ago and MSFT is getting murdered there pain and simple.

  22. Brendan Says:

    Apple just got punk’d.

  23. magicker Says:

    A company that has a 97% world OS market share does not have to sell its operating system. It just has to remind potential buyers that Apple considers them to be fat, lazy, stupid, poor etc for their choice of OS. I am sick to death of being told by apple how lame I am for not paying their stupid prices.

    Despite all the negative publicity I took the plunge when I built my new PC and installed x64 vista and have never regretted it for a second. It is amazingly stable and runs everything I throw at it (and I abuse it a lot). In our house everything is run from the vista PC ie 3 or 4 people will remote into it from around the house on laptops or older desktops while someone will be sat at the machine playing games. It never even bats and eyelid. I can’t say if a mac would or would not work as well but given my back catlog of games (these are things you install and provide you with entertainment.. I know apple don’t have many of these.. you might want to try them out ;))and aps and the fact that Apple keep calling me stupid why should I change?

    I do think that apple users are surrounded by this “ain’t I cooler than everyone else because I belong to a 3% (world wide) club of special computer users” bubble that gives them a warm fluffy feeling of superiority… a bit like a lot of linux users.

    PS when I built my PC it cost me £1500 I did price up the equivalent at the Mac store and I was looking at £3500 for older components.

    /me steps behind riot shield.

  24. pdxflint Says:

    He could have had a Apple refurb 15.4″ Macbook Pro with full Apple warranty, which would have outperformed the clunky, heavy, low battery life piece of plastic he got – and retained a far higher resale value when he was ready to upgrade it in three or four years. And Microsoft would have paid for it… if I’m to take the commercial’s word for it.

    Hah! Fake ad #2.

    It does reflect somewhat, however, the real truth of a lot of folks who do buy PC laptops. They don’t really know what the heck they really want, nor do they know how to evaluate what they’re shopping for. “Technically savvy…??” Hmmm, my rear!

  25. Markel Staffshire Says:

    What really terrifies crapple fanboies is that Gates is starting to chip away at the real heart of Jobs lifelong marketing angle which is to show massive advertising where the entire message is that crapples are a badge of coolness, like wearing a beret in the 50s identified you as a cool artist type. So when Windows starts using the same theme, forget about the details, the whole idea is to show ‘cool’ people buying Windows boxes.

    For steve and co this means the start of an advertising war of escalation, that only Gates has the bucks to win.

  26. david Says:

    If, as rumors suggest, this campaign goes on for 10 different buyers when will Microsoft start being advertised instead of HP? Lauren’s ad was rather charming in an unPC (politically correct) sort of way: isn’t it cute how the little redhead doesn’t know anything about computers and goes to WorstBuy? But this one is truly sad. It takes me back to the mid 1990′s when I was a CircuitCity sales associate for the holidays. I felt sorry for those poor people who pretended they knew what I was talking about when I mentioned megabytes and megacycles and Windows 95. This guy thinks he is tech savvy and doesn’t know enough to realize that the computer he chose lacks two of the things he claimed were important – good battery life and a nice keyboard?

    So two ads into Microsoft’s campaign and we know nothing about Windows. Is the company that ashamed of Vista? And while HP is getting all the loving in these spots it certainly doesn’t paint its customers in a very positive light. HP: the company for cheap no-nothings.

  27. Ricardo Sanchez Says:

    I think is a pretty smart move from Microsoft. Most of us, the ones reading this article are probably very tech savvy and know the differences between Mac and PCs. However, I am often asked by family and friends about what laptop to buy… a Mac or a PC based laptop, and I see a lot of people asking the same question ALL the time in forums, blogs, etc… So, Microsoft is once again doing something that will more likely help them increase their market share even more, just wait and see… and by the way I do own two Macs and 3 PCs, and I don’t regret a bit the extra cash I paid for the Macs.

  28. Dave Barnes Says:

    @Harry, who wrote: “the real buying decision that matters most…it’s whether to buy a new Windows PC or keep the one you’ve already got.”

    I think this is the essential point. Microsoft does not care what computer you buy. Even if it is a Mac. What these ads are really trying to do is get people to buy something, anything.

    There is only one way of this recession. The consumer (whose spending constitutes 68+% of the US economy) must start spending and must continue to spend.

  29. Randall Arnold Says:

    Actually, there have been ads showing that you can buy 2 Chevy Malibus for the price of a high-priced competitor.

    Most people DO care about price/performance ratios and there’s no doubt as you say that PCs and related laptops easily fit the bill. Macs are on the high end where I think Jobs actually likes them. In these ads, though, Microsoft is preaching to the choir so I agree the campaign is rather pointless. It would have made more sense, I think, for the character to say he doesn’t want to pay a premium for a LOGO.

  30. Nehalem Says:

    When was the last time Apple ran an ad that showed OS X? They show how small they are, how green they are, how much cooler Justin Long is than John Hodgeman, how bad windows is, etc.

    In this series of ads, ms is highlighting affordability, the little kids ads showed capability and ease of use, and the I’m a PC ads showed that cool people also use PC’s.

    These ads are not for the Kool Aid drinkers on either side, but for everyday people that are making buying decisions, to remind them that there’s a reason most people buy a windows pc’s.

  31. PenguinInSunglasses Says:

    Bleat on wool production units. OS wasn’t mentioned as Giampaolo was taking his machine home to install LINUX! Wanting THE VERY BEST in CHOICE, PERFORMANCE, AND VALUE, G (like LT before him)is savy enough to read and thus out class both Gates and Jobs, really throwing that hammer into their corporate dystopian silos.

  32. tced Says:

    It’s not easily expressed in a 30 second ad, but there are solid technical reasons for picking a computer running OSX over Vista. Stability. Ease of Use. People do buy computer hardware. But computer hardware doesn’t do email or web browsing. The software does those jobs running on the hardware.

    I submit that there is also a “Microsoft Tax”. Talk to the netbook folks who are abandoning XP because Linux is cheaper AND runs better on lower speed hardware. The netbook folks never even considered Vista probably because of speed issues. But using Microsoft Windows on a netbook is RAISING the price of netbooks – sounds like a tax to me. Remember when hard drives cost $500? Well those prices are now down to $50 but the price of Windows has not gone down by a factor of 10. Sounds like a Microsoft tax to me.

  33. JDoors Says:

    (Sorry if I’m repeating what’s been said, I don’t have the time to read the extensive replies right now.0

    I think Microsoft is saying EXACTLY what you’re saying, that the OS is practically irrelevant to the purchase decision, but for different reasons.

    They may be saying, quite intentionally, that almost no one chooses one type of computer over the other due to the installed OS, point being: They’re essentially equal (that’s debatable of course, but only because there ARE two sides to the argument).

    What they ARE saying is that there are DOZENS of justifiable reasons to choose a PC over a Mac. For all practical purposes every PC sold is also a sale for Windows, so putting the emphasis on the “PC” part of the equation is justifiable.

  34. Randall Arnold Says:

    JDoors raises a valid point.

  35. Harry McCracken Says:

    I agree that emphasizing the PC is both a legitimate approach and a logical one from a marketing standpoint. I still think it’s weird that the one aspect of the PC that Microsoft ignores is the one where it adds value–the operating system…

    –Harry

  36. Stephen Says:

    Give it a rest, Harry. Most people spend their computing day inside a web browser, and these esoteric difference between Macs and Windows PCs aren’t that important to them. Sheesh, one Mac apologist (on another site) was even touting the superiority of Apple’s memory architecture! So…what’s the real-world speed boost there for the average user? Next to nothing, I’m sure. Besides, the trashing of Vista has gone way overboard. Media pundits are often guilty of groupthink (and the sycophantic Mac press is the absolute worst when it comes to this), and you’d think Vista is the second coming of MS-DOS.

    Are Macs superior to Windows? Yes. But their benefits are vastly overrated by the pro-Apple crowd.

  37. bmovie Says:

    If my cheaper PC freezes, crashes, “saves” a hair too slowly, if I mistype a character, if I lose or misplace a single file I will be tempted to cry out “I should’ve gotten a Mac!”. Loren and Giampaolo aren’t going to come over and fix things up. Who are they to advise me on what to buy? They look like they come out of Central Casting. Bring out the Nuclear Scientists, Hollywood Directors, Sports Car Designers and Public Officals. PC’s own 90% of the market and all they have to back up their call for Windows and cheaper PC’s is Loren, Giampaolo and children?

  38. scottseibel Says:

    Microsoft has adopted the selling points of the PC and are using them as its own. This is a weapon they can use, but like you, I am disappointed they did not tout any selling points of their own operating system.

    They could even use their market share as an advantage and run ads showing people perplexed on how to use an Apple for the first time or simply termed, “Apple confusion.” And this would help lead the characters in the advertisement to decide to buy a PC.

  39. Tom B Says:

    “I am disappointed they did not tout any selling points of their own operating system.

    Exactly what do you have in mind?

  40. scottseibel Says:

    “Exactly what do you have in mind?”

    If you can’t come up with selling points for a product you are way too biased against it. Which may be fine for your own personal life, but when you begin to discuss marketing as far as the masses are concerned you aren’t bringing much to the discussion.

    The sarcastic question you posed for example is easily seen through, and does not convince anyone of anything. Sure it points out your position in the mac vs pc debate but it does not show any logic or reason to get to that opinion and therefore would not lead anyone else to reach that position. If you want to convince someone (either undecided or swayed the other direction) that your position is superior, you might work on bridging the gap to your side in a way that they find logical or that it is the intelligent decision to make. Then they may actually want to cross over and join you.
    Just a few thoughts.

  41. lorenparker Says:

    Perhaps the reason they don’t talk more about the OS is that Microsoft knows that upwards of 40% of those new notebooks with their OEM-delivered Winblowz Vista operating system will be reformatted to remove all the garbage that the OEMs put on these machines to lower the price (aka begware) and revert the OS back to XP or onto Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com/getubuntu/download ). All PC x38g machine mfgs (Dell & HP especially) use the money they get from the begware boys to lower their MSRPs. The only choice tech-savvy consumers have is to erase everything that comes with these machines in order to get anything close to the horsepower possible from the new equipment.
    Microsoft doesn’t get it. As the competition heats up they focus more on silly ads than good software design. Perhaps they should refactor their bloated code base and actually give consumers they want for a change (mind-blowing concept – I realize) instead of fixation with strategies and objectives as productive as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic….

  42. rcharbon Says:

    If people don’t come in already having made an OS decision, they’re not choosing a laptop based on the OS. Either one does what most people want, web browsing, MP3s, word processing… Price rules, especially for these people who aren’t geeky, just want a tool.

  43. McDave Says:

    Microsoft’s success has has always been based on the deferred alternate close, a sales tactic used heavily in the used car trade. They give you a series of choices & constraints which pre-suppose the real outcome (to sell a Windows PC) you were doomed before you even walking into the store.

    It’s a shame as Apple’s point of difference is software, Windows has more titles but the development method is completely lacking a design phase so most of it is poor. Apple’s development system, on the other hand, actually shores up the lacking part with a tight design regime and the outcomes are clear for all to see – as long as you don’t get distracted by the hardware at the counter.

    McD

  44. JDoors Says:

    “I agree that emphasizing the PC is both a legitimate approach and a logical one from a marketing standpoint. I still think it’s weird that the one aspect of the PC that Microsoft ignores is the one where it adds value–the operating system…-–Harry”

    Someone replied to a later article and gives you that answer: Windows 7. Why emphasize a soon-to-be-obsolete product? Also, there’s that weird backlash against Vista. Why would you bring Vista up AT ALL? Avoid! Avoid! Avoid!

    The more I think about it, the more that campaign makes sense. Now if only Microsoft could wave a magic wand and cripple the knee-jerk negative reactions to EVERYTHING they do …

  45. David Says:

    Indeed, Microsoft is stating the obvious, but a very large percentage of computer users (shoppers for computer purchases) are those who NEED the obvious stated to them over and over and over again, like the blonde who had to wear a recording playback device and earphones that repeated “breathe in… breathe out” on a loop. (Yeh, the joke’s so old it predates mp3 players. ;-)) Probably 80-90% of computer users really ought to live in assited computing facilities (“Here, dearie; let me make that mouse click FOR you.”), and so the obvious bears repeating.

    Microsoft really can’t paint the choice with too broad a stroke or repeat it too often. Too many computer users do actually sleep, you know… and wake up like geese fresh from their eggs the next day needing an mp3 player telling them, “Breathe in… breathe out.”

    (Note: I’m serious. I do onsite and remote support, both, and computer users really are that stupid.)

  46. Watts Says:

    I own Apple hardware and run OS X on it, and I can’t help but think I’d be able to come up with better ads than these for Windows. I don’t hate Windows; in many ways it’s a fine operating system. I’ve just found OS X better for my purposes, on several levels.

    It does seem to me that Microsoft is essentially targeting, well, the kinds of buyers who showed up in this comment thread to write about “crapple fanboys.” I’ve noticed over the years that for all of the talk about crazy Mac zealots, it’s the “anti-Mac” crowd who gets a lot more vicious. I’ve gotten attacked for saying things that are, well, about as partisan as what I wrote in the first paragraph (“Windows is fine, I just like OS X better”), and even for merely saying, “Well, I’m a Mac owner.” There’s apparently a subset of PC users who feel personally insulted just by the fact that I bought The Other System.

    And talking to Dan Lyons, Microsoft’s brand manager was revealed as one of those “Apple personally insults me” users. Obviously, it’s his job to think his brand is the best, and that’s okay–but going with the ugliest elements of his user base, the ones who aren’t interested in defending their platform as much as they’re interested in personally attacking people like me for having dared to make a different choice? I’m not sure that’s a winning move.

  47. Eric Martindale Says:

    But the weird thing to me about these ads is this: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision.

    Operating System should be irrelevant to the buying decision of hardware. This isn’t the 80s, it isn’t Mac vs. PC anymore – don’t let a corporation define your vocabulary; an Apple Mac is as much of a personal computer as a Hewlett-Packard Pavillion is, especially when the OS is virtually interchangeable (or at least, we’re getting there).

    Ballmer had things right when he said you’re paying $500 for the Apple logo alone – but he missed the fact that you’re paying $500 for the Windows logo, too. Apple sells Mac OS X just as certainly as Windows sells (and sues for) license fees for its own Windows OS.

    There would be absolutely nothing wrong with viewing the OS as a separate purchase from the computer, especially if the retailers would allow us to pick and choose any operating system (at cost) when we buy a computer. After all, what right does a hardware manufacturer have to determine what software we install on devices we purchase?

  48. Carl, Windsor Says:

    It had become uncool, embarrassing even, to own a Windows PC. Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads really drove this home. Theses latest MS ads and the previous “I’m a PC” campaign have helped, imo, to make it okay again to buy a Windows PC.

  49. s g Says:

    The biggest reason to buy an Mac for me is the walk-in technical support I get with Pro-Care at the Apple Store. It is not the only reason, but the biggest one.

  50. Volum Says:

    They’re more expensive for a reason.

    Jaguar and Porsche don’t care that Ford and Toyota outsell them, because that’s not their market. They make hi-end cars that are sexy and drive very fast. Apple makes products that are sexy and crazily intuitive.

    Apple’s market and the price of their shares are what’s important to them, and on those fronts, everything is gravy.

    These ads are meaningless.

  51. tipswindows Says:

    Thanks for taking the time to explain this in a way thats so easy to understand.

  52. jibran Says:

    It has been seen for a couple of years that liver disease is spreading a lot.I think the main thing is the level of fats increases inside the body which will effect the lever. العاب اطفال

29 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Microsoft makes yet another HP commercial » VentureBeat Says:

    [...] Technologizer’s Harry McCracken says it well: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision. That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs. [...]

  2. Technic News » Microsoft makes yet another HP commercial Says:

    [...] Technologizer’s Harry McCracken says it well: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision. That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs. [...]

  3. All these social media experts and no-one gets the Microsoft ads Says:

    [...] Harry McCracken – Technologizer [...]

  4. RyanSpoon.com » Microsoft’s Latest Laptop Hunter, Giampaolo Says:

    [...] at Technologizer, 9to5Mac and [...]

  5. Microsoft makes yet another HP commercial — GuidesToo.com Says:

    [...] Technologizer’s Harry McCracken says it well: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision. That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs. [...]

  6. StevieB’s Shared Items - April 5, 2009 at Lost in Cyberspace Says:

    [...] Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores WindowsApril 4, 2009 [...]

  7. Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows - Operating Systems - TechEnclave Says:

    [...] Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows Tired of all the banter about Lauren, the lady who spurned the 17-inch MacBook Pro for an HP laptop? Meet Giampaolo, the newest protagonist in Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” ad campaign for Windows: The format of the commercial is the same as the “Lauren” one–Microsoft tells Giampaolo that if he finds a laptop that meets his needs, it will pay for it. He wants something with portability, battery life, and power, and brags about his “technical savvy.” He comes across a MacBook and says it’s “so sexy” but then dismisses Macs as being about aesthetics, and says he doesn’t want to pay for a brand. (He may have been chatting with Steve Ballmer, who recently advanced the similar theory that there’s a $500 price premium for Macs based on the logo alone.) Ultimately, like Lauren, he decides on an HP–the HDX X16, which sells for $1099. I’m not sure if HP should be happy that both of Microsoft’s laptop hunters end up choosing its wares, or ticked off that Giampaolo, especially, seems to be implying that HP computers aren’t as aesthetically pleasing as Macs, and the HP brand isn’t something that people value enough to pay extra for. …. Microsoft is a big and succesful company as we’ve been hearing. But this is LAME, isnt it? [...]

  8. Trade Jim News » Blog Archive » Is the Apple press falling into Microsoft’s trap? Says:

    [...] Technologizer, Harry McCracken points out that Microsoft has cleverly left itself out of the ads. “They [...]

  9. Apple 2.0 » Blog Archive » Is the Apple press falling into Microsoft’s trap? Says:

    [...] Technologizer, Harry McCracken points out that Microsoft has cleverly left itself out of the ads. “They [...]

  10. Microsoft verschweigt Windows « 11k2 Says:

    [...] technologizer via [...]

  11. [TechBlogWatch] Best of Blogs für den 5. April 2009 | TechFieber | Hot Gadget Blog. Smart Tech News. Says:

    [...] Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows [...]

  12. HORIWOOD GUEST COMMENTARY: PHILIP ELMER DEWITT - IS APPLE GETTING CORNERED IN THE MICROSOFT TRAP? « Horiwood’s Blog Says:

    [...] In Technologizer, Harry McCracken points out that Microsoft has cleverly left itself out of the ads. “They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point,” he writes. “That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs.” (link) [...]

  13. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    [...] Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows Tired of all the banter about Lauren, the lady who spurned the 17-inch MacBook Pro for an HP laptop? Meet Giampaolo, [...] [...]

  14. Microsoft makes yet another HP commercial Says:

    [...] Technologizer’s Harry McCracken says it well: They never mention Windows or argue that the presence of Windows on a computer is a selling point. Instead, they treat the OS as being pretty much irrelevant to the buying decision. That’s how they can get away with suggesting that the price of Macs is all about wasteful cool factor: If you treat the OS as a boring commodity, you can neatly sidestep addressing how Windows Vista compares to OS X. Whether it’s easier to use or less so; whether it has more annoyances or fewer of them; whether security is a bigger issue or less of one; whether the bundled applications are better or worse. And so on. The questions, in other words, that most sharply define the differences between Windows PCs and Macs. [...]

  15. 0.2 » I’m a Cheaper PC parte seconda Says:

    [...] | Technologizer Condividi questo [...]

  16. ‘I’m A PC’ and Why Steve Jobs is Laughing Uncontrollably ~ Revelations From An Unwashed Brain Says:

    [...] after writing this, and before posting, I read an article by Steve Bass, at Technologizer, who makes some points different than mine, but I agree with them as well – Windows is not [...]

  17. renaissance chambara | Ged Carroll - The media is dying, does PR have cancer? Says:

    [...] recent adverts that show whatever computing needs you have; Microsoft (not Windows) is your evoked set – seems to be a small tentative step to try and push the value back into the [...]

  18. Laptop Hunters: Noch mehr kontroverse Anti-Apple Microsoft TV-Spots « Medienfieber das Medien Blog Says:

    [...] Another Microsoft Ad That Ignores Windows [...]

  19. Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? « REVIEWER [ER] .beta Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  20. Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? « Coolbeans Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  21. Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? | Windows 7 News,Themes,Tips,Downloads Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  22. Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? | Whaza.net Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  23. The Cool Tech Stuff Blog » » Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  24. [WIRED]Microsoft’s ‘Laptop Hunter’ Ads Made on Macs? - Overclock.net - Overclocking.net Says:

    [...] space of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. Yup, those are Macs, too. That could suggest the advertisements bashing Mac computers and users were themselves created on Macs. We’re not judging: Since when are ad [...]

  25. Sixteen Random Questions Prompted by Apple’s WWDC Keynote | Technologizer Says:

    [...] 4. Will the Mac price cuts change anyone’s opinion of the basic value of Macs? Apple didn’t introduce a “cheap Mac,” but it did upgrade the specs on most of the current line, and slashed prices by hundreds of dollars. My guess: Even though Mac pricing is not unreasonable compared  to Windows PCs with comparable stuff inside, you won’t see Microsoft declare a truce and stop snarking at Macs and Mac users in Windows ads. [...]

  26. Microsoft Tweaks Ad after Apple Complains | Computer Laptop News & Reviews Says:

    [...] the decision to buy a PC instead of a Mac, but have received some criticism over the fact the ads never mention Windows or Microsoft by [...]

  27. talbog.com » Blog Archive » microsofts-new-windows-ads-theyre-a-trap-bwahaha Says:

    [...] Now Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt, in a post titled “Is the Apple press falling into Microsoft’s trap?“, is wondering whether I’ve been duped by Redmond. He notes a story by Newsweek’s Dan Lyons that says that Microsoft hoped to inspire “ugly attacks by Mac fanboys” with the ads. I know that Elmer-DeWitt has me in mind, because…well he quotes my post about the “Giampaolo” ad that debuted yesterday. [...]

  28. memoer.net » » Movie Avatar Starring – this-laptop-hunter-isnt-a- Says:

    [...] Anyhow, I don’t know if anyone involved with Apple’s advertising thinks that the Laptop Hunters spots are having an impact and needed a response, or whether the company just thought it would be fun to parody the Microsoft commercials. Either way, Microsoft’s surprising decision to embrace Apple’s “I’m a PC” and to compare PCs and Macs in its ads is having an impact. Even if its ads&#8217,Movie Avatar Starring; comparisons are pretty specious. [...]

  29. Microsoft’s Latest PC-Mac Comparison is…Almost Reasonable Says:

    [...] to “a range of price points,” but that’s it. It’s a radical departure from last year’s “Laptop Hunters” TV commercials, which mostly focused on the fact that you can buy a Windows PC with more RAM and hard-drive space [...]

Comment on This Story