Mac vs. PC: Some Can Dish It Out & Take It, Others… Not So Much

macvspcSo Microsoft put together an ad (embedded below with more to come apparently) that does what Apple started (comparing PCs and Macs) only from Microsoft’s perspective. That is, when either side plays this game, they focus on the pros of their team while pointing out the cons of the other side all while conveniently forgetting to mention their own cons.

That’s how commercials work, you see. By and large, Apple and Microsoft are playing the same game. A game that Apple started, I might add. And kudos to Apple for starting it; it seems to have worked well for them.

But now that a strong response is out by Microsoft (a separate tangential conversation is whether Microsoft should be throwing so much money at a “response” campaign; that’s debatable), the Apple fanboys are restless (this topic was at the top of Techmeme earlier today) and feel the need to point out the “offense,” “pointlessness,” and “inaccuracies.

Wow. Talk about a classic case of dishing out but not being able to take it. Case in point, what was the first point of the author who wanted to explain why this was so offensive? In his own words, “…she goes into the “Mac store” — red flag here already, anyone who is even remotely interested in a Mac knows it’s the Apple Store

I can’t even begin to understand what that has to do with anything remotely relevant to being offensive, but to each his own, I suppose. Anyway, back to my original point: When Apple ran their commercials, I didn’t feel the need to take offense or complain about inaccuracies and onesidedness. It was a pretty good campaign. And now Microsoft has put together a decent response by using a similar formula.

Why can’t we just leave it at that? Do we really need to get out the fine tooth comb and go through all Apple’s ads and all Microsoft’s ads and benchmark them against some universal neutral fairness system (which doesn’t exist)?


Laptop Hunters #1 – Lauren

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  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Great comment from fritzw on reddit:

    “This applies to fanboys in general, not necessarily exclusive to MS or Apple fanboys. I like the new MS commercial, I think it hits hard. Some fanboys can't take it. Same could be said about MS fanboys in the past about different apple campaigns. The attacks help to make better products in the future. If the ads are too harsh, people will be turned off by the campaign, and ultimately turned off by the company running the campaign.”

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  • zato

    Dear Microsoft gamer/shill,
    Let me explain why the commercial is offensive:
    The commercial is proof that Microsoft is for suckers and losers. Lauren isn't cool enough to be a Mac user. She's a sucker/loser who thinks, like all sucker/losers, that she's smart enough to get something for nothing. Very quickly, she'll find out the computer she bought is a piece of junk.
    The commercial is REALLY about HATE. Sucker/losers hate winners, successful people. The commercial reaches out to the losers and suckers, it supports their hate, and tells them how they can beat the winners. It's a sick world of hate and egotism we live in, and there's big money in the business of HATE and egotism. There is NOTHING like this in the Apple commercials, but no doubt a gamer/hater/ such as yourself won't see it that way.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Nice, zato, welcome to the blogosphere. Your response is so profound and original, what with calling me a shill/hater. Word of advice, you may want to skip the name calling if you want to be taken seriously, and it sure sounds like you do. It also sounded like your head was about ready to explode from outrage. Dude, it's a commercial. Take a deep breath, I'm worried about you.

  • http://www.i-boy.com/weblog/ George Nimeh

    The fact that the Mac crowd is up in arms means something … It is the first time in ages that I can remember a PC ad getting under the skin of the Apple crowd. CPB is obviously onto something.

    All those “I'm a Mac” ads that took swipes at PCs, and now that MSFT fires back with “you're too expensive and really not all that cool” … And Mac fans are up in arms.

    That (and even the assholes like zato) is music to MSFT and CPB's ears.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Ironically enough, the best “they” (Apple fans) could do is probably just ignore it. But lots are taking the bait and making the non-zealot fans of Apple look bad. So I guess I'd like to think (am hoping for their sake!) that there are plenty of Apple fans out there who don't think this is a big deal. But the vocal minority isn't helping.

  • Xephrey

    While I do prefer Macs to PCs (mostly for O.S. & design), I gotta say, that ad is quite the poignant one. It's a smart ad too, cause 17 inches of real estate on a PC laptop doesn't really eat up much more money than a 15 inch; whereas with a MacBook Pro, if you want a 17 incher – the base model is not too far off of 3 fricken thousand dollars. Even if you were to jump one generation back and slash one grand off of the price, it'd still be really pricey!

    I wonder why it took this long for an ad like this to come out.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Yeah, pointing out the price difference in a smart ad seems like a no brainer now… I'm still unsure of how the Seinfeld intro (the first part of this whole campaign) has much to do with anything (even if I liked it for reasons that have nothing to do with how good it is as an effective message).

  • zato

    I could care less what a hater/creep like you thinks. One way or another, you are paid by Microsoft, which in my view is a sick, evil, company led by a supreme egoist. Microsoft has made me an enemy. They have done this intentionally, and continue to sow hatred all over the internet to maintain their monopoly. This commercial is just more of the same.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Keep the vile attitude coming, zato, it's super classy! Or you might consider stopping to avoid proving my point further…

  • zato

    What is your point. Bob? That you, a Microsoft shill and supporter of a Microsoft commercial that promotes hatred and egotism, are “classy” and I'm not?
    I don't see it that way Bob. But then I'm a Mac user. I'm the hated enemy. Along with all the other targeted enemies of Microsoft, like Google, Linux, etc.

  • http://www.technologizer.com Ed Oswald

    Just a request: when you are going to link me, Mr. Caswell, please do not take me out of context. What I found offensive was later on in that post — not the snippet you took. And I think it's a valid argument. Apple should (and likely will) respond to this. Cheap is not better sir, and shame on Microsoft for making consumers think it is.

  • http://thenoisychannel.com/ Daniel Tunkelang

    The Seinfeld ads were disappointingly lame. This ad is good, as are the Microsoft Rookies ads. It's like Microsoft suddenly took a course in Advertising 101 and is proving to be a quick study.

    Also, before I get called a Microsoft fan-boy, let me note that I work for a company that counts Microsoft as one of its competitors. Still, why bash a competitor when it does something right?

  • http://thenoisychannel.com/ Daniel Tunkelang

    Zato, don't you realize that it's folks like you that give Apple a bad name? I used to like Apple before I met so many Apple zealots. I still think Apple generally (though not always) produces better technology than Microsoft, but the attitude of the culty fans is a real turn-off.

    Criticize MS technology all you want, and I'm with you. But go easy on the hate.

  • Adam

    Bob, I like the commercial, but it still wasn't as “cool” or clever as the apple ones, which highlights one of the differences between Mac and PC users. Mac people want desperately to be in the cool club and are willing to pay twice as much to be there. It's like any “cool” product, the difference in quality, if any, is never even close to worth the markup you pay for the “cool” product name. I still love Mac from a design aspect and if I wanted to buy a piece of art to put on my coffee table, I would definitely go with them. For computers, though, I still have to go with the most efficient price–PC.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    zato, if you don't get it now, there's no reason trying. Your latest assumptions of who I am and what I think are as incorrect and erroneous as they have been all throughout our supposed discussion. Only this time, you've managed to convince us all that you're a victim. Bravo!

    The truth is going to hurt, but let me let you in on a little secret everyone else has figured out. I respond to you because you manage to come across more ridiculous each time you comment.

    But now I'm feeling bad exploiting such a situation and think we've had more than enough comic relief for one blog post. Thanks for playing, but do yourself a favor and move on. I think we're done here.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Well said, Daniel, thanks for your thoughts. I may tend to like Microsoft products more than Apple (I do own a few Apple products, btw), but I'm glad when it doesn't matter so much when trying to have a conversation. :-)

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Well, I'm going to steer clear of stating what I think “Mac people” want or don't want. :-) But I do agree pretty strongly with a particular sentence of yours:

    “It's like any “cool” product, the difference in quality, if any, is never even close to worth the markup you pay for the “cool” product name.”

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  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Just a quick update that the author who I quoted in my post above responded to me via email. Here's what he said:

    “I don't care that you link to my work, but I would really appreciate it if you do not take me out of context. I think its only fair that you post what I really found offensive rather than the snippet you decided to pull.

    It's really disingenuous and disappointing. I would believe you would expect me when linking to you to actually accurately represent your work rather than attempting to shoot it down by using a tangential portion of it. I think that's more than fair.”

    My response:

    I chose my words carefully, actually. This is what I said:

    “…what was the first point of the author who wanted to explain why this was so offensive?”

    I actually wasn't pointing out why he was offended. Rather, I was pointing out his post starts with the premise of explaining his offense and then jumps right into an unnecessary but apparently very important tangent (the only section of his post surrounded by bolded words) on what wasn't his point.

    Does that make sense? It didn't to me, either. That's exactly why I called him out on it. But, please do go and read the full post, if you'd like. But at the author's request, I'll quote it here up until the point where he explains why he's offended:

    “I noticed some tweets (join me on Twitter’, @edoswald) over the past several days regarding Microsoft’s latest ad from those on Redmond’s side of the aisle. One of them specifically told “Mac fanbois” to “GROW UP,” so I decided to post this to explain why Microsoft’s latest ad is not only factually loose, but offensive as well.

    “Lauren” is given $1,000 to go and get a PC. Within 10 seconds, Microsoft’s already going for the gusto. She goes into the “Mac store” — red flag here already, anyone who is even remotely interested in a Mac knows it’s the Apple Store — and within seconds is out saying how the only under $1,000 unit is the white Macbook.

    Okay, true enough there Lauren. But in the car, she then proceeds to take it where I think the ad shouldn’t have gone, and where I began to have a problem with it. “I’m just not cool enough to be a Mac person,” she exclaims. Wow, just wow.”

  • zato

    Daniel: “But go easy on the hate.”
    I respond in comments to a Microsoft commercial attacking Mac prices with the opinion that Microsoft crossed a line in this ad. The ad is not about hardware or operating systems. It's about hate. It's about dividing people into the “right” people and the “wrong” people. It's about egotism. It's class-based propaganda. It's HATE. Similar to early Nazi anti Jewish propaganda. Look around the internet – this commercial has pegged the hate-o-meter.
    What comes next, PC egoists? Will all Mac people be forced into ghettos? Concentration camps for Mac users?
    And yet I'M the hater!

  • brigcam

    In my opinion Apple is using the only viable strategy to survive in the market. If the company entered the mass market arena they'd be wiped out in a second – too much competition worldwide. Better to promote the coolness of their products and market them at high prices – it's one of the few ways, if not the only one, to introduce an alternative to the MS dominion in the market.

    Jobs did a great, mmm, job at revitalizing the Apple brand after it was vanishing in the early 90s. He understood that having a good OS is not enough (how many alternative OSes exist/have existed, and how many have been forgotten no matter how good they were), and that competing at the hardware level is very risky if not suicidal. He understood that the only way Apple could survive was by appealing customers by cool design and smart (if not foxy) marketing.

    IMHO Ballmer is kinda right when he says Apple is nothing more than a $500 logo (and design, may I add). But indeed thru some magic Apple manages to sell that logo.

    Now with this ad MS wants to show that PCs are cheaper. That's fine, but to add insult to injury they should also show that at the same price of a high-end Mac you can buy a PC that eats any Mac alive, and that does it with style also. That would be a real attack to the Apple userbase, 'cause any Mac user will always tell you that no matter the price, Macs will always be better “for music and for photoshop”.

    Throw them a machine that's so powerful that no matter how much Windows and all its crap slows it down, it can still outperform any Mac in anything. And don't forget to put it in a nice, stylish case of course. And then, maybe Apple will vanish from this world once and forever.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Now there's an interesting idea for an ad I hadn't thought of (even if it now seems so obvious), compare on the top end price as well as the bottom end.

  • AlexW

    Godwin's Law – proven correct once *again*.

  • AlexW

    What about establishing a design-y, chic “premium” brand? MS should be able to do that? Diversify – everybody's launching netbooks, so why not go to the top-end as wellu – the techno-fetishist boheme cool computer.

    (I have Apple products for music, PCs for computing, netbook for travelling)

  • Pete

    “Do we really need to get out the fine tooth comb and go through all Apple’s ads and all Microsoft’s ads and benchmark them against some universal neutral fairness system (which doesn’t exist)?”

    I thought that was idea from your title. As far as I know Apple hasn't responded in any way to this ad.

  • Pete

    I don't really care who prefers what computer. But this ad is not smart. It is stupid. Anyone promised $1,000 to pay for a computer (and told they can keep the change) if they can find something that sells for under that amount would look for the cheapest piece of crap possible. What is so special with a $1,000? Let's see MS offer $10,000 and see what people buy then. What would you do if TATA offered you $3000 to buy a car?

  • Dave

    I think the point is the $1000.00. It shows the variety that your $1000.00 can have in the Microsoft world. Take the same amount of money to the Apple store and you can walk out with exactly one laptop. Take the same amount of money to Best Buy, and there are literally dozens of laptops to be had from Acer, Toshiba, HP, Lenovo, etc. with your choice of the features that you want. Webcam built in? Sure. Big hard drive? No worries. Long battery life? Why not? You give up something to get to the features you want, but it is your choice. Not Apple's.

    And to lay it to rest, I work on computers for a living, fixing both Macs and PC's alike. And from personal experience, I prefer to fix a PC any day. And I run Windows on my home and work computers, and have never had a virus in 15+ years. I rarely reboot, and do not see lockups since Windows 98.

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    Thanks for the thoughts, Dave. I keep hearing how great it is on the other side once you switch to a Mac, but it's nice to hear of such a positive experience that has nothing to do with switching.

  • Mark Ashton

    If you could care less then…why the heck are you posting here? Ask yourself that question, pause for at least five minutes, and then reply if you have anything remotely interesting to say. The only logical explanation I can come up with is that you're desperate to be heard, do care what Bob has to say but just don't know how to have a civil conversation.

  • ted

    Zato – U R crazy, dude. Srsly.

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  • Ted Landry

    The Mac crowd has given the commercials a yawn, they're certainly not up in arms… nobody cares about Microsoft, they have become ill-relevant.

  • Ted Landry

    Apple would never respond to these ads, what would be the point?

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    A yawn? Have you read any of the Apple blogs over the past couple weeks? You don't even have to… read through the comments on my blog to see just how much “yawning” is coming from the Mac crowd.

  • Ted Landry

    The Mac crowd has given the commercials a yawn, they're certainly not up in arms… nobody cares about Microsoft, they have become ill-relevant.

  • Ted Landry

    Apple would never respond to these ads, what would be the point?

  • http://bobcaswell.com Bob Caswell

    A yawn? Have you read any of the Apple blogs over the past couple weeks? You don't even have to… read through the comments on my blog to see just how much “yawning” is coming from the Mac crowd.