Microsoft Embarrasses Itself with “PC vs. Mac” Web Site

Now that Apple has pulled the plug on its immensely popular “I’m a Mac” campaign, Microsoft has fired back with a new Web site called “PC vs. Mac: The PC has Blu-ray capability, more software choices, and more!” No, seriously, that’s the name.

When I first sat down to cover this momentous event, I had intended to just write up a quickie news piece and let our readers do the fun bit of deconstructing the whole thing and making mock of Big Redmond. I couldn’t, though. It’s just so bad, so…embarrassing for Microsoft, I couldn’t keep my snarky opinions to myself.

Lets start with the actress Microsoft is using to be the face of the Web site. She is apparently, “Deciding between a PC and a Mac.” She’s really cute, and everything, but her look in this photograph is way more smug than Justin Long ever threw at the camera in his role as “Mac” in Apple’s campaign. That’s just obnoxious!

PC vs. Mac

In any event, let’s look at some of the things MS is trying to sell us. In the title I mentioned above Microsoft is making the ability to play Blu-ray movies a major selling point on a PC. I’ll be the first to tell you I wish Apple would get over its attitude about Blu-ray, because I watch almost all of my TV and movies on a Mac.

So making this a selling point resonates with me, except for the small fact that playing a Blu-ray movie on a PC, while possible, isn’t possible out of the Windows box. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet pointed out that it requires installing a 3rd party Blu-ray player.

I don’t know, maybe that it’s possible makes it a fair enough claim, but it seems shady to me, and when you have 93% of the OS market share on the planet, you shouldn’t feel the need to stoop to shady ad campaigns.

Microsoft’s bullet points are that when it comes to Having Fun, Simplicity, Working Hard, Sharing, Compatibility, and Choice, the world of PC is the bee’s knees. For instance, did you know that you if you buy a Mac you’re limited to two colors, white or silver? Why, with the magical world of PCs you can find just about any color you want!

Never mind, of course, that it was Apple that first offered computes in colors other than beige and black, and never mind that it was the PC world that then (poorly) copied Apple.

Never mind that my defense of Apple there, too, because that bullet point is just kind of sad. The rest of them are a mixture of half-truths and real facts, with a little FUD thrown in for seasoning.

For instance, under “Simplicity,” Microsoft says that PCs are, “Intuitive, familiar, and easy to use, PCs do what you want: they just work.”

These are all the kind of things that have precisely drawn Windows users away from the Dark Side, but Microsoft is trying to claim the mantle of “it just works” by simply declaring it to be so. I think that’s the point that made me the most angry, that set me off into snarkyland.

Another fun thing about this page is the stream of tweets Microsoft has looping on the page. That’s right, they loop. They’re tweets from people talking about Windows 7, mostly, but the funny thing is that many of the ones I saw looping are people bitching about the upgrade process.

One read (and I’m quoting these verbatim, bad grammar and punctuation included), “finally upgrade to win7 completed.” Simondbull noted, “So far, Win 7 is running extremley [sic] well.”

Even from people talking up Windows 7, there’s this pervasive air of being surprised that the process didn’t suck, or that it was quick. It’s kind of funny (“It works! Win7 - nice”).

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of positive Windows 7 comments in there, too, but if you’re going to loop them, have someone vet them so that they all stick to the positive thematic refrains that really make your product look good?

Check it out, have fun with it while it’s there. Microsoft’s attempts to fight back against Apple have so far lurched about for a couple of weeks before the company either changes its mind or nixes the campaign.