Well, if the comments below this Windows 8 ad on YouTube and the posts written about it on The Verge, Gizmodo, 9to5Mac, Apple Insider and others are any indication, it seems that Microsoft just struck an old Mac vs PC nerve. Intentionally.
Mac vs PC is over, and apparently Microsoft wants iOS vs Windows 8 to begin.
A few thoughts:
1) Siri is talking without the little purple microphone popup, but I’ll excuse it. (Windows 8 also has no built-in Siri alternative, but whatever, not the point here).
2) It’s interesting that Microsoft’s own Surface tablet isn’t being compared to the iPad – I’m not sure why. Maybe the Asus VivoTab Smart (!) competes on price more favorably than the Surface does, or maybe the Atom processor is more comparable to the iPad. It seems a bit odd, either way.
3) Siri’s pronunciation of the word “update” is a little difficult to recognize. I had to re-watch that part a couple of times to understand her. Might just be me.
It’s also difficult to see why an always-updating home screen is better than the iPad’s static one in 2 seconds – I just see colorful squares moving around before the camera cuts. Siri doesn’t really need to apologize about not having that. (It’s possible that the viewer has seen previous Windows 8 ads and appreciates the feature, but I’m not so sure)
4) Microsoft Word is probably more popular than PowerPoint, but I can see why they chose to advertise PowerPoint instead – it’s more colorful, lets them make the iPad’s version of keynote look bland, and helps them dodge the complication of typing something with an on-screen keyboard using the desktop version of Office.
5) Having Siri play chopsticks on the piano – a very basic song that looks a lot less impressive than the iPad mini ad’s rendition of Heart and Soul – was a really smart move. The original piano ad is still really clever and fun, but Microsoft’s angle is that the ad supports the idea that the iPad is more of a secondary “toy” than a full computer capable of replacing an aging laptop. That’s not really the case for many people, but I imagine many viewers will sympathize with that notion, at least a bit.
6) The price comparison at the end is obviously slanted, ignoring a number of important caveats that Microsoft doesn’t want to discuss. The 64 GB VivoTab Smart only has 34 GB of free space, for example, while the 64 GB iPad has 57 GB. This fact has been discussed in the tech sphere previously, but I don’t think this ad’s audience is aware of that. A 32 GB iPad for $599 would probably be more comparable.
This $449 price also doesn’t factor in the cost of the Microsoft Office suite ($140), which the ad implies is included but actually isn’t on the Atom-based VivoTab. The obvious hardware quality differences are also de-emphasized: the VivoTab’s 1366×768 display doesn’t really compete with the iPad’s 2048×1536 Retina display.
But whatever; this kinda sleazy price comparison image, combined with the awkward backdrop of chopsticks, is going to stick into the average TV viewer’s mind, and that’s what Microsoft wants.
Mission accomplished, but bleh.
This ad is clearly a burn on the iPad and iOS, but Microsoft needs to follow its “less talking, more doing” slogan when it comes to Windows 8 and its own tablets as well. Windows 8 may not be another Vista in terms of the public’s general perception, but it hasn’t been as well-received as Windows 7 either. There’s some damage control to be done (warranted or not).
So yes, credit where credit is due – this ad will get the attention it seeks – but Windows 8 tablets still need to improve quite a bit (in terms of both hardware and software) before they’re the no-brainer this ad makes them out to be.
Believe it or not, PowerPoint isn’t the greatest leverage when wooing iPad owners.