New Microsoft Vista commercials fall flat

By Paul Cruse III

Hi, I’m not a PC and neither should you. Though this may sound like something Stephen Colbert would say, the point is that Windows-based PCs are finally being unveiled for the difficult machines that they really are. According to CNN Money, Apple sales are up 66 percent since 2007 and currently holds about 25 percent of the U.S. consumer market. Feeling the heat, Microsoft is attempting to fight back with a new ad campaign, known as “Life without Walls.” And like a blind man at a shooting range, Microsoft’s commercials aren’t hitting their mark.

Microsoft’s new ads are about as informative as FOX News. The campaign started off with the confusing “Windows Mojave Experiment,” followed by the pitifully unfunny “Seinfeld & Gates” segments, and continues with the latest installment, the “I’m a PC” commercials.

The Mojave Experiment, like the old Pepsi challenge commercials, shows some random consumer testing the “new,” unreleased Mojave operating system. After the tester awes in amazement, he’s told the “new” product is actually Windows Vista, which has been out for about two years. My biggest complaint about the commercials is that they never show what the user saw.

In an attempt to find out, I ventured to MojaveExperiment.com, to learn more. After being forced to install some new beta program to run the site properly, all I got were more first person perspectives of what people thought of Windows Vista. Not once did I receive a breakdown of key features or specs of the software.

The worst commercials are the latest “I’m a PC” ads that attempt to evoke sympathy for PC users. They remind me of an A.A. meeting where a bunch of people stand up and try to come to grips with their computing inferiority. For example, there is a graffiti artist who says “I’m a PC, and I challenge the law” then continues to deface public property. He probably has to spray paint on walls because his PC is too puny and buggy to handle most graphic design software.

The Web site for the “I’m a PC” commercial does even less to tell you about Vista. It asks visitors to submit videos expressing their love for Windows. It makes sense that Microsoft wouldn’t want to bring up the facts about Vista because it wouldn’t want to draw attention to its flaws.

It turns out that Microsoft is being sued over Vista. Businesses that purchased it as an upgrade to their systems are finding their hardware can’t handle it, even though they were told it would be able to. Turns out even Microsoft big wigs are having problems. Memos between executives that express their difficulties with the software are being presented as evidence in a pending lawsuit.

Unlike Microsoft commercials, Apple commercials take the time to inform viewers about their product. They tell you how there are no viruses for Macs, how the operating system is more stable, how Macs can recognize almost any auxiliary hardware like cameras and printers and the list goes on. They even provide instructional videos that completely show all the features and specs of Mac’s operations system.

Some people might say that Macs are too expensive, but what most fail to realize is that though the price tag may be slightly higher, the cost of ownership is significantly lower. Whereas most new PCs need to be upgraded to work properly. Plus, they usually come with a bunch of secondary software you end up uninstalling because it slows down your system. Macs come with iLife which has a bundle of programs that you will actually use. Not to mention additional software for Mac is cheaper. For example, Microsoft Office 2007 for PCs costs $149.99, and Office Mac 2008 costs $79.99. Above all, the operating system is extremely stable mainly because the operating system and hardware are made by the same company.

The advantages of a Mac are too many to list in just one column. Hopefully, Microsoft will step up and deliver an operating system worth our time. But if you question your PC and wonder why you see so many Macs on campus, ask a friend with a Mac to find out.

Paul is a senior in computer and political science and loves his Microsoft Xbox 360. He’s getting ready for Gears of War 2.