Microsoft's new anti-Apple ad: Hardware is cheap!

Microsoft kicked off a new Crispin Porter + Boguksy-produced Ad campaign today with an advertisement aimed at people struggling in a tough economy.  The ad doesn't really focus on Microsoft's Operating System software.  In fact, nowhere during the commercial does Vista even make an appearance.  I'll sum up the message for you:

"We allow our software to be installed on really cheap machines"

The hardware in question is the $699 at Best Buy HP - Pavilion Laptop.  The price goes up to $850 with Vista Pro.

It is the epitome of what people dislike about PCs. 

- It runs Vista Home on a slower AMD mobile processor.  AMD makes some very good mobile processors, this one isn't at the top of the list.

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From Best Buy's own review of this product:

Most of the systems in the Budget section of our Winter 2009 Retail Roundup (covering laptops from $600 to $899), have Intel's 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo T6400 CPU, but the HP dv7-1245dx was one of the few to use a 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 Dual-Core RM-72. While we were able to use the dv7 for normal multitasking and media playback, the two AMD-powered systems in our lineup fell behind the pack in our benchmark tests. 

- It has DDR2 RAM which is what $300 Netbooks run.  This is the type of setup that sparked the "Made for Vista" lawsuits. Sure, DDR3 RAM is new and slightly more expensive but why buy older technology?

- The screen is abysmal.  One reviewer said this model series "has the worst screen I have ever seen in my life. It's the 1440x900 screen and the viewing angles are so poor that even when sitting directly eye level with the screen it is totally washed out. If I go a little bit off-axis the screen results in a negative image. I was using the default settings. Unfortunately I didn't read reviews before i purchased."  Ouch!

- It is loaded up with trial crapware and trial antivirus software that will need to be purchased or wiped offf the machine.  Most people prefer to just format the drive and start with a fresh install of Windows (XP or 7).

-  The networking is five years old.  802.11G wireless and 100Mb Ethernet are surpassed by $300 Netbooks.  2004 called.  It wants its motherboard back.

- The battery is said to last 2.5 hours.  Real world usage on all laptops is always close to around half of that.  That likely means you can't watch a full movie on a battery charge.  It also means that it will probably poop out on that commuter flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

- The thing is almost two inches thick and weighs in at almost eight pounds.  Do you think that PC buyer wants to be hauling that thing around?  She didn't look like she spend her afternoons pumping iron on Venice Beach.

And, after all, this machine is a piece of ... hardware.  Microsoft makes software.  You could just as easily throw Linux on that laptop - or even Mac OS with the Hackintosh hack.

Again, the takeway is that Microsoft will install their software on an extremely shoddy computer.

And this poor girl, the actress that Microsoft hired to play a person who is not an actress, is going to get a heavy, bulky slow Vista Home machine with a poor display, old networking equipment and weak battery loaded up with crapware. 

"I'm a PC!"

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Bravo Microsoft.

If I were running the show over there, I'd point to the ASUS Eee 1000HE running XP.  It really is different from anything Apple (currently) has in its lineup and offers the user a genuinely good experience for a recession friendly price.

Check out Preston Gralla's take here.

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