According to a report from in the New York Times, the next phase of Microsoft's latest ad campaign is set to begin -- sans Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Apparently, the new ads do away with the unusual (and somewhat ill-received) banter and "real life" experiences of the two celebrities, and trade them for an earnest embrace of... Apple's "PC" character. Apparently, one of the new ads even begins with a John Hodgman lookalike stating, "Hello, I'm a PC, and I've been made into a stereotype." Beyond the flip on a rival's depiction of its brand, the campaign will feature cameos from Eva Longoria, Deepak Chopra, Pharrell Williams, and even Gates -- though Seinfeld doesn't make the cut. While we're curious to see what the company cooks up in the new ads, it does strike us as somewhat odd that the supposed narrative Microsoft was establishing with Gates and Seinfeld has abruptly been abandoned in favor of these new spots. Is this a decision which was made long ago, or did the largely negative / confused reaction to the last set of ads force the company's hand? We only have its official statement to go on: "We will be executing the second phase of our advertising campaign tomorrow, as planned from the start."

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in]

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Microsoft's new ads: Seinfeld and Gates out, Hodgman lookalike in