There’s no doubt Microsoft’s series of ‘Laptop hunter’ ads have touched a raw-nerve with Apple fans.
Each features a hip young thing who goes shopping for a Mac, only to find they get more hardware, for half the price, if they buy a Windows PC. The subtext is that Apple fans think they're cool, but are really being played for suckers. (Read: Microsoft's Lauren designed to get under Mac fan boys' skin.)
Talking to his company’s Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans on July 15, Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner related how, two weeks earlier, Apple’s legal team had got in contact. They said the ad no longer applied, since Apple had lowered its prices.
“It was the greatest single phone call that I've ever taken in business,” Mr Turner told the audience, who broke out into applause.
“I did cartwheels down the hallway. And so we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them.”
And today, Microsoft is still running the ads, Advertising Age reports, but in a watered down version.
The original version of the latest clip featured Lauren (not the original Microsoft Lauren) saying.
"This Mac is $US2,000, and that's before adding anything."
To which her mother replies: "Why would you pay twice the price?"
Lauren leaves with a $US972 Dell laptop.
That version has now been deleted from YouTube, and elsewhere, in favour of revised edit in which the Mac's price is not mentioned.
Instead, Lauren says, "It seems like you're paying a lot for the brand."
A number of advertising commentators have seen Microsoft's "laptop huner" and "laptop rookie" ads as the company's first robust response to Apple's long-running Mac Guy vs PC Guy campaign.
However, the story doesn't play out in the numbers. Sales of Windows dropped by a third in Microsoft's quarterly results last week (in which $US276 million revenue was deferred to cover free Windows 7 upgrades for people who buy Windows Vista PCs today).
By contrast, Apple, enjoying a halo effect from record iPhone sales, saw sales of its computers rise by 4%.
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