While the new Microsoft ads make more sense than the “Bill and Jerry” ads, in that they do appear to be advertising something other than confusion, I don’t see how they are supposed to be selling me on Vista. The campaign is a clear rebuttal to Apple’s “Macs are cool slackers and PC’s are John Hodgman” adverts, but they seem to be off target. Yes, most people in the world use PC hardware (technically so do I). There is no questions about that. After Service Pack 2 was released, most of those PC users were pretty content with Windows XP, and thus pretty content with their over all computing experience. “I’m a (proud) PC“ doesn’t even address the operating system, which I assume is Vista. I know they aren’t spending 300 million to convince me to stick with XP.
I understand that Microsoft are in “repare the brand” mode and I don’t fault them for that. Apple are certainly playing dirty, and have dealt a pretty significant blow to how the general public perceives PC’s. The thing I don’t understand about the concept of “I’m a PC” is that Microsoft doesn’t control the “PC experience.” They make an operating system and suite of software that runs on PC architecture, and they certainly popularized the format in the 80′s but they don’t have final control over how a user intereacts with their PC.
What I’m getting at is if you are comparing Microsoft to Apple you are comparing a software company with a lifestyle company. Apple makes the only Mac hardware, they make the OS, they license the peripherals and keep close tabs on the software developed for their platform. Microsoft could never hope to acquire that control over the end user experience. How many non-tech people do you know that think “my computer sucks” because their email is slow? Or maybe they think they need a new computer because it’s always crashing, when all they need is new RAM. I’ve seen dozens of acquaintances and family members throw out their old machines because they loaded it down with so much spyware that it became unusable. THIS is their user experience and MS really doesn’t have anything to do with any of that.
I’m not saying Microsoft aren’t as good as Apple. I’m saying they probably shouldn’t even be compared other than in the areas in which they directly compete (operating systems).