Apple Begs for Mercy, Asks Microsoft to Stop Airing Laptop Hunter Ads

The battle between Microsoft and Apple has been a long and arduous one. Until the turn of the century, Apple wasn’t much of a threat to Microsoft’s bottom line. However, the rise of the iPod music player, the iPhone, Apple’s resurgence with its Mac computers, and the resultant “Get a Mac” commercials have been a thorn in Microsoft’s side.

Microsoft sat on the sidelines for years as Apple fired away at the stability, reliability, and lack of “user friendliness” with PCs. Apple labeled PCs are virus-prone machines and burned Windows Vista at the stake. Finally, this past April, Microsoft fired back with all its might on the one thing that Apple couldn’t argue with when it comes to Macs versus PCs:  price.

A series of Laptop Hunter ads made waves on television and on the internet which showed PC-based notebooks as offering a better value for the money while Macs were labeled as “pretty, but expensive”. After the first few commercials aired, Apple spokesman Bill Evans issued the following statement, “A PC is no bargain when it doesn’t do what you want. The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price.”

It now appears that Apple is even more concerned about the continued Laptop Hunter ads. In fact, if Microsoft COO Kevin Turner’s recounting is accurate, Apple’s legal department is more than a bit peeved at the commercials. Turner noted at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference:

And so we’ve been running these PC value ads. Just giving people saying, hey, what are you looking to spend? “Oh, I’m looking to spend less than $1,000.” Well we’ll give you $1,000. Go in and look and see what you can buy. And they come out and they just show them. Those are completely unscripted commercials.

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.

I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, “Is this a joke? Who are you?” Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we’re just going to keep running them and running them and running them.

Apple is correct about its lowered pricing. With its latest MacBook Pro refresh, it lowered the price of entry for its 15″ and 17″ models by $300. It also introduced the new 13″ MacBook Pro at a price $100 lower than its predecessor. However, the cheapest way to get an Apple notebook is still going to cost you $999 — that gets you a polycarbonate 13″ MacBook running at 2.13GHz.

So even though Mac computers are across the board cheaper than in the past, Microsoft still has a free pass to tout the “lower price, better value” angle. And from the looks of Turner’s comments, Microsoft appears to be content in running the Laptop Hunter ad campaign for a long time – just like Apple with its “Get a Mac” series.

You can view the latest Laptop Hunter commercial with Matt and Olivia here.

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