New Microsoft Ad & Possible Apple Reply

I rarely get worked up in the operating system wars, because I see why people use what they do, and respect their choices.

I can’t see, however, why the current run of Microsoft ads is going so ‘gung-ho’ against Apple, and not really showing the benefits of Brand M. Could it be that they don’t see any clear advantage themselves?

These commercials certainly haven’t pointed out any one thing other than the price of admission is that the cost of an Apple product is more. No mention is made of overall quality of hardware, which, since the Macs have a very focused list of internal pieces, one presumes are chosen with great care. As someone who works on PCs daily, I can tell you that the guts of your typical Dell, H-P, or Acer (used to be Gateway before the buyout) are chosen on the basis of cost alone – so it is no wonder that the overall cost is lower.  It is also easily seen why many of these PCs are scrapped, and turnover is so high.

Mac users I have come in contact with tend to be more like Volvo owners, holding on to their carefully chosen model, so, in effect, the cost is lower over the life of the unit versus the typical cycle of a PC.

But back to the commercials – the third one makes it clear that cost is the only criteria that this mother and son have a grasp on – the mother has a nebulous concept of speed, speaking of boot cycle times (though not in those words), so that you might think that she would be better served by a new netbook with a solid state disk.  The son is concerned about gaming – presumably he is speaking about the many forms of solitaire, because he certainly can’t be talking about first-person shooters, and the like, because the end result of their search would fail miserably at that task.

So what have we learned about people through these commercials? First, we learned that most people have an idea of what they want, and have no clue what to look for to give them the results they desire. Second, we learn how price conscious Microsoft thinks people are, and that none of them ever think about long term cost, because computers (laptops) are a throwaway item after a time of use.

Depending on who will be running Apple, I would think that an answer from them could be as simple as the mention of the fact that Microsoft doesn’t seem to consider that the Windows product does not have any intrinsic value other than low cost. Still another tactic might be to show a survey of repair issues, over time, with various brands of PC versus the Macbook lineup. (assuming they can show a positive point here – I can’t see why this would not be possible).

Still best, and the one I think Jobs might take (Steve, are you watching? If so, I’d gladly take a job in Cupertino) is this: Show the choices made in the Microsoft commercials, give a couple of details, and then show some customers two months after their happy purchase. Then, do the same for Apple customers. At the end, after emphasizing the usability, right from the start, the lack of need to add software (while pointing out trial versions that time out on typical PCs), and the amount of garbage needing removal from a typical PC, and possibly, just for good measure, a customer that has lost all their data when a virus or worm has thrashed their hard drive, forcing a manual restore (if it was even possible) to just bought condition.

Then, a small simple take off from the Fram auto filters commercial of a few years ago –

PAY NOW, or PAY LATER, which will it be?

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Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.Eleanor Roosevelt

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