Microsoft spent hundreds of millions of dollars last year to try and undo the damage Apple’s “I’m a Mac/I’m A PC” ad campaign had done to their image. Judging from the infomercial they produced for Microsoft Songsmith (a software that lets you… well, read panel one in the comic) it only took about $500 to negate all of their damage control efforts and solidify their image as the ultimate “we still don’t get it” company.
By “it” I am referring to “cool” not quality. Microsoft products may fit your needs perfectly and that’s just fine. I used them for over a decade before switching to a Mac and the biggest complaint I had was Windows XP Networking and file sharing NEVER working the same way from day to day or machine to machine. Other than that I was able to compute to my hearts desire. To each his own. So, while I am not suggesting that their product is actually inferior to their competition’s, I am asserting that their marketing department is a butthole chewing dumbass factory (literally a factory that manufactures dumbasses that chew on their own buttholes for sustenance). Did you watch the infomercial? Watch it! Seriously. It’s like an exercise in lack of self awareness. Blade Runners actually administer that video as part of the Voight-Kampff test to identify potential replicants. If the subject doesn’t laugh at first, then slowly start to stare in shivering disbelief, they know it’s a synthetic and “retire” it on the spot.
Now, I said MS’s products weren’t ALL inherently inferior… Songsmith certainly is the exception. It is a product that fills no need. I have been to the internet and I promise you there weren’t any kids there clammering for a software that adds 1990’s-esque midi jams to their bittersweet lyrics about ponies and ninjas and such. It’s supply on one side and an absolute vacuum of demand on the other.
Luckily the internet occasionally giveth more than it taketh away. And it hath giveth a plentiful bounty, ten fold… a bunch of mash ups of modern song lyrics backed by Songsmith’s instrumental stylings. They are truly horrifying to behold. UPDATE: Turns out the Songsmith Classics were created by HE reader azz100c. There are more horrors on her blog entertainmentweakly.com/blog.
- A more in depth and less snarky review of Songsmith from ARS
Voice Box – electronic harmonizer (awesome music tech I am totally excited about)
Zune Sales Down 54 Percent: Will Microsoft Fight to Save Its Digital-Music Player?
I love teh stranger danger!
As I recall, "STranger Danger!" is Ralph Wiggum's policy on immigration.
Looks like Chris and Peter Griffin aren't the only older-than-6-ers who "need an adult!"
I wonder what they smoke at Microsoft recently , but I'd like it if they could share some of it D:
They polled people who saw the Mac ads, and they all said the ad made them hate the Mac guy more. Even Mac users hated Justin Long and thought pre-fame Hodgman was cute and rotund.
The Microsoft "Im A PC" ads were pretty decent. They had philosophers and stuff. I still think they were going places with the Seinfeld ads.
I think they should make a Mac Vs PC ad where John Hodgman kills and bury's Jake Long in the back yard. That would be hilarious.
Yeah, even MacHeads consider the character assassination commercials to be dirty pool. Though some of them are funny as hell. And PC Hodgman is a gift to the world.
Stranger danger, roflcopter.
BTW can we please not start with the first BS.
You said a thing about dicks.
Am I suppose to want to sing the title of the strip to the tune of "Like a Virgin"? That infomercial was… I have no words.
The sweat on Balmer is an excellent touch. Great comic!
He makes his own gravy.
I think Songsmith is a tech demo or proof of concept for something a lot bigger coming down the line. Most of what I've seen on YouTube is awful, but there were some pretty cool ones using the vocal tracks from big songs where the software *almost* got it right and came up with some pretty good covers.
Balmer is a c*nt though. At least Bill was a greasy geek who made billions by duping IBM, Balmer is a techno-facist. Anybody who describes Linux and the open-source movement as a "cancer of the software world" needs raping with a large explosive.
And the way he prances around the stage like an alcoholic uncle at a wedding is just embarrassing.
ITYM "exception" not "acception"…. but ROFL at the comic 😉
you beat me to it
got it, thanks.
I heard on This Week in Tech that the infomercial thing was made and paid for by the dev team for Songsmith because Microsoft didn't want to market it (because it is phenomenally silly).
I feel a little bad for those guys. They want to go and make a fun product that'll let people be a little bit creative and are so enthusiastic about it they go and hire a production company to make a commercial for them, and then half the internet goes and tears them a new one.
You've got to admit the Roxanne Songsmith is god damned hilarious.
See I sympathize. They obviously worked hard on something, but the final product was laughable. Why not make an easy to use synth with drag and drop beats and market it to kids. The whole "you sing and we take care of the rest" is pointless as far as Im concerned.
I'm curious why the dev team decided to use a mac to demonstrate the product in the infomercial though.
Hah! I just noticed the fresh-squozen Ballmer juice on his shirt, nice. The background choice worked really well with the colors of B-man and Goblin.
Woah, I just found out Ballmer's kids aren't allowed to use iPods or GOOGLE! Muthacrumpin' Google! I haven't used Live search since… I've never used Live. Or Live. What the fuck is Live anyway? I use Vista and I don't even know.
Woah, I just found out Ballmer's kids aren't allowed to use iPods or GOOGLE! Muthacrumpin' Google! I haven't used Live search since… I've never used Live search. Or Live. What the fuck is Live anyway? I use Vista and I don't even know.
Oh, and I love the Mr. Rogers-like first line to this one: "What's wrong Steve Ballmer?"
Yeah, I work there and WE don't even know what Live is supposed to be. Other than "it's Web 2.0!"
True story: When the Zune came out, they put bins at the doors of the buildings for people to dump their ipods.
I would have put a false bottom in those bins and collected all the ipods.
"Balmer Balm: You're Soaking in it"
As the individual responsible for the "Classic Hits by Microsoft Songsmith" series on YouTube, I am getting a kick out of today's comic.
Thank you for your rendition of Billy Idol's "White Wedding". Sounds more like a hoedown than a rock song.
I'd include a link, but ID is being a douche bag right now.
Your "Beat It" cover I actually like, I mean it's terrible but it actually sounds coherent, if I'm making sense.
You're welcome (And Long Train Running is better, it's almost a decent cover version) Love the Ballad version of Eye of the Tiger 🙂
Dude! You're a meme-starter! Very nice work. I'll change the post to give you credit. Glad you dug the comic.
NPR played a medley of a bunch of them during Day To Day yesterday afternoon. It was pretty awesome, even if their attitude was basically "here's someone so lazy she doesn't even make her own music."
I guess they dont understand the "remixes as art" concept. Needless to say, MS developers worked for countless hours JUST so you could do this. Songsmith will never be used for anything better.
Interestingly, I have received email from Microsoft praising my talents. I guess it's true that there's no such thing as bad publicity.
pause the songsmith video at 3:15. thats pretty much my reaction.
oh god why
Because your expression in the third panel is hilarious.
No……words….should….have …ss..sent a comic….
Yes I made a Contact joke….and it was well worth it! 😀
OH MY CHRIST that is the funniest thing I've seen this century! Poor Microsoft—I think they need to give up trying to "be cool" and accept that they're good a "being business". But who, who allowed that ad on teh Intarwebs?! Someone in Microsoft's marketing department needs to be shot (for this and for the Seinfeld weirdness).
And thank you, Arcys, for the idea to look up White Wedding, I nearly peed myself.
thats sort of my point. There's "useful" and then theres "cool." They arent the same thing and thats not necessarily a problem. The first Android phone is MORE useful than the iPhone but it isnt half as cool (yet). Stick to your strengths. Apple purposefully sacrifices common features you would expect with a smart phone just to keep the user experiences flowing the way they want it to. Its annoying but its what you get with apple. Open source phones are going to have infinitely more functionality but they arent going to be as slick.
yeah. as much as i want an iPhone, i really want open source phones to surpass Apple. in coolness and quality.
I like how the end of the commercial makes it seem like Songsmith saved their troubled marriage. "Finally, we can narrate our sex life and put it to shitty midi tunes!" This thing is amazing in the most terrible sense of the word.
Poor Richard Cheese….with song smith out there now he's out of a job. :'(
I believe he already retired, or is about to retire, anyway. But nothing beats Richard Cheese. Ever.
re: commercial. maybe they were going for the stuck in the 80s, Ross Gellar loser vibe.
its funny you say that becuase the first thing I thought of was the old casio keyboards that would play entire songs based on which ever single key you hit.
i remember them cause i own one. *blush*
Funnily enough, they're considered highly retro-cool these days, and a whole scene has grown up around them. Funny old world, eh?
I got my flatmates to crowd round to see this as we love microsoft ads and well, those were four minuets of possible the most horrified, stunned silence I have ever experienced. We all just sat down and couldn't speak from thirty seconds afterward.
That was just…wow. In completely the wrong sense of the word.
Funny as hell! I love the way Balmer looks so angry chanting his mantra at the end there!
Another splendiferous comic strip!
For some reason I really want a glow-in-the-dark towel…
Like your drawings of Balmer. He looks sorta melty – like he was splashed with toxic waste. That may explain a lot about his behavior.
I found a really bad infomercial from Apple that I'm guessing they wished never happened. This one was actually aired on television in the early 90s.
No joke, I used to watch this late at night all the time. It made me want a Performa SO FREAKING BAD! I had no idea they were like 4 g's at the time.
Also this was made when Steve was away. The Dark Times.
Yep. I thought it was funny how they hinted the PC was pretty expensive, but never revealed the Performa price. Also, after watching it again, I got the impression that the Grandpa dude was some kind of perv.
And to be fair, the Newton was engineered during The Dark Times. Otherwise, it was a very bad time for Apple.
Off topic but how is it you are missing out on this kind of important bacon update?
hmm… something's up with your autolinking… but just google "the Bacon Explosion"
Better fix your tags, Ballmer is spelled with two L's. 😛
…And yet if it had been released by UnknownSoftwareCompany, which is actually three roommates at MIT, as an app for iPhone, the world would be raving about how amazing it is.