Microsoft ramping up its anti-Apple ad blitz

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Yoni Heisler
November 25th, 2014
Microsoft ramping up its anti-Apple ad blitz

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, Microsoft's anti-Apple ad blitz is slowly but surely picking up steam. Over the past two-and-a-half weeks, the folks up in Redmond have released three commercials which poke fun at the iPhone and, somewhat curiously, the MacBook Air.

As far as tech advertisements go, Microsoft's trio of commercials aren't too shabby, if only because the company has seemingly realized that touting the benefits of Microsoft Office isn't the most engaging, creative, or effective way to lure users away from competing devices.

Here's what we got.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released the following ad pitting the MacBook Air against the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro laptop.

It's a nice ad, and it certainly plays to the Lenovo's strengths. Still, with a sticker price of US$1,299, I'm not entirely sure that the machine's "multi-mode flexibility" will cause prospective MacBook Air consumers to second guess their interest in a Mac. The Lenovo Yoga 3 might be thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air, and sure, it may also have a few sleek yoga moves up its sleeve, but it still runs Windows which is more than enough to turn off potential MacBook Air buyers. Nonetheless, the Yoga 3 looks like a sleek machine and the commercial does an exemplary job of introducing it.

About one week ago, Microsoft released a Surface Pro 3 ad poking fun at the MacBook Air. Anchored by a jingle sung to the tune of "Winter Wonderland", the ad touts the Surface Pro 3's power, its multitouch screen, its USB port (though the MacBook Air has 3 itself), and oddly enough, the device's kickstand.

While the ad itself is decent, I can't help but think that Microsoft's strategy of positioning the Surface Pro 3 against a traditional laptop furthers a debate that no one is really having. Microsoft is still all-in on the idea of a laptop/tablet hybrid despite no strong evidence that consumers are actually interested in such a device in the first place. Still, the commercial plays to the Surface Pro 3's strengths and differentiating features.

Most recently, Microsoft rolled out an ad which takes jabs at Siri, highlighting how it doesn't support contextual reminders and unprompted traffic advice.

Based on the above commercials, it appears that Microsoft is intent on fighting simultaneous battles on two fronts; attacking both the iPhone and the iPad. On the smartphone front, Windows Phone has less than 5% marketshare and it's hard to envision a scenario where Microsoft, despite all of its marketing muscle, can effectively chip away at the marketshare currently enjoyed by Apple and a slew of Android manufacturers. On the tablet front, it's interesting that Microsoft isn't pitting the Surface Pro 3 against the iPad, but rather against the MacBook Air. Thus far, the Surface Pro 3 appears to be Microsoft's most successful tablet yet, though given previous Surface sales, that's not really saying much.
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