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April 05, 2009

Some Sunday Morning BlogFodder: PC vs. Mac

Microsoft's new ad strategy is provoking lots of discussion, with most suggesting that it hits Apple right where it hurts: function over form.

Microsoft's latest ad, launched Saturday, gives a dude named Giampaolo $1,500 and tells him to buy himself a new computer. Giampaolo, who describes himself as "technically savvy," says he's looking for portability, battery life and power. "I like a computer that allows me to customize," he adds.

What he doesn't like: Macs. "This is so sexy, but Macs to me are about aesthetics more than they are about the computing power," he says. "I don't want to pay for the brand, I want to pay for the computer."

You can bet that little dig will have people in Redmond high-fiving each other, as did the one delivered in Microsoft's last commercial, by Lauren, a red-haired actress. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," Lauren said.

Microsoft isn't there yet, but it's looking in the right place. It's looking for trouble.

This has provoked indignant protestations from Mac users. Microsoft's David Webster explains the strategy:

Webster says, according to Lyons, that “the ugly attacks from Mac fanboys are exactly what Microsoft was hoping to provoke.”

“He says the idea was to turn Apple’s ‘I’m a Mac’ campaign to Microsoft’s advantage. ‘We associate real people with being PCs, [but then Apple] ends up looking pretty mean-spirited, the way they go after customers,’ he says. ‘It’s clear that’s who they are insulting.’ At the same time he can’t resist taking a crack at the preciousness of some Mac users. ‘Not everyone wants a machine that’s been washed with unicorn tears,’ he says.”

Unfortunately, the PC vs. Mac wars have intruded into my own life. My dear sweet mother has been turned to the dark side--by our priest, no less--and is now counted among the MacHeads. It still brings tears to my eyes to see her flock to the Apple store genius bar with the other lemmings. I had to reassure her, "I would still love you even if you were a murderer."

Another example of overzealous MacHeads: A couple years ago I was looking for a new apartment and, as is usually the case, the landlady was trying to decide if I would be a good tenant. Her question: "So, are you Mac or PC?...Because we use Macs around here."

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:53 AM

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