updated 03:01 pm EST, Sat December 7, 2013
Microsoft belittles cheap Google notebooks
Microsoft has released yet another ad targeting Google's low-cost Chromebook computers, as the nascent OS competition between the two tech giants continues to grow. Running nearly two minutes, the ad features a Microsoft spokesperson interviewing passersby on the street in Venice Beach, comparing the alleged failings of Google's low-cost netbook-like devices to the capabilities of low-cost Windows 8 devices. The ad is the latest salvo in a long campaign by Microsoft to disparage the search giant, which it says provides inferior services and "steals" users' data.
In the spot, Microsoft evangelist Ben-the-PC-Guy runs across a number of "everyman" PC users. He challenges the notion that Google's Chromebook devices are "all you need in a laptop," largely by pointing out that the notebooks will not run Microsoft services or programs like Photoshop.
The spot shows Microsoft's increasing wariness about its position in the new computing paradigm. Its Windows 8 platform has struggled to gain traction in the mobile market, and Microsoft does not want to risk ceding any territory in the notebook space, even to a minuscule player like Google's Chrome OS.
Previous entries in Microsoft's Scroogled campaign have described Chromebook devices as "worthless bricks." The series of negative ad spots is likely the brainchild of Mark Penn, a former pollster and political strategist who became Microsoft's vice president of advertising and strategy last year. Since Penn's hiring, Microsoft has taken a more aggressive, more negative tone in its competition with Google. In touting its Bing search engine, Microsoft tells viewers that Google "steals" their data in order to serve them ads. Its anti-Chromebook ads have taken a similar tack, telling viewers that the devices feed data to Google all of the time.