Microsoft’s best anti-Apple ad yet

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-US&#038;playlist=videoByUuids:uuids:0bb6a07c-c829-4562-8375-49e6693810c7&#038;showPlaylist=true&#038;from=shared" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

This ad establishes two points very well. Firstly, Microsoft accepts that its product, and those of its partners, are perceived as being of lower quality than Apple’s. Secondly, it knows how to use this perception to establish itself as the more reasonable choice for everyday people who don’t need top-quality products, but who do have a strong idea of what they need.

Mike Arrington admires the line, “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person,” but that’s not the smartest part of the ad. That would be how its scenario takes characteristics associated with unsophisticated shoppers and presents them as evidence of pragmatism and a go-getter nature: unplanned and un-researched major purchases made under a manufactured sense of pressure, with up-front price rather than long-term goals in mind.

Microsoft’s accompanying website is deliciously Apple-esque. [via Steve Clayton]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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110 Responses to Microsoft’s best anti-Apple ad yet

  1. The Lizardman says:

    Whose perceptions are you talking about? I will certainly agree that there is practical aspect to going after a budget minded market, and MS certainly has an advantage here since hardware options not available via apple can make for for a variety of far cheaper windows machines (then, of course, there is linux and other even cheaper routes) . However, the hardware options also mean that truly top end machines are almost always windows as well because while apple does not offer the low end, they also fall short of the high end. Apple machines exist in a sort of upper middle or lower upper level at best. What MS needs to combat is the people with budget to mid level machines coveting apple products.

  2. Cory Doctorow says:

    Mark Shuttleworth needs to sponsor a version of this ad in which people buy notebooks, get a rebate for the MS OS, install Ubuntu and save even more money!

  3. Chris Tucker says:

    The Botnet International Anthem

    Botnets. Worldwide Botnets.
    What kind of boxes are on botnets?

    Compaq, HP, Dell & Sony, true!
    Gateway, Packard Bell, maybe even ASUS, too.

    Are boxes. Found on botnets.
    All running Windows. FOO!

    Why, yes, I AM a smug bastard running Mac OS X.
    Thanks for asking!

  4. error404 says:

    Yes the VW comments foxed me too at first.

    But I guessed that VW occupied a similar position to the one they have in Australia, a bit of a boutique exclusive vibe.

    I remember a producer I worked with in Oz, swanking about in his brand new Golf only to be cut off by a German colleague saying “it is a very nice car, my granny has one too.”

  5. jasonfox says:

    It’s funny how stereotypically Mac they tried to make her. I especially liked how they let you see that she was driving a VW when she said she was not cool enough to be a mac user.

  6. Kyle Armbruster says:

    I used Macs in the 90s, but switched–angrily–to Windows PCs in 1999. I was sick to death of paying so much for such miserable specs, and for having to build a separate Windows machine to play games with my friends anyway. Eventually, I just started doing my work on Windows as well. Mac users: what a bunch of chumps.

    Then Vista came out.

    I was looking for a new laptop, and I went down to the local computer store to just see what was out there (no intention of buying at the store). I was mortified by what I saw. Vista was everything I had ever disliked about Windows amplified, and everything I liked buried. I couldn’t find things. It was ugly. It had those damned baloon things popping up. Every laptop was infected with a bunch of adware and trial copies of crappy software no one has ever heard of. I looked at them and saw my first week of ownership: Wiping the hard drive, installing XP from scratch, hunting down drivers, installing software, screwing something up along the way and deciding I wasn’t in so far as to preclude starting over, starting over…

    Then, by chance, I looked at a MacBook. The Desktop was clean. It was blue, for crying out loud. It had an understated white bar (this was 10.4) on the top with menu names I remembered all too well from almost 10 years previous. I started poking around. No messages popping up. I found that I could do everything I wanted on it right away because they hadn’t changed the UI in random, pointless ways with every iteration to convince people to upgrade. The last MacOS I’d used was 8.5, but I found 10.4 immediately usable. I tapped the trackpad with two fingers and got a contextual menu (one of the oldest fallacies about Macs has been about the supposedly non-existent contextual menus–they’ve been there for over 10 years). I dragged two fingers across the trackpad to scroll in any direction.

    I fired up the iLife applications and found them usable and adequately powerful for the basic things I wanted to do.

    Was this really happening to me? Was I being drawn to a Mac?

    Finally I decided to buy one. Hell, I could run Boot Camp if I hated it.

    It arrived and I set up Boot Camp right away. I also installed the beta of VMware Fusion to see what that was like. I took it on a month-long trip during which I’d need to do some work in Windows.

    I found that I preferred working in the MacOS and just using my Windows programs via Fusion.

    Drag-and-drop installation of software.

    No registry to become more and more bloated, requiring me to reinstall the OS every 6 months.

    No antivirus or antimalware software necessary.

    Firefox worked exactly the same.

    Keynote made Powerpoint feel like hewing a slide presentation out of concrete with a rusty pair of hedge clippers.

    Spotlight.

    The OS only talks to me when something goes wrong, not when it goes right.

    My Firewire audio recording interface worked right away on my laptop with no latency and no fiddling or troubleshooting (I never got any recording done in Windows because it seemed that every time I fired up the software, I had to set it all up again).

    Uninstalling software is dragging it to the Trash.

    In addition to lots of great MacOS software, you can also run many *NIX tools. Anything else in virtual machines. There is basically nothing I can’t run.

    Nine months after buying an experimental Mac laptop, I sold my big home computer and bought a Mac Pro. It was ungodly expensive, but I have had exactly no problems with it. None. I don’t even think about it. It… (I can’t believe I’m going to say this) It Just Works.

    I actually am a technical person. I’ve worked at both Apple and HP, and been the sysadmin for a couple Windows networks at a couple different jobs (one of which was actually run on a Samba server, which I built). But what I’ve found is that the time I save in not screwing around with things not quite working right is absolutely worth the extra scratch. The peace of mind knowing that if I install a piece of software and don’t like it, I can just uninstall it and it’s gone. I didn’t just take a few weeks off my OS install’s useful life before it needs another reinstall.

    Finally, let me just argue nuts and bolts.

    You don’t compare Apple laptops to HP. HP makes garbage. Compare Apple laptops to someone who actually does a good job, like Lenovo. When you do that, you see that they are awfully comparable. If that 17″ laptop is $700, I’d be very wary of buying it, knowing, as I do, what things like TFT displays cost. That laptop is a total piece of junk.

    Don’t judge things by the spec sheet, folks. It is never a really fair metric. This is why both Intel and AMD got out of the MHz game. Numbers don’t always represent experiential truth.

  7. remmelt says:

    dculberson, I know. I also know I shouldn’t have commented in this thread. In retrospect, I wish I had just posted like #39.

  8. kyderdog says:

    Computers are not cool! What you do with them is!
    I use Ubuntu…

    That Says it all…

  9. Rob Beschizza says:

    Exactly, Jasonfix. That’s what informs the perceptions Lizardman questions: where does she head first when she has to buy a laptop? This is why the “I’m not cool enough” line is a clever misdirection: she knows she’s cool enough for a mac, because that’s what she wanted to buy!

    The facts (as the story portrays) educate her, and what makes the ad so great is how it portrays an obvious “mac person” shopping for a computer the way people shop for plasma televisions at Wal-Mart on Black Thursday.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hmm. SteveJobsisGod claims “of coarse” he is smarter and the gal in the ad must be “a unintelligent moron.” I know grammar wizness does not define intelligence, but I’d bet the PC gal would’ve written “of course” and “an unintelligent…” If you’re claiming greater smarts, writing intelligently might be a good thing to do.

  11. Rob Beschizza says:

    Cory, that would be fantastic. I’m almost tempted to go out and shoot it. Needed: one red-haired young lady!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Did Lauren enter the Mac Store at all?

    When she is entering the store there is a man in spectacles, in a brown jacket, striped tee and jeans (BJJ)whom she walks past, and the next second when she is out of the store after having checked the mac line up, our BJJ is probably moved another 10 feet ahead.

    Oh come on… the ‘CAMERA 2′ could’ve at least waited for a few more seconds before it rolled again. It just kills the whole testimonial ad for me, making it sound like a lie, and you probably briefed Lauren about the $1000 Mac while she was in the car, then told her walk up and walk out. CUT.

    Good Commercial. Bad Lie.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I too can’t stand OS-bickering. If an app I really wanted to use was only available on another OS, I would dual- or triple-boot. But since there is a Windows good-enough app for everything, I don’t bother. Also, I play a lot of games.

    I don’t think Windows is “better” as a base platform, just has more variety of software.

  14. wrybread says:

    Whoever said Apples are cooler? They’re just better for most users. I don’t own a Mac, but when it comes to getting a computer for my mother or someone else who doesn’t want to futz to get things working well, its Mac all the way.

    And what’s with all this “apple owners drink fancy coffee drinks and wear berets”? Where does that even come from? And how is that a criticism of a computer?

  15. adamcreen says:

    Help me out here guys … several of you have said that you know she’s cool because she drives a VW. Is this a US thing? Nobody in Britain thinks “Hey, look at her, she’s driving a Polo (or Golf, or whatever), she’s cutting-edge!”

    The only VW in Britain that could conceivable turn heads is the Beetle, which at £12000+ ($17000+) is not the sort of car you buy if you can’t afford a laptop over $1000.

    $1000 is such an arbitrary value to provide a cut-off at anyway. In Britain £700 isn’t seen as the critical affordability level.

    And yes, she’s very cute.

  16. mortis says:

    FACT: Apple hardware is expensive as all get-out.

    FACT: You can buy a Windows PC (any brand) for cheaper.

    not sure what the big deal about the ad is? did it knock the beret off a few heads as they were enjoying their double-skinny-halfcaff while tweeting their latest update 2.0?!

  17. Gus says:

    Mac Buyers are smarter than pc users LOL. Right tell that to all the corporate individuals around the world. Macs are for consumers that are really computer illiterate and dont know how to move on a computer they need gadgets and the system to do everything for them.

  18. Francesco Fondi says:

    @ Rob “But can you get Woz to sign her?” I can’t stop laughing!!!

  19. kshusker says:

    So if she wants to save money, why would she pay the Microsoft tax? Ubuntu would be a much better choice?

    It is a joke for Microsoft to talk about price when they charge several hundred dollars for their mediocre OS (and yes, I know bundled it is much cheaper, but still, if we’re comparison OSes here, which we are, then Linux is the cheapest, followed by MacOS, and MS Windows is most expensive)

  20. GeekMan says:

    Rob: You just love stoking the fires, don’cha?

  21. agraham999 says:

    I just find it amazing that MS is deflecting the crappiness of their OS by attracting attention to the “if you are cheap, we’re the company for you,” argument. Seems silly.

    You don’t see McDonalds doing ads against In and Out where McDonalds says…

    For $5 you could get 5 burgers here. At In and Out you can only buy 2.

    Or Taco Bell doing ads against Chipotle. Two different markets.

    Seriously…if this is MS new offensive attacking a company with barely a blip of market share in comparison…they obviously have no good news on the horizon. I’d be leaving Windows in droves at this point.

    BTW…I find it funny that Dell is actually trying to mimic Apple’s strategy by releasing higher end hardware to compete…because of course there isn’t any real money in making crappy $700 computers.

    MS is not going to pull Mac users away from Apple…so who are they trying to reach? Cheap Windows users? They already have those.

  22. zeta says:

    @ 80: VW never really entered the american market. They made a few halfhearted attempts, but nothing compared to their position in europe or south america. Actually, this is one of the reasons why they are doing quite well in the current crisis.

  23. Anonymous says:

    “#4 posted by Cory Doctorow , March 26, 2009 5:26 PM

    Mark Shuttleworth needs to sponsor a version of this ad in which people buy notebooks, get a rebate for the MS OS, install Ubuntu and save even more money!”

    I clicked the COMMENT link specifically to say this. Now I think I have a man-crush on Cory…

  24. agraham999 says:

    BTW…I’m not saying Windows users are cheap…I’m just saying that this strategy seems to be targeted towards a “cheap” demographic instead of stressing value and better user experience.

  25. RyonRyon says:

    #87: yer absotively right. I don’t give a good gorram what system I use, so long as it DOES WHAT I TELL IT TO AND WHEN I TELL IT TO DO IT. All the other stuff is fluff on top: either system has plenty of piddly things to piss me off (try resizing a mac window) and things I like. Mac used to be more reliable, but I’d say XP is pretty stable for what I do so IMHO apple needs to up thier game if they want me to don my beret, turtleneck and snooty sniffle under thier flag again (grew up mac: from the IIe reprezent).

    And linux? please, I drive the car, I ain’t the mechanic.

    I AM looking to buy a computer now, and y’know what? I’d probably buy a mac, but I can’t afford it. I’m not a mac. Im not a PC. I’m a HAPPY MUTANT!!

  26. Auto Parts for Brains says:

    I think this ad is telling us that Apples are realy cool and people will generally lean towards buying them except that they are really overpriced. Then it tells us that one can get more bang for his or her buck with a PC. I like Macs but would rather get a gaming level notebook than Macbook of the same price.

    I appreciate how Macs provide the average Schmo who is too dumb to get to know his or her computer an opportunity to enjoy laptops, though. Its a win win actually, because with that decreased capacity comes blind zealotry towards their brand. More buck for them. :)

  27. mgfarrelly says:

    Anyone else notice that she gets her computer for free? I’ll take a free PC, sure why not.

    But I’m buying a Mac.

  28. The Lizardman says:

    @9 KSHUSKER, considering that for most users MacOS is only going to happen by buying an apple machine it is unfair to say it is cheaper than Windows since you can get a a machine running windows for far cheaper than an apple. If you build your own you can even get that machine with superior hardware and still come out well ahead of the cost of an apple machine.

  29. eroosey says:

    What I want to know is why she didn’t upgrade that baby and spend the whole $1000?? Spending $699 when you have $1000 of free money, wtf?

  30. Anonymous says:

    I’m an Apple user (although not a full on “fanboy”) and love this ad. Hit Apple where it will benefit me- shame them on price. There is precious little that MS can do to get me back in their fold, but if they can hound Apple into lowering prices, it’s a win-win.

  31. dculberson says:

    Remmelt, I know what you mean, I’ve been there.. hey wait, I think I am there?!

    Instead, let’s discuss the need for and relative advantages of the interrobang versus the crude sequential juxtaposition of a question mark and exclamation mark. Thoughts?

  32. dculberson says:

    P.s. I hadn’t even watched the video yet. Holy crap, Spazzm is right. She is cute.

  33. spazzm says:

    Anything that puts more cute geek girls on TV is ok by me.

    The whole “OSX vs. Windows” brouhaha reminds me of “coke vs. pepsi”.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I have little time for the histrionics of the OS wars, but I find this curiously interesting in light of other things coming from MS’s marketing department. It would seem that they are actually worried about people switching to Macs now. (I know – risible, yes? Gods forbid MS’s market share drop below 50%).

    Last week I participated in an online user study conducted by a marketing research company. The subject was a recent ad campaign for Microsoft – the one with winsome children and old folks doing amazing, media-rich things on their Vista PCs that they can then share with their loved ones. (Awww…) And the gist of all these was, “I can do all this neat stuff so easily with my PC. It’s Mac easy! And I’m not even cool, which makes it even better!” It’s a message that probably resonates with a lot of people who find Mac hipsterism alienating on a purely cultural level. (The “easy user experience” poses certain cognitive dissonance that anyone who has actually used PCs will experience in viewing these ads, though.)

    I also saw the “spin for value” ad over at the NYTimes.com. It’s not half bad at highlighting how horrific the Mac tax can be. On the other hand, when the Apple side shows a laptop, a rubber band, and some lint, the MS side shows a MS machine, a Zune, and some other useless MS product I would never want.

    The pitch is predicated not on quality or “value for $1500″ but rather quantity, “you have to spend $1500 on MS product.” Not so effective in the current zeitgeist. If they were clever, they would have pushed the value position and showed the MS option as something practical like, “a laptop, a tank of gas, and a new dishwasher”. Or taken the emotional route, with “a laptop, a camping trip with the family, and a page on MSLive so house-bound-but-PC-using gramma can enjoy it, too.”

    Of course, clever is something MS makes a point of not being. They probably circulated a memo about it’s not being part of their “brand DNA.”

  35. Rob Beschizza says:

    It’s not like I’m trying particularly hard.

  36. w000t says:

    Seconds of searching based on the $699.99 “HP Pavilion,” at Best Buy suggests she got a dv7-1245dx. 2 seconds of additional searching suggests that it is “Linux Friendly”. Thanks again, MS!

    P.S. She might be a bit too cool for the earth-tone Ubuntu. Maybe she should run Mint?

    #12 eroosey – wtf, indeed. Maybe her MS sugar daddies charged her for MS Office?

  37. rnadworny says:

    It’s a pretty good ad. But Apple is still manhandling Microsoft when it comes to online.

    See how
    http://digitalstrategy.typepad.com/digital_strategy/2009/03/mac-vs-pc-online.html

  38. blip says:

    Just wait for the fuss when we find out that IRL she uses a Mac…

    Stevejobsisgod – keep practicing that ironic trolling, and try and post in the correct thread. K thx!

  39. arikol says:

    I know the argument is tired, but Apple puts more effort into making the user experience pleasant than MS. They also started making Human Interface Guidelines for their stuff around the time of the original Mac.
    That is their focus. (well, the focus is on making money, but they realized a long time ago that profit and quality are not mutually exclusive)

    Microsoft has never focused on simple usability and have completely lost sight of customers needs.

    I mean, more and more users use laptop computers and the primary application that most people use for work is a word processor. A laptop generally sits too low for comfortable use so a user must look down. MS decides that a massive ribbon selector tool across the top of the window in Word is the way to go, forcing your work to the bottom of the screen. This is at a time when most screens have been adding width, not height (widescreen). They completely missed the point that for all laptop users and quite a few desktop users this clever new interface bit is negative for long term working conditions.

    Apple decided that the width of the screen should be used so their program suite (iWork) has a floating palette called Inspector which does almost everything that the ribbon AND most of the drop down menus in Word do.
    They focus (more) on what the user will want to do and need to do.

    So they gain marketshare, even while selling hardware that does not match price with PCs feature for feature.

    I was a PC technician. I switched because I couldn’t be bothered with doing the same maintenance at home as at work. Last week I did my early malware scan and first filesystem check in two years (no problems found).
    That is why I am willing to buy a Mac. Compare that to windows constant fixing or Linuxs driver issues (building drivers from source, YAY) and lack of professional quality programs (in audio and graphics).
    yup, cheaper overall, if you value your time at all.

  40. Rob Beschizza says:

    “Who’d a thunk such an innocuous posting would get what must be the most comments ever posted on a BB Gadgets post…”

    Not even close…

  41. stratosfyr says:

    I personally just really like HPs. This wouldn’t have been nearly as convincing if she’d settled on a Gateway.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I hate it how people get all pissed off at Microsoft ads making fun of Apple.

    DO APPLE PEOPLE NOT REALIZE THAT IS ALL THAT APPLE DOES?!?!

    Almost all the Apple ads just make fun of Microsoft and bearly talk about Apple.

    Oh, and btw, I am an Apple employee that owns and ABSOLUTELY LOVES both PC and Mac. I just hate hypocrisy.

  43. wrybread says:

    @1: I know you’re just trolling, but why is it that every time someone tries to lampoon Mac users, they can’t write or spell? Seriously, if English is your first language, you need to go back to school.

    And parenthetically, if you in any way represent Windows, then you’re the best argument I’ve yet encountered for switching to Mac.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Ed over at insanelymac.com raises a good point. Obvious, yet it didn’t occur to me when I watched the ad above.

    It’s a laptop ad. For hardware. Essentially, an ad for a product the sponsor doesn’t make or sell.

    Kind of like if Delco started making ads extolling the price-point virtues of a Ford Focus over a VW GTI.

  45. wrybread says:

    What this thread needs is for someone to mention Nazis, thus ending this whole inane discussion. Whoops I just did! You’re welcome!

  46. wrybread says:

    And interestingly, “stevejobsisgod” aka @1 posted the same meandering anti iphone screed on two separate boingboing postings… Could we have an astroturfer in our midst? Or is he just really adamant about grinding that axe?

    http://dynamic.boingboing.net/profile/Stevejobsisgod

  47. Anonymous says:

    “We all know that people who buy from apple are far smarter than the average consumer.”

    LOL! Actually we all know the reverse! People buying from apple have absolutely no idea bout how things work and know nothing about technology except shiny eye-candy Apple-style teenage-die-for designs!

  48. jamesey says:

    She’s cute. There’s no way she is on the internet.

  49. url404 says:

    I know I have always felt I’m not cool enough for Apple products and I am not creative enough to use words like “mash up” and “web 2.0″ in everyday parlance while remixing my iPhoto with my iLife and generally not be smarmy and judgemental enough.
    Also I sometimes feel like a 2nd class citizen in a few on-line communities because I like to tweak and fiddle with Windows PC’s.

  50. wrybread says:

    I’m thinking URL404 is Stevejobisgod with spellcheck….

    The only thing that’s throwing me off is the absence of a line break between the paragraphs. Even Stevejobsisgod knew to put a little whitespace in his iphone rant.

    Hmm.

  51. spazzm says:

    P.S. She might be a bit too cool for the earth-tone Ubuntu. Maybe she should run Mint?

    Oooh, me likey.

  52. url404 says:

    I assure you I am not Stevejobisgod.

    My apologies for harming your eyes.

    I sometimes wonder if you don’t hear as much from the pro Windows crowd because we are usually drowned out by the Apple/*nix people.

    Having said that, I am slightly concerned about assigning your personality to the piece of software you choose to use (and let me clarify, I am guilty of it as well as my above post shows).

    Better now?

  53. agraham999 says:

    I think Dan Gruber of Daring Fireball says it best:

    http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/165113.asp

    Odd new Microsoft commercial, which purports to show a real person named Lauren trying to find a new 17-inch laptop for under $1000. She goes into “the Mac store” and comes out disappointed, because — and this is true — the only sub-$1000 laptop comes with a 13-inch display. But then she says, “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.” One can only assume that it’s intended as an anti-elitist insult, but the bottom line is that Microsoft is explicitly reinforcing the idea that Macs are cool, which strikes me as a very odd tactic. The theme of the commercial seems to be “PCs: Computers for Losers”.

    But here’s my favorite part from Andrea James’s report on the ad campaign for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    Lauren is, apparently, a “real” person and not an actress. She works as an office manager but is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild.

    I’m sure all sorts of people who aren’t actors are members of the Screen Actors Guild. Some people join unions just for fun. UPDATE: AP reporter Jessica Mintz says Lauren is an actress.

    ———-

    I think what’s odd is that they are equating cool with price. She may entirely be cool enough…but apparently she was one of the folks who weren’t given the full $2k that others got.

    I think this is a loser strategy…why is MS going after Apple? You don’t see McDonalds going after In and Out. Why spark the debate over price when it only will bring up the whole…which is better argument…it’s like admitting Macs are better…but they cost more.

  54. Anonymous says:

    It’s my understanding that PCs get more viruses because OSX is not prevalent enough. Were the roles reversed, I believe you would see a lot more malware for Macs.

    Also, as a note against Macs and why I can’t use them. At work I use windows based systems to operate very expensive plasma cutting tables, coil lines, water jets and the associated CAD software(yes CAD comes in OSX flavors, I know, but not for what I do). So, the option of even using a Apple product is not even present.

    I personally believe it is Steve Jobs’ fault that OSX is not more openly developed. It was the problem Apple had before, and seems to still suffer from.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s worthwhile to note that the commenters who repeatedly make the argument that the average consumer should spend more money to get a “better” (read:Apple) product seem to miss the point that many of us don’t have more money to spend.

    A budget is a budget, and windows is attempting to appeal to those who have a budget they need to stick to.

    As far as “[The] scenario takes characteristics associated with unsophisticated shoppers and presents them as evidence of pragmatism and a go-getter nature: unplanned and un-researched major purchases made under a manufactured sense of pressure, with up-front price rather than long-term goals in mind” is also a little needless snark, imho. This is a commercial, not a PSA, so they have no responsibility to instruct the masses on how to properly research a computer, and I’d be willing to bet that- for the average user- finding what you like, within your price range (and not adding to your credit card debt) IS the long-term goal. The commercial shows her doing in person the exact same “research” that shoppers in that segment would do online when looking for a computer- comparing HD space, memory, screen size- etc of one model or another. Since this is a commercial for an OS, not an actual machine- they have little to gain by showing her doing a side-by-side comparison for reliability or hardware. All the arguments about viruses, malware, performance and reliability are red herrings in my experience- I’ve used both and have found workhorses and lemons on both sides. (Then again, I drive a Camry)

  56. MooseDesign says:

    Small nit to pick on the website extension of this campaign. If part of the message is choice and options then a little variety for the Windows Laptop Scout link in the top right would be appropriate. It does the options message no favors that all the laptops appear to be basically the same and all of the desktops have identical settings.

    Good ad, she has nice hair.

    @ Ceronomus: too true… I hadn’t ever really thought about that.

  57. Jack Daniel says:

    Basically this tells me that if she had the dough, she’d be rocking a Macbook Pro.

  58. microcars says:

    I can see this being applied to new car commercials when the Chinese models start hitting our shores.

    “I’ve only got $12,000 to spend on a car and I want leather, climate control and dvd players in the back seats for the kids”

    goes to Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota,….

    “*sigh* they had maybe one thing under $12,000 and it did not have all the options I wanted!”
    I guess America hates me….

    Oh look, a Shanghai Chingabling Store!

    Wow, look at all these cars for under $12,000! and they all have tons of options.
    Here’s one for $6995! Looks just like a BMW X5 too!
    I’ll take it!

  59. Anonymous says:

    But it’s a PC! With Vista! Really, and I know you’ve heard it before, you get what you pay for.

  60. Adam says:

    As a Mac user I have lost some of my enthusiasm for Apple over the past few years because the machines are just getting too expensive. I [b]love[/b] using and maintaining the 60+ Macs I’m responsible for at work, but it is getting harder and harder for regular home users to justify paying the Apple Tax, ’cause, really, Vista’s not that bad. I actually kind of like it and use a dual-core AMD/Vista system at home to hold my music and photos.

    As an example, my mom’s computer was stolen recently so I checked Apple’s sale page for refurb’d Mac Minis. The cheapest was $419 for one with 1 GB of memory (LOL), an 80 GB hard drive and no keyboard, mouse or monitor.

    So I went over to Dell Outlet and got a refurb’d Inspiron 531 with a 2.2 GHz Sempron, 2 GB RAM, 160 GB hard drive, combo drive, Vista Home Premium, keyboard and optical mouse for $199. I threw in a 24″ LCD for me ($229) and the grand total was $459 with tax.

    I thought the single-core processor was going to be a dog, but it actually runs great. It can play HD video better than the dual 1.8 GHz G5 I use at work.

  61. Anonymous says:

    At least Apples ads were creative and funny.
    This one’s just retarded

  62. Anonymous says:

    Strange that MS tries to convince us that the stuff their selling (operating systems) is cheap by letting someone go and look for El Cheapo hardware. If you buy Vista separately it is actually twice as expensive as the retail version of Mac OS X.

    But luckt girl to find a just 17 inch “laptop” and get it for free. Just a shame that this giant computer has a screen with a lower resolution than the much smaller Mac Book pro.

  63. ToMajorTom says:

    Red girl says at the end: “I got just what I wanted.”

    And I say: “You got just what you deserve. When your new PC slows to a crawl and viruses take over your entire hard drive, perhaps the friendly M$ man in the parking lot will be there to hand you another $699.”

    -macfanboy+stevejobsisgod

  64. lava says:

    got just what you wanted, ya! if what you wanted is life in a hell called windows.

  65. Stevejobsisgod says:

    What are you all talking about? I am nobody other than myself I am in no way affiliated with these pinhead Microsoft lovers. Don’t get angry with me simply because I can see that Steve Jobs has created the ultimate end game in technology. I mean there is no need to make any more computers we could stop right now, apple has created perfection.

    Soon it will be no more than other mediocre companies trying to hump the refuse of the monolith of a company that Steve Jobs has created for us all. Eventually his vision will be integrated with all things. I look forward to the day when my Nano is hardwired directly into my brain, don’t have that song, no problems iTunes on the way. No more having to hum to songs in your head when it is already in your head in stereo, why march to the beat of a old tune, when you can walk in the shadow of a new god. Steve forever!!!

    PS. I suppose we should be somewhat thankful for Microsoft, otherwise we would not know who should be our friends or not.

  66. ackpht says:

    I always wonder why if Apples are such hot stuff, they don’t have bigger market share. And I wonder why if Microsoft has such big market share, they persist in jerking their customers around.

    Wait, maybe I answered that second one.

  67. redsquares says:

    OSMind has a lot of viruses, is hard to upgrade, doesn’t always work that well, not to mention it is usually terribly unattractive and unfashionable, but everybody seems to be using it.

    What’s the deal? I guess it’s pretty cheap.

  68. microcars says:

    this appears to be part of a wider campaign.
    The front page of the NY Times used to have Apple ads, now it has a Windows “Spin before you Spend” ad that is like slot machine,
    on the left for $1299 you get a MacBook, a bottle cap and a cotton swap
    on the right, for $1299 you get Dell 15″ laptop, a Digital Camera and …”A Night At The Club” (or other “cool” options)
    Spin the wheel again to get more options with your MacBook like..dirt,packing peanuts, a balloon, a thumbtack, a twig….

    the Windows side gets all kinds of “cool” stuff with a laptop though.
    like an 8GB ZUNE, 365 Lattes, 600 diapers (?) ,Sitter and a Show, Skydiving Lesson, 100 Energy Drinks, Xbox 360,

  69. Lord_Humungous_Head_Veins says:

    This is all a little unsettling. What does it matter what OS people use?

  70. mmbb says:

    @25 Lord_Humungous_Head_Veins; because some people want to go to heaven, and other people don’t mind going to hell.

    If you give me a dollar, I’ll tell you which are going where (and the answer has nothing to do with Mac vs. PC, MSFT vs APPL, or *nix at all).

  71. The Lizardman says:

    @102

    Apple said they were cooler and got many people to believe them. As for:

    “And how is that a criticism of a computer?”

    It has long been established that Apple’s fanboys are probably their single biggest flaw.

  72. ubernym says:

    Warning: I am a breathless mac convert.

    I work part time at an Apple Specialist store. I’m not on the sales floor, but rather am a trainer for one-on-one sessions to help customer use their new Macs better -kind of like the Apple Creatives, only we’re much cooler :).

    I can’t tell you how many times every day that people come in with their broken PC laptop or desktop, ready to buy a Mac because they’re just absolutely fed up with Vista or the fact that they can’t even open Internet Explorer anymore.

    Granted, a tech-savvy person will get along with Windows just fine, and will probably even have a more difficult time switching to a Mac because of their own tech-savvy habits… but the average non-tech person will have a much better experience on a Mac (from what I’ve seen).

    I hated on Mac fors years. Then I got into audio recording and production, and I fought with my awesome 17 inch top-of-the-line (at the time) laptop to work well with my firewire audio interface, and even then I still had major problems. I spent more time tweaking and configuring and rarely got to record.

    Then, on a whim I bought a Mac mini. Spec-wise it was not quite as good as my laptop. I installed Logic Express and the almost immediately started working. Everything I plugged in just worked. No fuss. No latency (this was a big deal for me), no problems. I started creating and stopped tinkering. It was so liberating.

    I now only have one windows machine, which is a company-owned laptop that I use for my other job at a software company. Here’s the kicker: this two years old Dell laptop of mine (which is fully maintained and supported by our IT department, has an Intel dual core processor and 2gb of RAM) performs signicantly WORSE than the seven years old Powerbook G4 (with only a 633mhz processor and 512mb of RAM) that I got for free from a customer.

    Are there really awesome Windows PCs? Sure. Are Macs expensive? You bet. And that matters a lot to a lot of people. And those people buy a new computer every two years. A lot of mac users I know only upgrade every five years, and their experience never wavers.

    They just work, they’re a joy to use, and they don’t slide into entropy after 18 months.

    -Posted from my Dell laptop.

  73. caipirina says:

    did they forget to delete the scene where is is being paid ??? why the heck she is getting $$$ in her hands outside .. that looks just weird …

    and yes .. 699 for a 17″ is nice .. and might be what she wanted .. until she runs out of free crapware and has to invest into something close to iPhoto or iMovie .. and as someone pointed out before .. the virus thing (takes my dad about 6 months after purchase to call a technician to de-louse his new machine … which has not happened on his macbook i made him buy)

    ah well .. there is the light side and the dark side of the force .. the dark side comes much easier …

  74. remmelt says:

    Pfff, again with the PC is cheaper than Mac line.

    Yes, the Mercedes is more expensive than the Honda. And you know, there are cheaper cars out there.
    There’s no talk of total cost of ownership, cost of additional software, build quality.

    Yes, spec for spec a home-built PC is cheaper than a Mac. I’m not going to do the math on this one, but I’m pretty confident you can buy the recent Mac Pro hardware on Newegg and save cash, perhaps even counting OS/software. Still, the Mac Pro has a superior build quality to pretty much any other case I’ve seen. Check out the air flow, the drawers where the disks go, the compartments, etc. Do you NEED this? No. To get from A to B, you can either drive the Honda or the Mercedes.

    I know this is all standard fare and the post isn’t even implicitly disagreeing with me per se, but I just get so sick and tired of all the marketing crap. First it’s we’re cooler than Mac, now it’s we’re not cool enough for a Mac, and that’s cooler than Mac!

    The OS wars are so tired. Can we just let the Windows people be the Windows people, the Mac people be the Mac people and the Linux people be the pimply nerds? Thanks!

  75. wrybread says:

    Who’d a thunk such an innocuous posting would get what must be the most comments ever posted on a BB Gadgets post…

    I’m predominantly a Windows user but I never understand all the venom some Windows users have for Mac users. It’s like Windows users are the ones feeling oppressed now, while it has traditionally been the other way around.

    And anyone calling Apple’s higher price a “tax” must not have sat in front of a new iMac…. Those machines absolutely blow away any PC I’ve ever seen.

  76. Anonymous says:

    A heavily staged piece of advertising does not reflect reality on any level. Please don’t pretend that it does.

  77. Astin says:

    I’m confused. I have a Macbook, and a PC desktop. How cool am I? Sure, until the Macbook, all I had was PCs, and most of them had Windows, except the ones with Debian.

    And how about the Debian Beowulf cluster I built with 486′s? Does that affect my ability buy Mac products?

    Different uses for all of them, but I prefer my PC because it has all my games on it… and the expensive leather chair I bought to put in front of it.

  78. properdom says:

    Computers are not cool! What you do with them is!

    I use Ubuntu all day everyday at work (and occasionally Windows) and for that reason I use a Mac at home. If I didn’t do it this way I’d get serious OS fatigue! Admittedly I could do it the other way around if I wanted and use MacOs at work and Ubuntu at home but it just works out that for me Ubuntu is good for work stuff (programming) and Mac is good for home stuff (organizing music, photos, film, DJing)

  79. Anonymous says:

    I think they should shoot a commercial of a Mac user trying to find legal software to use on their system after paying over 2,000 USD on laptop that has a third of the RAM and less than 120gb of hard disk space than its PC counterpart.

    Of course, every Mac booster I know buys their software from Torrent, so I suppose the price is right for them.

    I have been in the supposed minority of people who have never had an HP, Packard Bell, NEC, Compaq, Sony or any homebrew Windows PC break beyond repair on me.

    But my iMac…

    On the topic of Linux… could anyone recommend good substitutes for Painter, Corel Draw, Flash, etc on any kernel of Linux? I’d consider the “totally free” Linux experience if I thought the quality of the “totally free” software were up to par…

  80. GeekMan says:

    Apple BLANK bad! Windows BLANK good! Apple BLANK good! Windows BLANK bad!

    Rabble rabble rabble rabble…

  81. dculberson says:

    Beowulf clusters are automatic “not cool enough” indicators.

    [/humor]

  82. strider_mt2k says:

    Just run what you can and make it make you happy.

    These Ford/Chevy-isms are juvenile, as is evidenced by many of the comments.

    Everything is flawed, get over it.

  83. Apj2 says:

    I am looking for a new computer and I just could not take this ad seriously. It was not genuine.

  84. rwhaller42 says:

    My beef has nothing to do with the merits or demerits of Apple computers versus PCs. It has to do with the ubiquitous use by ad agencies of actors portraying “real people”. Real people, bull. It’s just a con and I am tired of having my intelligence insulted. At least the author of this article put “real person” in quotes as I just have.

    I don’t usually advocate legislating morality. For one thing, it rarely works. And in some cases, like Prohibition, it creates worse problems while not solving the one for which it was intended.

    However, I am sorely tempted to advocate that ads that use actors to portray “real people” be required to PROMINENTLY display an acknowledgment that the person(s) in question is an actor. And if they are “real people” but have been paid to endorse the product, that be PROMINENTLY noted as well. Note that I said PROMINENTLY.

    BTW, MS/HP clearly stacked the deck in this one by setting a limit of $1,000 knowing full well that there would not be an Apple that would meet both meet “Lauren’s” requirements and cost less than $1000. However, I have no objection to this because by doing so they were making a point. How many truly real people do you know these days (outside of a group whose name we all know but I won’t mention, and those who believe they need a portable desktop) would want to pay more than $1000 for a laptop?

  85. lightbender says:

    Agreed, STRIDER MT2K… this reminds me so much of the kiddy console wars.

    Macs are fine, PC’s are fine. The ignorant rhetoric of both sides is getting annoying.

    Brand zealotry is not a virtue. Think for yourselves and learn that you don’t have to defend your choice by insulting others.

  86. Juan Pablo says:

    I like apple but hate the fanboys that only got apples to diss others and bragg. Besides that great over priced PCs. I also thank the same of Sony PCs users. Great over priced PCs.

  87. rAMPANTiDIOCY says:

    What this ad says to me: People who buy Windows machines are more concerned with the size of their screen than anything. It’s called a laptop for a reason.

    Some douche in one of my classes last semester had a windows laptop that was, no joke, as big as my 20″ iMac. Clearly he also had a tiny cock. You know what, my little 13″ macbook might not compensate for my small penis, but it does a great job of being a portable, fully-functioning computer.

  88. Agies says:

    @27 “699 for a 17″ is nice .. and might be what she wanted .. until she runs out of free crapware and has to invest into something close to iPhoto or iMovie”

    Apple might be able to get away with that stuff, but the minute Windows Movie Maker or Windows Photo Gallery come close someone will cry antitrust. If not in the US then definitely in the EU. In the meantime there’s always Picasa and Avid FreeDV.

  89. Ceronomus says:

    “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.”

    Considering Apple calls their sales staff “Geniuses” does this comment surprise anyone?

  90. HeatherB says:

    I am too cool for Mac, because I am a living computer.

    It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains. The stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.

  91. error404 says:

    The opening line of this article I find problematic.

    “Microsoft accepts that its product, and those of its partners, are perceived as being of lower quality than Apple’s”

    I have used Macs, I have used PCs and I have used SGIs.

    Macs are dreadful little boxes in my experience.

    They are insanely overpriced. Now you could build an SGI for £1500 that they used to charge £70k for, so I am aware of a sliding scale of overpriced, but that doesn’t excuse Macs being so astronomically over priced.

    There is no other reason for that than the fact that the suckers who buy into the Apple Life Style have disposable income coming out the wazoo and think it makes them look cool.

    I’m not saying they are not perfectly good computers, but they are not 100% better to match the 100% mark up.

    Mac are not Mercedes, they are Lexus. A Toyota with a really big idea of it’s place in the world.

  92. PLeblanc says:

    I’m disappointed with the tone of the article and with the responses.

    Better value does not equal lower quality. Cheaper is easily substituted in one’s mind, but to carry over the common parlance of the term as inferior grade is not in the ad. Less cost does not equal lower quality (or do none of you use online price shopping tools?).

    Secondly, knowing what your computer specs should be does not mean that one is ‘unsophisticated’ or mindless of your long term goals. (This shouldn’t even need to be said, and shame on you Rob.)

    Giving people a set amount of money and letting them keep the remainder is a common method of determining marketplace values of products for an individual. (That is why she was handed cash and kept the amount between the $1000 and her purchase, if I read the set up of the arrangement correctly.)

    Lastly, I didn’t realize there were so many mouth-breathing apple fanatics on this board, and it saddened me to read these comments. I have a mac pro and a windows machine at my desk at work (so I could run all the design apps I want, in particular letting me run OmniGraffle). I’ve tried for 2+ years now to switch to the mac as my main machine, but just can’t get over the little hurdles. It’ll virtualize XP and Ubuntu so I *could* run everything from one machine (my initial goal). But I get frustrated every time I have to do something in OSX, even little things.

    There are some well thought out posts on why an individual has switched and is happy, and I don’t begrudge them, but the assumption that if you haven’t switched it is because you haven’t tried it or because you are some hardcore windows yokel is just inappropriate.

    I thought the readers (and authors) of this blog were better than that.

    And let me not sign off without acknowledging that Ubuntu is pretty sweet, but like switching to OSX it takes a big leap of faith and some real determination. One of the things I will say absolutely rocks on my mac pro is that I have got to play with virtual machines of all the Ubuntu releases for the last few years (parallels and VMware made it soooo easy to play). But you can get virtualbox (or VMware too) for your windows machine if you want to play there too. I just happened to have my mac pro for playing since I still haven’t been able to switch to it as my main machine so it doesn’t have any ‘mission critical’ stuff on it. Expect to tinker and google and tinker some more for any VM you want to set up, but it still made my mac pro the place where I would play with alternate OSs to keep up and see what I love (and I do love OSs; where for art thou OS/2 and BEOS, you have foresaken my love with corporate dispassion/dissolution… Fortunately the hole in my broken heart is beginning to be filled by the win7 beta… Mint, can you hear me? Run in my virtual machine so we can get to know each other better).

    In summary,
    1. I am very wordy this evening
    2. shut up and just use what you want/need. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Can they tell your presentation or executable came from a (insert OS here) machine? I hope not.

  93. dculberson says:

    Remmelt,

    “Yes, the Mercedes is more expensive than the Honda. [..] There’s no talk of total cost of ownership, cost of additional software, build quality.”

    You might want to work on that analogy a bit. Mercedes and “total cost of ownership” don’t belong together unless there’s discussion of bankruptcy and initial purchase price being mere rounding error in the total cost of ownership.

  94. SamSam says:

    @ agraham999:

    “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person.” One can only assume that it’s intended as an anti-elitist insult, but the bottom line is that Microsoft is explicitly reinforcing the idea that Macs are cool, which strikes me as a very odd tactic.

    I think Dan Gruber and you have it wrong. This ad is deliberately not enforcing that stereotype. Instead it is mocking that stereotype, and trying to subversively make itself look cooler in the process.

    She’s obviously a cool girl, she’s pretty, she drives a VW. When she says “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person,” we roll our eyes along with her at the people who believe that their Macs make them “cooler.” We can then associate ourselves with her, as not needing to be one of the self-proclaimed “cool” crowd. Naturally, associating ourselves with her makes us feel that much cooler, and lets us dismiss the notion that Macs make one actually cool.

  95. sworm says:

    It’s typical of advanced capatilist society that people define their personality by the products they own and not important things.

    How depressing.

  96. liamo says:

    These anthropomorphisms of Operating Systems are stupid. They’re just a bunch of code, compiled and released with licence agreements. Windows costs more. OSX is tied to a specific brand of hardware. Linux is free, but harder to get to work with a bunch of stuff.

    Trying to attach ephemeral human qualities to OS’s like coolness and funkiness is as stupid as suggesting that the brand of deoderant you use defines the type of person you are. It’s just advertising bollocks and i’m surprised so many people buy into it

  97. wrybread says:

    @64: “I like apple but hate the fanboys that only got apples to diss others and bragg.”

    Do you honestly think that factored into their decision to buy a Mac in the slightest? Seriously?

    I’m absolutely baffled by this theory by many of these commenters that Apple buyers somehow disdain people who use PC’s. They have disdain for Windows, not people who use it.

    Sheesh.

  98. Daemon says:

    Because the only thing apple has going for it is it’s “Oh, I’m so cool!” pretentions. I mean, that IS their main selling point.

  99. remmelt says:

    Wrybread @74:

    DENIED.

    I call Quirk’s Exception.

  100. Juan Pablo says:

    I know douchy people that will only get over priced things. I’ve met many chicks and dudes like that down here.

    Here being Miami.

  101. Juan Pablo says:

    @#66 WRYBREAD

    I also throw Sony Fanboys under the bus read the whole post buddy.

  102. incubeth says:

    Ya know, I use Ubuntu at home, 2 laptops with two different Windows operating systems (XP for driver support and Vista..ONLY because of the media center (though I won’t be writing home about that one)), and Windows at work. I used macs when I was in school and liked them OK for their graphical capabilities, but that was when it was considered a standard for animators, designers, etc.

    I tend to gravitate more towards Ubuntu for it’s FULL customization capabilities (try that with a Mac OR PC), but do you know what REALLY gets me worked up about the Mac?
    Instinctively trying to right-click with a damn Mac mouse!!!!!11!1 >__<

    I ADD NOTHING TO THE ARGUMENT!
    /internets

  103. colonel gentleman says:

    Hey, let’s have this same conversation everyday, on every website. Who’s with me?

  104. Stevejobsisgod says:

    I could not agree with you more, obviously she is a unintelligent moron going to pc in the first place. We all know that people who buy from apple are far smarter than the average consumer. Of coarse we are cooler as well as smarter the average pc user no doubt has to remember to breath every once in a while. Pcs are pathetic because Steve Jobs did not make them the world would be a better place if my apple just made all my choices for me. God this makes me so mad.. I am so going to photo shop a apple symbol on her and blog.

  105. tubacat says:

    #48 (arikol) “They also started making Human Interface Guidelines for their stuff around the time of the original Mac.”

    This is the most important thing anyone has posted. Mac (well, Lisa) was the first computer built from the user’s perspective. The young folks around won’t have had any experience of trying to remember what to type after the C: prompt, since command line interfaces died after the Mac. Unfortunately, PC users have had to put up with cheap imitations of the graphic user interface first commercialized by Apple (yes, after being ripped off from Xerox by Steve Jobs). And, as someone else commented, Microsoft keeps “upgrading” their UI in random, unprincipled ways, which their users have had to put up with, until the great Vista rejection/rebellion.

    Because Apple has consistently tried to make a computer that anyone can use, it is the one that even techies buy for their moms. Years ago, my mom bought a Dell over the phone, but gave it back after they sent a technician over twice in the first two week. I then helped her buy one of the first iMacs (the big blue ones), which she kept and happily used until around 4 years ago, when I passed along my old G4. Recently, my neighbor crashed through my garage/study and literally ran over my most recent Powerbook. I had to pry the disk slot open, but otherwise, it booted and ran fine, so I gave it to mom too, and bought myself a new MacBook Air.

    The only reason I like Macs is because they work so well. It certainly has nothing to do with being cool, cause I’m not!

  106. Rob Beschizza says:

    But can you get Woz to sign her?

  107. Stevejobsisgod says:

    Oh you windows users make me so angry that I almost spilled my cappuccino on myself! They just don’t get it they never will. Windows will never be anywhere near as good as apple because Steve Jobs has nothing to do with it. Mac users are obviously much more creative and intelligent.

    And to those people who say that the Operating System does not matter. Are you insane! It is the only thing that matters with, apple using mostly mainstream parts from Intel and NVIDIA, the only thing that does not make it like every other 500 dollar pc is the OPERATING SYSTEM!! Its, what we pay the extra thousand dollars for so we can enjoy the masterpiece that apple has given us. It is what makes Apple users much better than everyone else. Obviously we can see the difference and we realize it is what has given us personalities in the first place.

    When I get together with my Mac friends we know exactly what to talk about, electric cars, our Macs, our Iphones, and our Ipods. It breaks up the boring tedium’s of complaining about how we do not know how we are going to pay back our student loans, which paid for our Macs with our arts degrees.

  108. Gatesownsurbalz says:

    Apples.. Eve thought it was a good idea..

  109. Trent Hawkins says:

    #38: “These anthropomorphisms of Operating Systems are stupid.”

    You’ve obviously never seen OS-tan.

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