When Microsoft released ads answering the “I’m a PC, I’m a Mac” ads from Apple, the blogosphere is bound to write about it.
Chandoo has also done that. And while reading his post, I wrote the following myself.
Stuff I appreciate about the ads: it fights the idea of stereotyping users, though that is not the intent of the Mac ads. It’s a good strategy – take the strength of the competitor’s communication and turn it around as their weakness. It celebrates diversity – that the hardware I use does not define me. And ofcourse PC (the x86 PC architecture to be precise), being the open systems format, is the perfect “mascot” for that diversity.
And that’s where it does not fit in with M$. It does not work. Why? Mac-vs-PC works because Apple OWNS Mac – the software as well as the hardware. PC is not OWNED by anyone. IBM invented it, and it’s been since taken over by the open market. Even Intel can’t claim to own the PC market. There are many more players who define PC – there’s HP, Dell, AMD.
And Microsoft does not run on just PCs anymore. After Intel entering Macs, Windows also is aiming for people owning Macs.
So why is Microsoft spending so much money on promoting a franchise which it does not own nor which comprises its entire target market?
Note that none of the people say “I’m Windows” or “I’m a Windows user”, nor would it fit if they did.
I guess if they are serious, specialized PC users, they’d NOT be using Windows, let alone Vista. How many of these “PeeCees” were Linux users, how many were BSD users? How many use XP (remember the ad ends with a Vista graphic)?
Next, since the ad celebrates diversity so much, does Microsoft support the idea? Is its software or UI that customizable? The idea that the computer you use should not define who you are or what you look like – shouldn’t it be carried forward in the goods delivered? Why does M$ software (Vista) hog so much of resources that it does not let the real software which DOES define what us PC users are work properly?
Just making smart ads isn’t going to get M$ back in the good books of computer users. Making software that works properly would.
In the end, if you’d remove the last screen mentioning Microsoft, the ads make a stronger case for the x86+OSS systems (read Linux/BSD on PC) rather than Windows/Vista.
Being a devout x86+OSS (rather x64+OSS) user myself, all I have to say is “Thanks Microsoft ;)”.