Well, it’s a big day for Microsoft! Their first official retail stores are dated and partially located, Gates mentions that Project Natal is coming to Windows, and now it appears that Apple has cried uncle with the Laptop Hunters ads. Actually, it probably depends on who you ask. Microsoft will say that its shopping farces were effective, not just on consumers but on the competition as well. Apple might say that their prices have become more competitive after a recent price drop on certain models, so the ads aren’t accurate any more — if they say anything at all.
As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between. But a little whining from Apple isn’t going to stop Microsoft from running the ads. After all, Apple didn’t stop running its “Twice as fast, half the price” ads after they admitted its claims weren’t “statements of fact.” Why should Microsoft stop running a consumer dog-and-pony show that has them coming out on top?
From the transcript of a presentation at the Worldwide Partner Conference today:
And you know why I know they’re working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey — this is a true story — saying, “Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.” They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business. (Applause.)
I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, “Is this a joke? Who are you?” Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we’re just going to keep running them and running them and running them.
What the real content of that phone call was, we’ll never know — probably something along the lines of “Your ads aren’t really taking into account pricing changes we’ve made.” I doubt Apple would actually ask Microsoft to stop running the things. But the truth is that the ads, however much we may rail against them as artificial and the choices made in them as unwise, seem to have done Microsoft nothing but good among the not-bloggers crowd.
They can’t run them forever, covering every $50 increment and price point, but as long as they’re effective, why not? The retail store will be a whole new adventure for them (dangerous, too) and they can make some wacky, misleading ads for that come the end of Summer. They’re on a roll I tells you!