Sunday, March 29, 2009

Microsoft’s new ad hits Mac’s weak spot

So, this is where Microsoft Steve Ballmer was heading when he said Apple users are paying $500 extra for a fruit logo on their machine.

You must’ve at least seen the new ‘anti-Mac’ ad from Microsoft, either you saw it on tv or from YouTube. It is mostly the talked about topic even as I’m writing this blog, which has stirred up so many buzz around the net, especially at Apple camps all over the blogosphere. Steve Ballmer must be full of himself at this moment. ~LOL~

After a couple of confusing ads starring Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld, the $300 million worth campaign to rehabilitate the Windows brand started as a huge failure. But the motion began to kick in when Microsoft used average-common people to celebrities in the “I’m a PC” ads, from a 4-year-old cutie named Kylie to self-help guru Deepak Chopra. And this new ad is also starring an ordinary but real person, not to mention a cute gal: Lauren.

But before I continue discussing about the ad, surely you noticed that I deliberately wrote "Microsoft's ad” at the title above, instead of "Windows ad." The reason is quite simple, that's because like the aforementioned new ad's title itself which says: "Laptop Hunter $1000," it is actually talking about getting a laptop priced under $1000. And it's not talking about buying a Windows-based laptop or a Mac OS-powered laptop, but it is focusing on the hardware. I’ll explain later, just bear a little with me for awhile.

Let’s get to know a bit about the star of the ad first and what’s it all about, alrite? Lauren, is a red-haired recent college grad who become an office manager and actress. But perhaps the most honest description of her is like what Engadget said: Lauren's a little funky, a little folksy… She was looking for a speedy laptop with a 17-inch screen and a "comfortable" keyboard, all for less than $1,000. At first she made a stop at an Apple Store, the scene quickly jumps to her getting back in the car empty-handed and explains that the only laptop in her price range only has a 13-inch screen.

Then Lauren says: "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person."

She ends up at Best Buy, buying a 17-inch Hp Pavilion Windows-based notebook for $699 with a smile on her face. But she was even more ecstatic when the camera crew told her she’ll be a star in a Microsoft’s ad. Microsoft said there was "screaming, yelling, jumping up and down, high fives, thumbs up."

Microsoft says they picked up 10 people who answered a call for volunteers on Craigslist and other websites, accompanied with a camera crew and budgets ranging from $700 to $2,000, the volunteers will be allowed to keep the laptop that fit in their criteria. And if Lauren’s story is not shocking for you, then how about this: while some of the volunteers might have been able to find an Apple computer that fit the budget, Microsoft said none of them picked a Mac!

After the ad aired and the news about it spread on the net, the mouth brawls broke out almost at every article or blog posts that cover the ad. They all come down to an old battle between Apple fans and Windows loyalists, where both of them defending their honor from each other’s attack. It is a bloody pit of bad mouthful arguments, it is ugly, and it is endless. You get the idea.

But poor Lauren, at the end of the day she also became a target of those awful commenters. Like this one who posted at Gizmodo: "I don't care if that broke b*tch can't afford a Mac. I would love to see a study where you give a couple people $2500 and see which laptop they buy." That may be right, if someone has more money to spend then a Mac could be on the top of the list, it would be the contrary if you’re broke. Although at the same time admits that a Mac is indeed pricier than a PC, and that is Mac’s weak spot against PC.

Other than that, I need not to say more. Apple users can argue with plenty of reason on why a Mac costs more than a PC, like many additional user-friendly features offered in every Mac OS X which make users able to run it about 10 minutes after came out of the box. And a Mac is still considered safer than Windows because there simply isn't much malware out there thus the odds of something targeting it is so low, even though if an attacker cared to target them it would be easier for them; as said by Charlie Miller the security expert who took over a MacBook through Safari in 10 seconds at the Pwn2Own hacking competition.

If we’re to put the experience from using a Mac into the math, then it won’t take 10 hours, or 10 days or even 10 minutes for a typical geek to choose the more friendly system: the Mac. Windows Vista is not attracting much of success like XP does, Microsoft know this and waited for the Windows 7 before starts taking the OS battle head-to-head with Mac OS X. Speaking of user experience on Windows, I happened to had another system failure of Windows XP running on a new HDD. Yup, I’m a PC, but even now I begin to think about switching to Mac… ;-p

Ingenously, Microsoft tries to avoid mentioning about the Mac OS in the new ad and concentrate the price compared with the same specifications of the hardware. Like I said before above, the ad is not talking about the OS. But even so, we can’t negate or dismiss the fact that Apple has put a lot of efforts in designing the Macs, especially with the new aluminum ‘unibody’ technology used to construct the latest Mac line-ups. To rest down the case; they (PCs and Macs) are not the same piece of hardware at the first place.

But the funniest part comes last; what will happen if Lauren is given a Mac right now so she can compare herself which one is better? Which one do you think she’ll choose? And that’s what Mitch Gewirtz from Michigan wanted to find out by giving his 17-inch G4 PowerBook to Lauren as a free gift, take a visit to Gizmodo page to read Mitch’s letter. Me, personally, I’d love to see how the love connection end. Hopefully Lauren is 100% real person, not some kind of paid actors, so she will answer Mitch’s generosity. And that would be a thrill to see… ~LOL~

For the last note; if Microsoft is able to create such buzzes even coming out from Apple users with this kinda ad, then the software giant has achieved their first intention of making the ads: to make people talk about Windows again. What will happen next? Be sure to wait for Apple to strikes back with another genuine “Get a Mac” ads cause things are just heating up and get interesting…

Sources are from:

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