written about this before, and I don’t mean to harp, but to me the most interesting thing about the new Windows ad campaign is not that it costars Jerry Seinfeld, but that it costars Bill Gates. It was only slightly over two months ago that Gates retired from Microsoft with a barrage of nostalgic fanfare. I kind of thought that his departure would initiate a changing of the guard that would involve him stepping back as the public face of the company after thirty-three years.
It wasn’t that I thought we’d never see him represent Microsoft again…just that he might take a breather and let Steve Ballmer, Ray Ozzie, or other execs step into the spotlight, as it were. They may not represent a fresh new face for Microsoft, but they’re the guys who are responsible for the company’s present and future. (Gates may be unshakably synonymous with Microsoft, but he also represents its past.)
So when the news about Seinfeld/Gates broke, my first thought was this: What if the ads had costarred Seinfeld and Steve Ballmer? It wasn’t such a crazy thought–the man is, after all, the CEO of the company, and he’s anything but shy and retiring. And then it hit me: Thanks to the miracle of modern video technology, I didn’t have to wonder about Seinfeld/Ballmer Windows commercials. With enough painstaking effort, I could create a reconstruction that would reveal with uncanny precision what such ads would have looked and sounded like.