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Microsoft posts, pulls questionable 'fly on the wall' anti-iPhone ad

updated 02:25 pm EDT, Sat September 14, 2013

Microsoft pulls questionable ads

Microsoft has removed a set of online ads of questionable taste from YouTube just hours after posting them. The ads, all under the theme "A fly on the wall in Cupertino?" showed fictional Apple designers pitching lackluster iPhone ideas to figures that resembled Apple design guru Jony Ive and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The ads, widely panned across the Internet, were but the latest in a string of Microsoft's attempts to draw attention away from iOS devices by way of parody.

The ads were posted from Microsoft's Windows Phone YouTube account. They mocked the fingerprint sensor on the new iPhone 5s and the plastic build of the iPhone 5c, among other things. At two minutes long, the ads were likely intended solely for Internet distribution.

Speaking with Cnet, a Microsoft representative said that the company had messed up in posting the ads and decided to pull them down.

The campaign "was intended to be a lighthearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we've decided to pull it down," the Microsoft rep said.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    These ads are a sign of desperation.

  1. cashxx

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-13-09

    To me that looks like Jobs when he was sick near the end of his life. I think that is bad taste on Microsoft's side. Someone made a horrible decision to make and release that crap and should be ashamed! Another article said it was supposed to be Tim Cook. That looks nothing like Tim Cook and again looks more like Steve near the end of his life.

  1. djbeta

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-11-04

    Any company that produced the Surface RT & Surface Pro really shouldn't be making fun of anyone. That thing was the single worst piece of technology crap I have ever seen in my many years as a tech professional. I feel really sorry for the suckers that buy anything Microsoft or Windows-related.

    I will be purchasing an iPhone 5s, because of all the incredible apps I rely on that are simply not available for any of the other devices (FileMaker Go, Traktor DJ, iZon home camera app) and.. the new smoking 64bit processor is going to make things like processing video and images on the device really fast. And, personally, I absolutely love Siri and the way it seamlessly integrates into my calendar, and works with my contacts. Google Now is pretty good and has the edge in speech recognition, but Siri is more powerful and USEFUL for my day-to-day work. Touch ID is a FANTASTIC idea because for the first time a tech device will have a fingerprint sensor that actually WORKS. More security is always a good idea. If I were CIO of a company I would only allow the purchase of iOS devices from this point on, until the "other guys" catch up to the level of security Apple has made standard.

  1. Meovv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-27-06

    It won't take more than 3-4 months before Microsoft announces a set of colored plastic phones, a gold colored luxury phone and an attempt to authenticate through a finger sensor.

    The man on the video who they pretended was supposed to be Tim Cook, but really targeted Steve Jobs, iwill in reality turn out to be Steve Ballmer.

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Yeah, I think even most Android users (or Windows users for that matter) would look at these ads and say they are a) in poor taste, b) not funny, c) ineffective at promoting MS or its products and d) really shockingly poorly-made, even by MS ad standards.

    Most Mac users/iOS users not only CAN take a joke, they LOVE a good joke about Apple or Mac/iOS. Look at the stuff Conan's been doing, Mac/iPhone users laugh right along with others. These MS ads are just amazingly bad, and yes seem a little desperate. You can bet the actors involved aren't putting those spots on their resumes ...

  1. Zanziboy

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-27-08

    It's sad that Microsoft has to stoop to this level to try to steal our money to make us buy Nokia phones. Terrible to see they used an emaciated actor to play the ailing Steve Jobs. What's next? Will Microsoft have Windows Phone users dancing and spitting on Steve Jobs' grave at Alta Mesa?

  1. coffeetime

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Yeah, MS has a point. It took months for Apple to come out with ideas. I am sure it takes a couple of hours for MS to come out with idea..... by watching Apple Keynote.

  1. mojkarma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 10-13-11

    Let me say in first place that I'm a Mac only user.
    Now, to the point:
    1. Microsoft has pulled this advertisement off. So, it's absolutely pointless to comment it.
    2. My personal opinion - Apple had that Mac vs. PC advertisement and it was absolutely equally idiotic. That's the word. It was simply idiotic how Apple presented the "PC".

    Now, you all primitive fanboys can continue to comment on MS and make a fool of yourself. I'm convinced that Apple is the company which makes the far better OS, buth their Mac vs. PS advertisement was an insult even for idiots. When I remember how the PC guy was presented. Geez, only an idiot can like that...

  1. mpetrides

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-09-02

    Definitely not a questionable video at all. It is, in fact, a boring video in distinctly poor taste. Whine, whine, whine....

    I realize humor is a very individual thing, but the Mac vs PC ads were hilarious IMHO. This, OTOH, was flat out boring. That it was also in poor taste is almost immaterial--since the lack of humor alone suffices to make it a complete and utter waste of time.

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    Originally Posted by mojkarmaView Post

    Now, you all primitive fanboys can continue to comment on MS and make a fool of yourself. I'm convinced that Apple is the company which makes the far better OS, buth their Mac vs. PS advertisement was an insult even for idiots. When I remember how the PC guy was presented. Geez, only an idiot can like that...



    Oh man, so glad you're here to show us all the error of our ways! Have mercy on us, mojkarma, because we are but poor, stupid fanboys.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    He's right, though. The Mac vs. PC ads only appealed to consumers who already purchased Apple products.

    Insulting the customer demographic you're trying to woo - you know, PC users - is a pretty terrible idea. I'm glad that ad campaign is gone. It was petty and insulting.

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    He's right, though. The Mac vs. PC ads only appealed to consumers who already purchased Apple products.



    Wait...you have data showing that the ads were ineffective? Or are you extrapolating your own personal experiences? It's one thing to say that the ads were cheeky, disingenuous, or flat out dishonest, but it's another thing entirely to say they only appealed to current Apple users and persuaded no one to switch. I'd like to see those numbers.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    I don't have numbers, sweetheart. I know that you're incapable of comprehending an opinion without months or years of empirical data to justify it, but it doesn't change that those ads were insulting to PC users.

    God. I was thinking maybe you were starting to be sane again, but you have to go back to your insatiable lust for numbers when we're talking about opinions. I don't give a shit if you liked the ads. I thought they were insulting. Deal with it.

    And no, I'm not the only one who thinks they were insulting. Imagine that!

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    How the hell is:

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    The Mac vs. PC ads only appealed to consumers who already purchased Apple products.



    an opinion? It's not an opinion. It's a hypothesis that is easy to prove or disprove.

    Oh wait,

    Originally Posted by LaminarView Post

    Or are you extrapolating your own personal experiences?



    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    I thought they were insulting.



    Ah, business as usual. Carry on with your condescension.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    The thing is, you're so particular about what you'll accept as valid thought that there's no point in even trying to engage you in conversation.

    It's not a ridiculous conclusion to postulate than an advertising scheme that belittles its viewers and makes its already-fans out to be "better" would be an insulting way to get the point across. Those stupid ads rarely actually gave any real data as to WHY you should switch to a Mac. Instead, it made fun of shit that was completely irrelevant (like comparing OS X to Windows 98) and generally acted as though if you use a PC, you're a lame, fuddy-duddy, square, uncreative businessman, and if you want to be hip and artistic, you should get a Mac.

    Which is hilarious because the Apple universe is completely locked down. You'd think free-thinking artistic types would like the freedom that Android and Windows provide over iOS and OS X.

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    The thing is, you're so particular about what you'll accept as valid thought that there's no point in even trying to engage you in conversation.



    "I felt insulted by the PC vs. Mac ads" is absolutely a valid thought and worthy of discussion. "The Mac vs. PC ads were ineffective" is absolutely not an opinion, but a hypothesis that data can support or reject.

    Do you see the difference?

    Which is hilarious because the Apple universe is completely locked down. You'd think free-thinking artistic types would like the freedom that Android and Windows provide over iOS and OS X.

    "Free-thinking artistic types" don't want to **** with rooting, custom ROMs, and editing registry values. They just want to make art, and they choose the tools that provide the lowest barrier between them and the art. ;)

  1. mindwaves

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-24-00

    The ads are fine if they left Steve out of there.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    He's right, though. The Mac vs. PC ads only appealed to consumers who already purchased Apple products.

    Insulting the customer demographic you're trying to woo - you know, PC users - is a pretty terrible idea. I'm glad that ad campaign is gone. It was petty and insulting.



    It actually worked fine on the people who realized that the Mac and PC in those commercials represented the SYSTEMS, not the users.

    And I think it's pretty unanimously accepted that "PC Guy" was far more endearing than the Mac.

  1. Meovv

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-27-06

    It won't take more than 3-4 months before Microsoft announces a set of colored plastic phones, a gold colored luxury phone and an attempt to authenticate through a finger sensor.

    The man on the video who they pretended was supposed to be Tim Cook, but really targeted Steve Jobs, iwill in reality turn out to be Steve Ballmer.

  1. Hawkeye_a

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 04-30-00

    Originally Posted by shifuimamView Post

    I don't have numbers, sweetheart. I know that you're incapable of comprehending an opinion without months or years of empirical data to justify it, but it doesn't change that those ads were insulting to PC users.

    God. I was thinking maybe you were starting to be sane again, but you have to go back to your insatiable lust for numbers when we're talking about opinions. I don't give a shit if you liked the ads. I thought they were insulting. Deal with it.

    And no, I'm not the only one who thinks they were insulting. Imagine that!



    I have no problem with "negative advertizing" as were the Mac vs PC ads. The difference between the Mac vs PC ads and this 'skit' from Microsoft is that Apple were actually promoting their products in their ads. In the Microsoft 'skit' there isnt even a mention of the product(s) Microsoft is trying to sell as an alternative.

    And i'm sure the Microsoft fan found the Mac vs PC ads insulting, but that does not mean they were ineffective in convincing many a windows user to switch during that period.

    This skit reeks of an unhealthy obsession with Apple, and just in very very poor taste to have a stand in for the late Steve Jobs. With the millions Microsoft wasted on Surface and the amount they already spend on marketing, you'd thing they'd be able to hire some competent people in that department. Maybe this just goes to show that no matter how rich one is, or how much money they throw away, there is no correlation with 'taste' and 'style'.

  1. andi*pandi

    Moderator

    Joined: 06-19-00

    In the only video I can still find, the employees call the "sickly stevish character" T, which means maybe it is supposed to be Tim. But I think Tim has more hair than that. Poor taste.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    Oddly, I can remember John Hodgman, but not the other guys name. Frankly, I can't understand why anyone would take his role as a personal affront. He's a funny guy, that John. The subject matter was not users, but computers.

    But that's all been said before...

    I think the ads made more sense if you imagined it was Balmer's back to the camera. That's more likely the historically accurate situation. Apple announces new product offerings and Microsoft hurries to duplicate what it can and minimize the damage. Not any funnier, but it makes more sense. ;)

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