With Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) getting its most positive presentation from the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) ads starring comedian John Hodgman as the hapless “PC,” the company is going the user-gen route to woo possible users of high-end Windows Vista Ultimate. Microsoft is starting the Ultimate Video Relay today, a contest where presumptive online video auteurs complete a story entitled The Cube — described by the NYT as The Matrix meets The Office.
The first six-minute act of The Cube was directed by Kyle Newman, director of Fanboys, a feature film about Star Wars fanatics. Contestants will fill in the second and third act while other users vote for the best clips. Microsoft is working with Kevin Spacey’s TriggerStreet.com, the community site for his Trigger Street Productions; the site focuses on new talent. But Barry Goffe, director for Windows client product management, knows the plan could well backfire, say if users post video after video ridiculing the company. Microsoft hopes to avoid this by having a story that doesn’t begin by implying something along the lines of “Vista is wonderful.” In fact, the clip doesn’t mention Vista or Microsoft at all. Given the mixed reviews and grousing from some Vista users, that sounds like a good start already.