Some of you may already be aware of the latest mini drama between rivals Apple and Microsoft.
The controversy stems from Microsoft’s “Laptop Hunters” ads, which seek to drive home a single idea: that a PC is cheaper than a Mac.
A PC Costs Less… Duh!
I already knew that… I think most of us knew that!
The “laptop hunters” campaign is one in which Microsoft gives consumers $1,000 to buy a laptop. With Macs starting at well over $1,000, the result is predictable: they buy a PC every time and even have some cash left over.
Ads Get Under Apple’s Skin?
Microsoft believes the ads are having an impact. So much so, in fact, that the company’s chief operating officer seemed to wet his pants with joy upon learning that Apple’s legal eagles had asked Microsoft to stop running the spots. He was so happy about the development that he shared it publicly as evidence the campaign is working.
Oh no, COO!
But there’s more to the story. Seems as if Apple simply asked Microsoft to stop running spots that had not been changed to reflect accurate pricing on Mac Books.
To me, Apple’s request is fair and reasonable. The wrong information is misleading and Microsoft should amend the spots before running them. Apple, from what I can decipher, did not ask its rival to terminate the overall campaign.
Sounds like over exuberance on the part of Microsoft’s COO. Certainly divulging Apple’s request without a full understanding of the facts is a chump move.
Microsoft’s Best-Price Rut
That Microsoft’s COO would embrace this story speaks to the depth of the company’s troubled position vs. Apple.
I can’t say it any better than John Dvorak in his piece in The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch: “Microsoft is stuck in the best-price rut.” See his full commentary.
As he rightly points out, Microsoft’s only focus is the low price of Windows-based computers over Mac Books. Price is the only benefit, the only differentiator. Microsoft doesn’t highlight any of the Mac Books’ limitations or downsides.
Meanwhile, Dvorak notes: “Apple has no qualms about blasting the vulnerability of the PC to viruses and other weaknesses.”
His advice to Microsoft: “… add some real personality and stick it to Apple with some genuine commentary about the flaws nobody talks about. The public can see the ‘best price’ part of the equation for themselves.”
I agree wholeheartedly with Dvorak. Microsoft’s best-price emphasis is largely ineffective in competing with Apple.
That’s because consumers who would be in the market for a Mac Book aren’t focused on price; they’re focused on value and quality. And that’s exactly what Apple addresses in its “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” spots.
Anyone who is only interested in the lowest cost will never buy a Mac Book. Most of us understand that quality costs more. In a battle of the brands, I’d rather be in the quality/value spot, each and every time.
Microsoft Earns Brand Chump Title
To me, Microsoft has earned the brand chump designation. Their “Laptop Hunters” campaign is flawed, and their excitement over Apple’s request that inaccurate ads be pulled is misguided.
Agree or Disagree? Sound Off
Do you agree? Should Microsoft wear the Brand Chump hat or do you see something I don’t?