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Crispin Porter + Bogusky's ad campaigns for Microsoft are getting increasingly wearisome.

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Microsoft have a new ad campaign ready for release through the summer 2009. It's totally geared to the university crowd. The idea is to suggest ways university students can pocket major cash when given funds for computers by their parents.

It's outright bribery where the students and their parents lose. Take a look.

Lauren - an actress and not a real student - gets $1000 cash to buy a computer. Any computer. She starts looking at Apple's store. Of course she does. Apple computers are cool. [She stays two (2) seconds tops - it's all faked. Click here.]

But Lauren doesn't want an iBook with a 13 inch screen. She wants a 17 inch screen because that's what the ad script calls for. So she won't find a computer at the Apple store for $1000. Too bad.

So the cameras follow her as she makes her way to the junkyard emporium to pick up an HP for $700. And a hand reaches out from behind camera right. Bill Gates' hand. And the hand gives her $300 in hard cold cash.

[That really is Gates' hand. Gates said later he'd hoped to take Lauren out for a cup of coffee to discuss Windows Se7en. Ed.]

Silly Billy Gii

From Seinfeld to the slot machines to this - and Microsoft gave away $10000 to actors posing as students to make it look like there's a good way to pocket parent cash shelled out for the obligatory university laptop.

But it's a mistake. And Lauren should know it. And so should her parents. And if she ever uses that computer she'll find out soon enough. That pocketful of cash won't take her very far.

  • If the HP lasts two years she'll need a minimum of 4 (four) system wipe and reinstalls. Given Microsoft are stingy with install media and given one's not to assume she can handle this herself (or will even want to) it will cost her a minimum of $1000 to get a company like Best Buy's Geek Squad to help her out. And that's the minimum.

  • She's going to need antivirus and an assortment of defence tools anyway inasmuch as a Windows PC will otherwise go down for the count in a single minute of being connected to the Internet. If she settles for the Norton solution she'll have to pay $294.97 for a two year subscription.

  • But inasmuch as none of the Windows defence suites - totally unnecessary on the Mac - can't get at more than 60% of the 100,000+ malware programs threatening Windows and only Windows it's recommended she 'double up' or 'triple up' or more - buy the same utilities from other companies in the hopes they'll catch more of the bad stuff.

Lauren's broke even before she leaves the store. She's another $250 in the hole every six months. And that's pushing it. And that's not counting all the hair pulling, disappearing data, and general screaming she'll be going through. That has a price too.

And that $700 is quite the illusion actually. Prices can be kept low - albeit with difficulty - because Microsoft still have nearly 90% of the market and because OEMs get that crap system known as Windows almost for free.

But they do pay. They pay the 'Microsoft tax' which makes it practically impossible for them to offer any other operating system. They must namely pay a Windows licence even for the machines that do not ship with Windows. Such is the nature of the beast.

And Lauren ends up bringing the biggest trojan horse ever inside her final perimeter of defence: Microsoft Windows.


As Microsoft's market share continues to dwindle because of their ever increasing security scandals OEM market share will also drop off. And as that happens the OEMs won't be able to sell as cheaply as today. All the while companies such as Apple will in fact be able to lower their own prices.

What Lauren should do is put that HP up for sale on eBay, point out the box comes from an infamously abortive Microsoft ad campaign, pick up at least twice what it originally cost, and then beeline it back to the Apple store and get a MacBook Pro.

That won't be a PC - and it won't be a mistake.

See Also
The Technological: MSFTValue
Learning Curve: A Gullible's Travels
Learning Curve: Microsoft: The Truth and the Consequences

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