Monday, November 26, 2007

Cute marketing ploys by Apple stretch the truth

Unless you’ve been living in a hole in the past year or so, the Apple computer ads should not be new to you. The ads star John Hodgeman as a PC and Justin Long as a Mac, and currently they are bashing Windows Vista, Microsoft’s latest operating system.

Sure, they’re cute and funny. However, Apple is starting to stretch the truth a bit with what it claims are problems with Vista, and Windows computers in general.

I’ll start with the ad titled “Tech Support”. The ad features PC, Mac, and an IT guy attempting to install a web camera on top of PC’s head. The point Apple is trying to make is that Macs come with a camera installed inside of the case. Whoo! Guess what? So do many PC laptops.

In the ad “Choose a Vista”, Apple pokes fun at the six different versions of Vista, claiming that there are far too many to choose from. Okay, six does seem like a lot. But, consider that Vista Starter isn’t sold in the US, and Vista Business and Vista Enterprise are intended for businesses (hence the names), leaving three versions to choose from: Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate. I’ll admit that Home Premium and Ultimate should be grouped into one; nevertheless Basic is a good alternative for people who don’t want all the bells and whistles of those two, more expensive, versions.

What really has maddened me over the last couple of weeks is the fact that they are complaining about how Vista is supposedly so terrible, and how people are switching back to XP. True, some people had problems. True, Microsoft has extended the life of XP. True, weak machines can’t handle Vista. Regardless, Vista is a serviceable operating system.

Since turning off Sidebar, system performance has increased noticeably. Sure, some will be quick to point out that I shut off one of the key features of Vista, but once it was gone I didn’t miss it. What I really appreciate about Vista is the general look and feel, the cool and very useful start menu search (Apple has Spotlight, but it’s in a weird spot in my mind), and the great security. I still don’t update near as much as I have to with my desktop that runs XP. Vista does what it needs to do for me.

To be completely honest, I would love to own a Macbook Pro. They are awesome computers as far as design and I’ve used a ton of OSX over the past four years. I’m sure I would still find myself using XP or Vista through Boot Camp however. Ideally, OSX, Ubuntu, and Vista would all be installed on the Macbook. That would be a great day in my book.

Mac may have the cutesy marketing, but Microsoft has the name. And until a new generation grows up on the new and improved Macs, Microsoft will continue to own the computer world. Even if Macs sustain this popularity hike, they may never grab a decent chunk of the market share.

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