Mac Vs PC Gets A New Twist

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has stepped up its marketing by explicitly targeting rival Apple and the Mac. The Redmond-based firm has produced a six-point checklist designed to show the "superiority" of PCs, albeit they're six carefully selected points.

In many commercial markets the top-selling brand does not acknowledge rivals, while those smaller brands often make direct comparisons to their bigger competitors. Historically, that has been the case with personal computing: while Microsoft has simply touted its own strengths, Apple has run the ongoing "I'm a PC, I'm a Mac" campaign.

Microsoft Follows Up on "Laptop Hunters"

That changed with Microsoft's "laptop hunters" campaign last year, in which ordinary people were given a fixed budget to buy a computer that met their needs.

Participants consistently rejected Macs as too expensive and, in some cases, made derogatory comments about Apple's brand status. Though the TV spots were clearly promotional material, Microsoft tried to give the impression it was the shoppers, not them, issuing the knocks.

Now the company has launched a section on its Windows 7 promotional site which directly compares Windows 7 PCs against Macs. It makes the comparisons in six categories: choice, compatibility, having fun, sharing, simplicity and working hard. (Source:

Many of the points the comparison makes are perfectly legitimate: it notes more games are available for PCs, that PCs are must customizable, and even that PCs come in a wider range of colors.

Some Microsoft Claims Fuzzy

Not all points appear legit: the site argues that PCs are easier to use than Macs for people already used to PCs, and that Macs don't connect to the (Microsoft-produced) Xbox 360.

There's also the note that "If there's a Mac version of a program you need, you'll have to buy it again and relearn how to use it on a Mac." That's true, but is hardly a great endorsement for the various applications Microsoft produces for Macs such as a special edition of the Office suite. (Source:

And of course, there's what's missing from the comparison. For example, there's no mention of security. Whether it's down to inherent design differences, or simply that the larger Windows user base is more attractive to hackers, few people dispute that Mac users have less to worry about when it comes to viruses.

Still, it's certainly an interesting development in Microsoft's marketing strategy for Windows. If nothing else, it suggests Microsoft fears Apple might be making inroads into the market for casual computer users who aren't particularly interested in either style or technical specifications.

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