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Microsoft Backs Down After Apple Legal Threats, Changes Ad


After so brazenly bragging about Apple’s (s aapl) legal department’s request that one of Microsoft’s (s msft) ads be pulled last week, Redmond has quietly made changes to the ad in question to make sure that it accurately reflects reality, which is what Apple wanted in the first place. Kind of puts a damper on Microsoft COO Kevin Turner’s bubbly enthusiasm, I’d imagine.

Last week, he basically did a little dance for joy when he received the call from Apple legal, and trumpeted the news to the masses to make sure everyone knew that Microsoft had indeed scored a direct hit, even going so far as to call it “the greatest single phone call” he’s ever taken. The ads in question are the Laptop Hunter series, in which Microsoft gives random people a sum of money and challenges them to find their perfect laptop, at which point they get it for free. The ads were created by Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

The specific ad Apple took issue with is the “Lauren” ad (not that “Lauren” ad, the other one), in which Lauren and her mother are shopping for a computer under $1,700. At one point, they comment on the MacBook Pro’s $2,000 price tag, asking “Why would you pay twice the price?” As of the latest notebook lineup refresh, Apple’s top-of-the-line MacBook Pro no longer costs $2,000, coming in instead at a much easier to swallow $1,700. Which, coincidentally, is actually within Lauren and mom’s budget.

Microsoft, for its part, is saying the minor change doesn’t change “the focus of the campaign,” according to, so it’s clearly still counting this as a win. I’m willing to bet Microsoft’s legal department has been in contact with Apple on quite a few occasions, yet COO Tim Cook doesn’t break out the noisemakers and party hat every time that goes down.

9 Responses to “Microsoft Backs Down After Apple Legal Threats, Changes Ad”

  1. D Dell

    First let me say that I have owned PC laptops for years although, I have been considering a Mac lately. As for the ads, most of the public does not pay attention to detail. They only get the point of the commercial. And in the Microsoft ads the whole point is that you can get a PC cheaper than a Mac, and that is a fact.

    I have priced different Dell and HP 13 and 15 inch laptop models to the Macbook Pro. In each case I got as close to the same specs as possible. And in every case the PC came in around $400 cheaper than the Mac. Of course the Mac owners are going to tout the build quality and many other advantages of owning a Mac. And, as usual, they are going to trash the PC and Microsoft and probably me after reading this. Yet, I have read many reviews on both types of computers and found many of the same complaints and problems that are in common with both formats. Oh believe me, I have had my problems with my laptops too. Even professional reviewers have said that there are pros and cons on both. Neither is perfect. However, I do believe that Apple makes a better quality product and tends to correct problems more quickly than Microsoft. Example: Windows XP (forget Vista) to Windows 7 took how many years?

    Getting back to the commercials, the fact is they do not lie about getting a cheaper PC and they seem to be working.

  2. I think you’ve got it backwards. Apple Legal made a credible threat, and Microsoft knew it had to back down– so Microsoft gloated before backing down in order to minimize the damage and confuse the issue.

  3. Andy Lee

    I’d say they both scored victories of sorts. This could be interpreted as Apple cutting prices because the effectiveness of the ads forced them to.

  4. I call BS on the whole phone call from Apple legal department thing anyway. Sounds pretty much like a made up story with zero evidence to back it up.

    I also wonder how bubbly Turner was after seeing Apple’s increased profits and the hit Microsoft took.

  5. Interesting that Microsoft actually updated one of its commercials to be more factually accurate. More interesting that it’s as a result of Apple’s complaint, considering, you know, the whole Mac vs PC commercial campaign.

    • Shelby

      Seriously… I love the ones where the guy is broke and looking for a $700 dollars computer and buys a POS dell or something with 4gigs of RAM but a slow processor. And is happy. Apple should find those people in the ads like 6 months later and ask them about their computer performance.

    • I agree…give it up Microsoft. You’ve lost. Call RIAA and ask them if you can borrow the Roseta Stone that convinced them DRM was dead. It might still be warm.