Apple pressures Microsoft to cease laptop hunter ads?

By Justin Mann on July 16, 2009, 4:18 PM
Whether online or on TV, you have probably seen at least one of Microsoft’s ads in their most recent “Laptop Hunter” campaign. For those who haven’t seen it, the premise is simple; Give someone $1,000 and tell them to buy any laptop they want. Invariably, the person walks out of a store with a Windows-based PC, with comparisons being made throughout the choosing process that portray Apple’s machines as simply too expensive. A clever approach, and one that may be working out for Microsoft.

So much indeed that apparently Apple has been pressuring them to pull the ads. Whether this means the Mac maker is threatening legal action or simply trying to strong-arm isn't clear. The company is essentially saying that Microsoft's ads are based on old pricing structures, as they’ve recently updated their laptop line and lowered some of their prices.

Apple believes the ads aren't fair, but if you take Microsoft COO Kevin Turner’s word for it, they have no intention of ceasing them. You can read the full transcript from where Mr. Turner’s commentary was taken here.

Is Apple really putting pressure on Microsoft? They’ve certainly enjoyed poking merciless fun at Vista with their “I’m a Mac” ads, so do they actually expect Microsoft drop their price-focused campaign on grounds that it is outdated? Personally, I think taking this matter into legal territory would be a PR disaster for Apple. What’s your take?




User Comments: 62

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ColdFusion1990 ColdFusion1990 said:

So Apple is allowed to make PC's look like complete ****** in their commercials, but Microsoft isn't allowed to say Macs are too expensive in theirs?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I'm not buying this. Since when does Apple "pressure" MS on any of their ads? They usually just come up with a better ad...

Guest said:

giggles at above comment. Ya apple can lie about problems with vista that where fixed with SP1 but they cry about the truth in apple pricing. This just makes me laugh. talk about poor sports and hypocrites. this is almost as bad as when they said their laptops could run off the same amount of power as a lightbulb.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

This just makes me laugh. talk about poor sports and hypocrites. this is almost as bad as when they said their laptops could run off the same amount of power as a lightbulb.

I'm not familiar with that story, but most laptops whether they are Apple or PCs will easily run off the power it takes to power a lightbulb. The highest power consuming Apple laptop is their 17" MBP. It uses an 85W power adapter and you can use the computer and still have it charge the battery so most (if not all) of the time its using less than 85W.

Guest said:

I thought Apple was proud that their overpriced notebooks were overpriced. Isn't that part of the snob appeal of owning one of those stylish things? No one buys a mac to save money over a comparable PC....do they?

InsaneVr6 said:

I have to say that MS's new commercials are great. I don't think its good publicity to ask the other company to stop though. I never remember MS asking Apple to stop the Im a Mac commercials, just make a better commercial.

They will always be rivals, and this is what rivals do, but Apple was not smart to ask them to stop.

PC FTW!

eafshar said:

i thought macs where more expensive for their "built quality".. plz give us a break and stop acting like a little kid.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I doubt the validity of the story. Lets look at what we know here:

It is being reported from comments made by Microsoft COO Kevin Turner

And you know why I know they're working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey -- this is a true story -- saying, "Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices." They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business.

Its phrased to seem like it was a legal threat, it seems unlikely a legal threat would be placed to the COO of Microsoft for some ads.

If it was a legal threat it would be done through a Cease and Desist letter not a phone call.

It is more likely that it was a friendly request to get Microsoft to quit quoting old notebook prices in the commercials. I believe one commercial even shows a shot of a 15" MBP for $1999, its current price is $1899. So Apple does have a right to request that Microsoft not show old prices for Apple hardware.

The whole thing just seems like there was a lot of truth stretching going on to end up making people think Apple wants to play unfair.

Justin Justin said:

It is more likely that it was a friendly request to get Microsoft to quit quoting old notebook prices in the commercials. I believe one commercial even shows a shot of a 15" MBP for $1999, its current price is $1699. So Apple does have a right to request that Microsoft not show old prices for Apple hardware.

The whole thing just seems like there was a lot of truth stretching going on to end up making people think Apple wants to play unfair.

You probably hit the nail on the head right there. That seems like the most logical conclusion.

Of course, the commercials themselves could have been shot months ago, so prices would be from months ago.

tengeta tengeta said:

Apple talks about issues with Windows that haven't existed since Windows 98, so screw off Jobs, Microsoft can go there.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Justin said:

Of course, the commercials themselves could have been shot months ago, so prices would be from months ago.

But I think you are legally obligated to be truthful in the ads, they could have gotten by with being vague or avoiding showing the price tag, or by showing a "prices current as of _/__/__".

Guest said:

apple are a bunch of d-bags.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

Why not show the pricing of the apple notebooks? That's like selling someone a car, but telling them they cant look around at the other car price tags before purchase.

Apples just pissed M$ finally came up with a practical and more factual add than their latest "Hi I'm a Mac, this is PC" commercial.

And so what if they dropped the prices by 100 dollars, they are still expensive and there isnt a single model that you can go into bestbuy and pick up for the "$1000" price point of the PC commercial even after the price drop that's comparable to any pc notebook you place it next to at the same price.

I'm glad Kevin Turner kind of "laughed" it off. Someone told apple "no" and now they try to get pissy. Sounds like the whining little brother they are.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

How many average consumers think Macs aren't PC's? A lot I bet considering they've been running those "I'm a Mac" ads for years now. I've run into many including my own family who think so. Apple thinks there Macs are above being a Personal Computer, instead of making it OS X - Windows debate. Then Microsoft can play the same game as them with pricing. But I do agree with SNG on it more likely being a friendly request.

Guest said:

I think Steve jobs hatred for Windows and their over aggressive campaigning to down grade Windows and PC is sending the wrong message to the public. Mac have to promote their products not by despise Windows or PC but rather by creative Ads. Seems like the motivation for Mac is the hatred for PC.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm going to agree with Justin and SNGX1275. This seems to be the only logical explanation assuming that this actually happened to begin with.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

But I think you are legally obligated to be truthful in the ads,
Ya Vol! So when exactly were Apple ads ever truthful? Mostly they're a bunch of innuendo mixed with blatant lies, to the point of ridiculousness!

My "favorite", (read most infuriating) was the one where "PC" was standing there with a "C++ GUI programming manual" and the pseudointellectual a**hole was claiming the Macs were the only machines that could handle music and photo chores. Yeah, that's truthful, as least if you believe that Steve Jobs is the tooth fairy.

I actually hope M$ ups their game with forthcoming commercials and leaves the nitwits who do Apples' ad campaigns hawking IPhones, while I change the channel. This is coming from someone who hates M$, so that should clarify my position on how annoying I find Apple ads.

Ahhh, poor Stevie, did you piss the big guy off? Now you're whining because he gave you a black eye. Sorry D****B**, the pity department's closed.

BTW, since you can actually buy a Windows laptop that will do as much or more than a Mac for 2/3rds of the price, what is Apple claiming is the deception?

midlorollin said:

I find it hilarious that after all these years of anti-Microsoft propaganda from Apple, they are suddenly offended. They're scared, and they should be. Microsoft is cleaning up the sins of the vista with 7 and pumping twice as much R&D this year from last. Windows manages their business effectively with companies such as HP and Dell so well that their prices are quite frankly un-beatable in the Apple realm. I'm really curious to see how this turns out.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

When they are showing exact prices that is where the issue arises, since those prices aren't valid anymore. Microsoft would likely have been fine being vague. This is just my understanding of what is allowed, I could be wrong, and this is pure speculation based on a pretty unbelievable statement from Microsoft's COO.

What is a COO doing taking phone calls from Apple's marketing dept. I doubt Apple would call the COO about it, and I actually doubt Apple would call at all. Really, when you think about it Apple has been pretty harsh on PCs for years now in their commercials, I really don't think they would be so callous? to get upset and tell Microsoft to quit.

The phone call may not have even taken place, and if it did, it seems more likely that IF it went down like the dude claims, then he was likely talking to someone pulling a prank.

Guest said:

I own an iPhone and a PC.

They should both stop whining and just focus on making better products.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I own an iPhone and a PC.

They should both stop whining and just focus on making better products.

This is what they're doing, although I must say the top of the line mac pc's have mid grade rebadged hardware. Its decent, but cost 2-3x what it would cost to just build a PC and 1.5-2x more than a similar pc build.

I think your statement should have been "Apple should focus on making better machines for the price point they charge and stop whining about others marketing schemes."

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Apart from coding Iphone applications (which you cant even run without paying apple money or jailbreaking the iphone), what is the point of a mac? Having been in possession of one at work for nearly 3 months, I hardly turn it on anymore.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All MS has to do is one mild edit to the commercial, and Apple can't say a thing about it. Just put one of those "to protect the innocent" blur effects over the last 3 digits of the price shown on the Apple products (but leave the 1 in the thousands place), and it becomes obvious that they are over the $1000 limit, but not showing an incorrect price. Problem solved. If they edit the commercials to the dropped prices, all Apple has to do to screw with them again is another small price drop, then start whining.

If it's truly a case of whining over unfair advertising or some other crap, then I say Apple should bring it to the forefront, throw up a huge legal battle, and then Microsoft can just throw up official transcripts showing, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Apple products are MUCH more expensive. And while they were at it, they could bring up many of the Apple ads and prove how false the information being presented was, probably resulting in a countersuit... It would be the stupidest PR move ever for Apple to push any kind of legal issue.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Especially after the "I'm a mac" ads, Apple can shove it. Their ads were filled with blatant lies and irrelevant commentary. Oh and they didn't even show anything positive about their own products. MS ads showed the macs for like 2 seconds, then focused on what the PCs had. Although I will say that both parties are capable of producing higher quality ads, especially when the products being advertised are so expensive and presumably took a lot of intelligence to make.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The Horns of a Dilemma.....

I think we're pretty much agreed that Apple's "I'm a PC" campaign was closer to being slander than to being truth.

But, M$ is one obnoxious monopoly, and it's frightening to think what software woes could be brought on by a substantial, further shrinking of Apple's market share.

Guest said:

apple os is weak and they need to quit whining. They can dish it out but can't take it.

Bun-Bun said:

ColdFusion1990 said:

So Apple is allowed to make PC's look like complete ****** in their commercials, but Microsoft isn't allowed to say Macs are too expensive in theirs?

haha that is exactly what I was thinking.

Bun-Bun said:

I say good going microsoft! Give apple a taste of there own medicine.

I hate microsoft... but I hate Apple even more.

Guest said:

If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen (or something like that).

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I gotta say though, it was comical how much the "PC" in Apple's ads looked like Bill Gates. Um, after he discovered carbohydrates!

Did somebody say kitchen? Is it time to eat?

Guest said:

I agree they should continue i like macs always have simple less issues and all but the price is the killing point everytime. i'm about to buy another pc soon and odds are not in apple's favor to say the least.

Guest said:

Macintrash is having problems... they should stick to making phones--

I dont really like their ads anymore.. and they are just for snob and style

I dont even have to pay 1k for a laptop you can get a really good one for under 600$ usually.

They talked smacked about intel, and now have adopted them and stroked them... what hypocrits

The real competition with MS is going to be googles new FREE OS

Time will tell...

Guest said:

Apple vs. PC

It is just history repeating itself. We users are either in the money or not. If you have Apple PC money you can get yourself "screwed to the wall" for twice as much money. The guy who says build it if you want it, he is the man, period. Now you are talking saving 3 and 4 times as much to get the same result.

The money is what the battle is all about. Apple has people brainwashed in computers like Detroit does with cars. Do you need a new PC or Apple every year?

When you want somethilng special, look at what is out there, take the specs off it and build a better mousetrap, no problem and cheaper. An amateur can do this because of all the techies out there falling over themselves trying to help you out. You buy something, get some good free advice to go with it, or don't buy it.

Apple people are no fun at all. I once had a garage full of Apples. The only reason I didn't allow myself the satisfaction of dumping them in the river was the pollution it would cause. So I loaded them in the pickup took them to the recycler and traded the entire load for one good floppy drive.

People like me who were burned real bad in the Apple / PC wars, are still suffering from the trauma.

A PC should be called a PPC. The Peoples Personal Computer. Your custodian is a real person. Would you give him an Apple? You should be shot if you think so. When that Apple goes on the fritz, the bill for repair will be astronomical. PC's are repaired for a flat fee of $35 every day.

Guest said:

Oh, yeah and another thing. People pick PC's up for next to nothing, garage sales, friends, trash bins. You get one and the flat rate applies. $35 and it is fixed. The parts are extra but cheap. But if you see an Apple in the Trash (And you will), Leave it there. (You could pull the hard drive and memory first though)

Guest said:

So is it not true that pcs have lots of trialware on them or is it not true that you can't take it, plug it up and go straight to web browsing?

Correct me if im wrong macs are ready to go right out of the box. No wasting time with things you could be doing with other pc's. Just plug and play.

Guest said:

Truth be told, the whole idea behind these commercials isn't groundless. Macbooks have always been expensive enough to discourage a lot of people from buying them. Mac users only buy Macs because they like the OS, so they're paying extra.

Considering that their previous campaign "I'm a Mac" attacked the USERS of PCs and not the hardware says something: Macs of any shape and size have nothing to really hold over PCs aside from their OS. I don't recall them ever saying anything about how great their OS is, instead it was nothing but a big smear campaign on Windows PCs, particularly Vista.

The "Notebook Hunt" idea is Microsoft playing NICE. Apple should take a page from their book and stop their stupid smear campaigns that blow every little problem with Vista completely out of proportion before they complain about the way Microsoft is doing business.

Guest said:

I think the comercials are working well, if they gave me the thousand bucks, I can damn well tell you that I would FIND a Mac to buy before I would even think about purchasing any of the PURE JUNK that are being sold as laptops today by the Windows world!

I have worked on several of these "NEW" PC laptops and I gotta say they are pure junk, they break way too easy, while the new Mac's are just getting better, they are WAY Worth the price.

Go ahead give me a thousand dollars, if nothing else I will go on EBAY and find a USED Macbook and give you back the Change.

I would rather use the old Thinkpad A22m that I am typing on right now then any of the junk that is being put out by the Chinese who make 99% of the pc Junk out there today.

I have a couple of old Mac laptops that I like very much and one day I hope to find a good enough deal to replace all my laptops with one good Macbook. For a desktop I found a wonderful old G4 with Duel 1.2 gig processors, Two gig of ram and it runs circles around all the PC's in the house. Love those Mac's the mac adds are SO right, pc adds are so stupid.

The whole fight is one of the dumbest things I have seen come down the TV road for a long time and I have been watching the tube since 1962 when Dad brought home an old used B&W floor modle that we could get two channels on if the wind was just right and nobody drove by in a Ford.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

So is it not true that pcs have lots of trialware on them or is it not true that you can't take it, plug it up and go straight to web browsing?

Correct me if im wrong macs are ready to go right out of the box. No wasting time with things you could be doing with other pc's. Just plug and play.

lol anonymous user, ever hear of dell or hp, or any of the other prebuilt pc companies? Yeah....those turn on too. Are you that ignorant about the whole pc side of this issue.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So is it not true that pcs have lots of trialware on them or is it not true that you can't take it, plug it up and go straight to web browsing?

Correct me if im wrong macs are ready to go right out of the box. No wasting time with things you could be doing with other pc's. Just plug and play.

I think that both statements are true, PCs come with a bunch of trial/ bloat/ nonsense/ and vaporware installed. Some are worse than others, with Sony being the most "infected". Alienware machines I believe, are quite clean. But, by the same token you can any of them and plug it in, then head straight for the web. And yes, I understand the security software issue, and nobody cares enough to write malware aimed at Macs, so I don't think that that is the virtue of Mac that Apple credits itself with.

You could always charge yourself bench time for removing the crapware, against the price difference between the PC a Mac. Even with those charges applied, I believe that a comparable PC is still a fair amount cheaper than the Mac.

Some of the junk is quite useful! I don't run a business, so I don't need an office suite. The freebie "M$ Works" that came with my two store boughts, serves me admirably.

peas said:

Apple has always stretched the truth or outright lied in their advertising. Even back in the 80's they touted the Apple as the "best selling personal computer" when the Commodore 64, for instance, overwhelmingly outsold any Apple computer. Now they lie about how Macs never crash, never have viruses, etc... I'm no fan of Vista (in fact I hate it), but Apple's lies are pathetic.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

M$ works is pretty decent for most users me thinks. I agree with the above statement, good show CaptainCranky.

Guest said:

maybe apple will start to price their hardware more competitively.

AmRes said:

Awwwwwww. Poor Apple. They screwed themselves into the ground back in the 80's with their pricing and licensing model. IBM, on the other hand, allowed clones of the Personal Computer to be created. And then along came M$. The rest is desktop computing history.

All Apple had to do back then is allow others to build Mac clones and license the Mac OS to them. Had they done that, it would probably be a different world. Instead, they chose the max-profits marketing system.

The only thing keeping Apple afloat now is the iPhone. And that dominance is slipping fast. Other smart phones are taking over the market. They have features, they're durable, and they are less expensive.

Apple even switched to the Intel processor platform in hopes of making a comeback. It isn't working.

What I dislike are the Apple devotees that swear up one side and down the other that Mac's don't get viruses. My standard reply is this...

- Yeah, they do.

- Now that Mac is on the Intel platform, viruses will become more prevalent

- IF (and that's a major IF), Apple ever really gains market share, look out.

See "Apple drops to 5th position in US computer sales" at http://www.neowin.net/news/main/09/07/16/apple-drops-to-5th-
osition-in-us-computer-sales

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZ4xPV1c7jA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g47goge2S6I

Some disturbing news (and some laughs), courtesy of CNBC On The Money resident "tech specialist", Jim "IdiotMacFanboi" Goldman.

EPIC FAIL!

Guest said:

actually the biggest load of bull as far as apple commercials was the one where the pc guy was standing there wearing all this crap and the apple loser asked what he was doing, then pc stated it was antivirus measures.. and apple had the nerve to say they dont have to worry about viruses.. false advertisement in the most perfect example.. mac can have viruses.. one of the best ones ever written was specifically for macs several years ago.. the problem with writting a virus is why would someone waste their time and life writing a virus to target such a small amount of users.. majority if not all businesses run windows.. same as schools and the average computer in households around the world.. now how many people use macs.. hmm.. why write a virus when the goal is to cause the most damage.. and the price drop.. wow that was a big drop.. $100.. sad when they don't realize how business works.. you drop the price a little better and more people would be willing to fork in some money and buy an apple.. but all in all.. apple sucks..

Guest said:

Been doing this longer than most of you have been alive.

Apple in the 1980s had about an 18% U.S. market share. Today that is about 7.6 percent, for the math challenged that means the US Market PC share is 92.4 percent. So yes Apple does try for the "we are superior snob appeal approach." I am tried of hearing how "easy to use" or "problem free" Apple products are.

If you really believe that you are a Mac user, you have drank their Koo laid. American businesses and consumers are not in-efficient. They will in time gravitate to the superior product given relative equal product availability. Truth be told Apple is a closed society, proprietary system aimed at foolish product snobs or ill-informed newbies. Did you happen to catch the news that Apple re-configured their i-tunes software to be incompatible with the Palm Pre? This is not the action of a true superior product company.

Open systems, open minds, are the correct and efficient guides to superior and rapid product enhancements.

When Macs drop their prices, they will lose their fat margins for product design and see their market share wither further into irrelevance.

Guest said:

Software/ os aside:

If the hardware is equal.

The cost should be as well.

Heard this before Apple?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

When Apples Fly...........

I was in WalMart earlier this evening. I saw a Toshiba laptop, Vista Home Basic, I think a couple GBs of RAM, 160GB HDD, and last but not least a DVD burner. Oops, almost forgot to mention the 17" screen. Hey, 400 bucks and it could have been mine.

As attractive as that offer was, I'm still going to save for a Mac that does less and costs twice as much.

Well, right after they change the Apple logo to a flying pig, I sure will.

Guest said:

Let the Apple Jacks whine it's what they're best at not a Microsoft fan but love that they're taking a shot at the over priced under power Apples.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

The bottom line is there are not that many people that are undecided on what system they want to buy, so for the most part all the arguing back and forth is moot.

Apple doesn't want to lower prices because they are still selling a lot of Macs as is, if they lower the price they might sell more, but they'd make less. They have a responsibility to their shareholders to make the most they can, I'm sure their employees that make the pricing decisions know better than the general public on what is best for Apple. I don't really think Apple cares what most of the people that bash them about pricing care.

I've got 3 Macs and 3 PCs in my house running: OS X 10.5, WindowsME, Windows Vista, Windows 7 RC, Ubuntu 9.04, and Puppy Linux (same pc as WinME). I don't have any dislike for PCs, and I don't have any over abundance of love for Apple. This talk about open systems being superior and all (2 posts above this one) isn't 100% true, because if that was true everyone would be running some form of Linux.

Those $400 17" laptops have incredibly shitty screens though, something like 1440x900 on a 17". Thats piss poor, so while you can get a big heavy fast 17" laptop, they have to cut corners on price somewhere, and the thing you spend looking at while you are using might not be the best place. But then again, if all you want is a big laptop for cheap, then there you go. Its all about choice, the people that spend a lot on Apple products know they are doing so, all this fighting about it is a waste of time.

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