WTF is Microsoft trying to do here???

Can’t wait for the satires of this ad….

After you watch that, you may need to watch these to make you feel better.

First, a word from Linux:

Now, to get the taste of this whole thing out of your brain, here’s a kitten falling asleep in a box:

Comments

  1. #1 SC
    September 21, 2008

    WTF is Microsoft trying to do here???

    I only watched it once, but I think they’re just trying to counter the (older, stodgy, dull,…) image of PC users that the Mac ads have put forth by suggesting that it’s really a diverse group of people. What’s offensive? Am I missing something?

  2. #2 Evan
    September 21, 2008

    This article was pretty good at explaining the Mac vs PC ads and how Microsoft just doesn’t get it.

  3. #3 FutureMD
    September 21, 2008

    I’m going to have to second that I don’t find anything offensive about this ad at all. All its saying is that nearly everybody uses PC’s and that stereotyping them as a dumpy white guy in a cheap suit is silly. You must have just not seen anything at all offensive in the last few days.

  4. #4 Orac
    September 21, 2008

    The only thing offensive in the Microsoft ads is that one of them gives more time to Deepak Chopra than to anyone else. Otherwise, I really fail to see what you’re getting so worked up over.

  5. #5 Ken Shabby
    September 21, 2008

    The Mac vs PC ads are about the horrorshow that Microsoft proudly triumphs as a success. They fail to view Vista as a failure. There are movements to sue MS in court to force them to continue supporting XP, or to release XP source to the public domain.

    Microsoft is as clueless to their failures as the White House is to its own failures.

    Recall that Gates used legal trickery to steal the OS from IBM, then to counterfeit the look and feel of the Macintosh — while promoting that as an attractive feature rather than a violation of the law — then to use its money and lawyers to shut down competitive threats, then to offer trapdoor access to the intelligence community in exchange for nationwide government buyin … and it goes on and on and on. MS does not see anything wrong here. They keep turning profits on bad products simply because the hardware is getting better and cheaper.

  6. #6 Kate
    September 21, 2008

    I think it’s a smart and effective campaign… not for people who have already decided they hate Microsoft of course, but for those who are undecided. It gives a good idea that there is no typical PC user, and that people from all spectrums use PC.

    I’ve ditched microsoft myself, but don’t know enough about other OS’s to do anything more ‘daring’ than go Mac.

    But not because the Mac guy is young, hip and cute.

  7. #7 decrepitoldfool
    September 21, 2008

    I’m missing the offensive part. Wait while I set the offensive-meter several orders of magnitude down from “viewing Republican campaign ads” overload-protection level.

    Nope. I think they’re just missing the point of the Apple ads. “Lots of interesting people use Windows!” Imagine how much more time those interesting people could spend on their interesting work, if they didn’t have to spend half their work hours waiting for their Windows machine to get out of its own way…

  8. #8 Zeno
    September 21, 2008

    Everything was fine till Deepak Chopra showed up. Ugh! No! Get off! Otherwise it was a mildly entertaining bit in response to the incessant campaign by Apple that “Mac is cool, PC is dull.”

    Mostly harmless. And I do get tired of the simplistic personal computer wars.

    As for Ken Shabby’s comment (“Recall that Gates used legal trickery to steal the OS from IBM, then to counterfeit the look and feel of the Macintosh”), I recall nothing of the sort (and I was certainly around in those days). When IBM hired Microsoft to produce an operating system for its new personal computer, Big Blue did not insist on an exclusive license. A generic MS-DOS was available for non-IBM personal computers as soon as the PC clones appeared — and IBM concentrated on protecting its computer’s system ROM (copyright!) and not the operating system, which Microsoft was free to sell.

    As for Microsoft Windows, yes, in many ways it’s just a me-too johnny-come-lately graphical interface. Apple got there first. But Apple was borrowing the look and feel of the original graphical user interface created by Xerox PARC. While I’m sure that Microsoft developers were looking over their shoulder at the Mac OS while trying to catch up with it (a physically awkward posture, to be sure), Windows was never just a Mac clone (which might have made it better, come to think of it). It was the Bill Gates way of implementing the bit-mapped user interface from Xerox — the company that invented the future of personal computing but then forgot to market it.

  9. #9 Blake Stacey
    September 21, 2008

    Everything was fine till Deepak Chopra showed up.

    You should have expected it and been steeling yourself. . . .

  10. #10 Oldfart
    September 21, 2008

    Wish I could make as many mistakes as Bill Gates and still own the market, make billions of dollars for myself, my corporation and an excellent living for probably hundreds of thousands if not millions of other people. Apple should be so lucky except….Apple made just as many mistakes only they made the wrong ones.

  11. #11 Ben Abbott
    September 21, 2008

    The intro to the commercial reminds me of the many Christians who claim to be persecuted by atheists ;-)

    Fortunately the reality is that MSFT is struggling to hold on to its leadership position due to a lack of technical innovation.

    If they wish to continue to lead, they need to embrace open standards in favor of MSFT only solutions. They might also release MSFT “standards” and then dogmatically conform to them.

  12. #12 sailor
    September 21, 2008

    When did you last hear of someone buying a computer family or operating system on the basis of an ad? I bet it almost never happens that way. In my case I am stuck with PC, because when I first went into computers I needed a laptop and in those days Mac couldn’t be bothered to make one. There were plenty of PCs. When linux can run photoshop illustrator and indesign I will happily switch.

  13. #13 Markus
    September 21, 2008

    Yeah, I’m attempting to figure out what MS is after. The Mac ads are about the computer, not the user. The MS ad is attempting to portray it as a user.

    Which I think is pretty obvious from all the Mac satire ads posted by Greg before. They got the point, and made good satire of Mac.

    This MS ad just has no relevance to the Mac ad, even though they do try. I mean, what is MS trying to do? Tell us that their OS really does have ~95% market share on the desktop? Mostly due to their monopolistic position on the market.

  14. #14 themadlolscientist, FCD
    September 21, 2008

    My first thought when I saw the first clip was:

    “Is this a ‘Saturday Night Live commercial’?”

    I just had to go see for myself. Sho’nuff, it’s for real….. but Google is no respecter of persons, and also turned up this priceless bit of dirt:

    Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” Ads Created On Macs:

    After dumping its $10 million contract with Jerry Seinfeld after just three ads (only two of which even aired) Microsoft has created new ad copy where regular people and a few celebrities say, “I’m a PC!” One problem with the campaign’s credibility: the ad work was created using Macs.

    I’m ROFLingMAO so hard, it’s a good thing my windows are shut so I won’t wake up the neighbors!

    p.s. The Seinfeld ads were pretty freeking lame in their own right…….

  15. #15 Leni
    September 21, 2008

    Too bad MS couldn’t just steal John Hodgman (The “PC guy”). I heard him on This American life and it was hilarious.

    Not as cute as the Mac guy, no. But then again, most of us aren’t.

  16. #16 alfred glenstein
    September 22, 2008

    Have you all lost your minds? Its sad that everything is now viewed through the “microsoft is evil” tinted spectacles- There isn’t actually anything offensive here, and this overbearing will to interpret it as such is quite amazing. Also, microsoft doesn’t necessarily “miss the point” because they are portraying the PC as a user rather than a computer (maybe they are deliberately shifting the terms of the debate? God forbid!)

    Yes, I’ve “done my time”, spending several years on Windows ME and Windows 98 and yes, I’ve experienced every kind of crash imaginable (spontaneous restarts, green bars across top of screen, blue screens of course, error messages in polish… you name it). And its much because of my past experience that I am now a linux user. But for god sake, the fact that we’ve gotten to this point, where we evaluate these companies and their products in terms of how clever their commercials are, is just shameful.

    I hope that decades from now, when “Mac” and “PC” are understood on fundamentally different terms and new alternative OS’s exist, and this dispute is essentially forgotten, that someone will at least have a little perspective on this aimless quasi-culture battle and recognize how hollow and vapid it actually is.

  17. #17 Scote
    September 22, 2008

    I’m a mac user–for home and for work.

    The Microsoft ad is well done. It in Rovian fashion effectively turns the mac “I’m a PC ads” from funny ads about **computers** into evil ads stereotyping **people**. Instead of converting people to mac, Microsoft is hoping to both personalize and expand PCs, but vilify the mac ads as “stereotypes”–even though the mac ads aren’t about actual people. It’s clever, with a touch of evil. Very Microsoft.

    Can’t say as I buy that folksy shot of Gates buying his own groceries as if he’s just a regular Joe and not the baby-faced ruthless business man who went from college dropout to worlds richest man by not being very nice or very “regular Joe.”

  18. #18 Paul A
    September 22, 2008

    Must say I personally can’t stand Apple these days, they’ve been going downhill ever since the launch of the iMac. That said I’m no Micro$oft fan either. Linux on a home-built PC ftw :D

  19. #19 Felicia Gilljam
    September 22, 2008

    I’m with the people who don’t get what’s offensive. It’s a good ad, like alfred and Scote above I think MS is deliberately changing the interpretation of the Mac ads to create an effective counter ad campaign.

    If Greg would be so kind as to explain what’s offensive I’d be very happy to listen. I use PC personally, although I grew up with Mac. I’ve got no particular issues with either, although I do think MS could do with a little competition.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2008

    This is a very interesting comment thread.

    There are two issue here, one tongue in cheek but my humor is, as is well known to all 18 of my readers, too subtle: Suffice it to say that Microsoft can’t please Greg Laden.

    The other is more serious.

    This “I use Microsoft and I’m [fill in the diversity blank]” stands in stark contrast to the exploitative strategies of both Microsoft Corporation and the Bill Gates Foundation (which is NOT a separate entity in any practical sense).

    For instance, Microsoft is bribing Nigerian officials to kick Linux out of the schools there. For instance, Gates foundation endowment invests in one of the worst point-pollution sources in the world which is linked to high rates of childhood toxin related diseases and death, etc. while at the same time Gates foundation funds schools to which these very same children go prior to their untimely deaths.

    Yes, Microsoft is just doing what everyone else does, of course. Can’t do much about it.

    Except not really. With software, you have a choice between the standard corporate model on one end of the distribution and the OpenSoruce model on the other, with a great range of variation in between.

    You don’t need to accept Microsoft’s total involvement in your personal IT, and you don’t need to blandly and blindly accept Microsoft’s exploitative ad strategies without criticism.

    But first you have to take the microchip out.

  21. #21 Andrew
    September 22, 2008

    The kitten thing helps.

  22. #22 Bjorn Watland
    September 22, 2008

    I’ve always thought it was interesting to read how the Gates Foundation was assisting education in Latin America by tossing computer with Windows their way. You’ve created a new market, with a tax write off!

  23. #23 Andrew
    September 22, 2008

    Wasn’t that kitten video supposed to end with the usual Linda Blair clip and a loud noise?

  24. #24 Tom
    September 22, 2008

    One thing that several commenters (here and elsewhere) seem to be missing is that Hodgeman does not represent a PC user – he represents the PC itself. The canonical beige box, which typically runs windows. Justin Long is a Mac, which runs the Mac OS. They are hardware, not the user. Hodgeman sometimes bemoans the experience his users have. It’s pretty obvious.

    Which means that the Microsoft commercial just misses the point.

  25. #25 JM
    September 22, 2008

    RE. Gates in these ads

    First, you cannot be Darth Vadar for 20 years and turn yourself into Hans Solo overnight.

    Second, it is really dumb to play the cool, relaxed straight man to Seinfeld – the exemplar, cool straight man – while asking Seinfeld to play the fawning buffoon. Not gonna work. You’re wasting your money.

    No wonder those 2 were so bad.

  26. #26 Stephanie Z
    September 22, 2008

    Well, I also wasn’t thrilled about a multiple-SAG-award-winning actress identifying herself by her wedding ring, but I suppose it was an ad for the unexamined status quo.

  27. #27 JM
    September 22, 2008

    RE. Gates in these ads

    First, you cannot be Darth Vadar for 20 years and turn yourself into Hans Solo overnight.

    Second, it is really dumb to play the cool, relaxed straight man to Seinfeld – the exemplar, cool straight man – while asking Seinfeld to play the fawning buffoon. Not gonna work. You’re wasting your money.

    No wonder those 2 were so bad.

  28. #28 chris
    September 22, 2008

    Not to be a pedant, but…it’s “Han” Solo. The point, however, is definitely true.

  29. #29 CCW
    September 22, 2008

    When linux can run photoshop illustrator and indesign I will happily switch.

    It can. Sort of. Run a search for the apps you’re interested in: http://www.winehq.org/

  30. #30 Scote
    September 22, 2008

    One thing that several commenters (here and elsewhere) seem to be missing is that Hodgeman does…

    Which means that the Microsoft commercial just misses the point.

    Posted by: Tom |

    No, Microsoft gets the point but they are deliberately attempting to reframe the funny mac ads about computers personified into evil stereotypes about PC users.

    It isn’t a mistake by Microsoft, it is a deliberate trick to try and put Apple on the defensive and force them to stop using their effective and funny ads.

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    September 22, 2008

    There were plenty of PCs. When linux can run photoshop illustrator and indesign I will happily switch.

    It depends on what you are doing, but you can certainly make pretty pictures with software far better than photoshop and illustrator in Linux (for free). I can’t vouch for the page layout software because I don’t currently use that.

    Scote: I think that is exactly correct.