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WATCH: Microsoft takes a swipe at Apple in a new ad
"Should we just play Chopsticks?" asks an exasperated Siri upon learning just what a Windows tablet can do
 

The last we saw of Microsoft, its Windows Phone was standing above the fray as iPhones and Androids went to war. Now Microsoft is leveling the cannons at the competition, aiming squarely at Apple.

Above is a new ad for Windows that showcases a bunch of the things you can't do on an iPad: Run apps side-by-side, put together a PowerPoint presentation (nevermind Keynote), and the like. The commercial is narrated by Siri, who after finding the iPad incapable of completing many of the tasks the Windows tablet can handle with ease, asks: "Should we just play Chopsticks?" (It's a twist on last fall's iPad Mini ad, included below.)

The final hammer is a side-by-side price comparison: $699 for a 64GB iPad versus $449 for the Windows 8 tab made by ASUS. (Although it's worth noting the most affordable full-sized iPad model starts at $499.)

"The message is clear," says Ian Paul at PC World. "The iPad is a child's toy next to a full featured Windows 8 tablet running Microsoft Office; it's cheaper and it's better."

Apple's "Hi, I'm a Mac" ads portrayed the Windows PC as a product for pencil-pushing buffoons. It was a distortion, but it was amusing and it enumerated many of the Mac's selling points over a Windows PC. Again, that's what counts. [PC World]

Others don't find Microsoft's latest spoof nearly as convincing. "Are iPad users, en masse, clamoring for multiple apps sharing the screen side-by-side? For PowerPoint? No," argues John Gruber at Daring Fireball. "This is pitched at people who don't like the iPad."

It's a bold strategy, nonetheless, and it may just be Microsoft's safest bet in the interim if it hopes to catch up to Apple, which commands 48 percent of the tablet market. "Direct competition and comparison with Apple's iPad is probably something that Windows 8 needs right now as consumers adapt to Microsoft's new operating system with its hooks to the legacy PC past," says Tom Warren at The Verge. "With over $1 billion set aside for its Windows 8 marketing blitz, this latest ad won't be the last we'll see from Microsoft."

 
Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Sometimes he writes about other stuff. His work has also appeared in TIME, Men's JournalEsquire, and The Atlantic.

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