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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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August 11, 2011 1:39 PM

Sales of Windows Phone drop in second quarter

Posted by Janet I. Tu

Worldwide sales of smartphones running Microsoft Windows Phone have dropped so much that they now lag behind sales of phones running Samsung's Bada, which are sold in the international and emerging markets.

Sales of phones running Microsoft's mobile operating systems (which includes primarily Windows Phone 7 but may include its predecessor, Windows Mobile), captured 1.6 percent of the market in the second quarter of 2011, according to technology company Gartner.

That's down from 4.9 percent of the market a year ago, even amid a 74 percent year-over-year increase in the sales of smartphones overall worldwide.

Google's Android operating system captured 43.4 percent of the market, coming in first and up from 17.2 percent a year ago. Nokia's Symbian was second with 22.1 percent, but it was a sharp drop from its 40.9 percent a year ago. Apple's iOS came in third with 18.2 percent, up from 14.1 percent last year.

Research In Motion (RIM) came in fourth, and Samsung's Bada fifth. Microsoft was sixth.


Continue reading this post ...

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May 26, 2009 9:10 AM

Get ready to hear a lot about Bing, says Ad Age

Posted by Mark Watanabe

It looks like Microsoft's long-awaited revamp of Live Search is about to unfurl.

Last week, word leaked out that the company would be unveiling its updated search engine, code-named Kumo, at The Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference, which takes place this week in Carlsbad, Calif. Steve Ballmer is on the roster of speakers.

Today, Advertising Age is reporting that Microsoft is launching the update, to be called Bing, with an $80 million to $100 million advertising campaign. Compare that with what Ad Age says is considered a "sizable budget" for a national consumer product launch, $50 million. JWT, one of the ad industry's major players, is handling the campaign.

One prominent part of the upgrade is expected to be a branding change. Speculation has centered on the code name, Kumo, but last week a leading search analyst, Danny Sullivan, said he thought the new brand would be Bing.

Despite the typical big-budget effort Microsoft appears to be setting up, the company faces a monumental challenge in going after a market leader whose name is virtually a generic term for Internet searching. In the latest monthly reports Google continued to hold a commanding 64.2 percent of the U.S. search market in April. Microsoft's Live Search remained languishing in third at 8.2 percent, behind Yahoo with 20.4 percent.

Whether the campaign can equal or better the impact that Microsoft's ads appear to making in the company's battle with Apple over laptop PC sales will be one of the closely watched issues in tech for a spell.

Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Branding , Digital media , Google , Microsoft , Search , Windows Live |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 19, 2009 11:31 AM

Message of Microsoft's "Laptop Hunters" ad campaign seems to be getting across

Posted by Mark Watanabe

Sharon mentioned looking back at the latest volleys in the Mac vs. PC ad battle while she's away for a couple of weeks. That's certainly a way to keep up with the fascinating marketing was Microsoft and Apple have engaged in over the past year or so.

Now comes word that Microsoft's efforts may be paying off.

Advertising Age, citing work from BrandIndex, reports that the "value perception" of the Apple and Microsoft brands "has shifted dramatically in the eyes of 18- to 34-years-olds" since the first "Laptop Hunters" commercials began running in March. Apple's has fallen, while Microsoft's has risen.

Value perception is based on scores that BrandIndex calculates from daily interviews of 5,000 people. Interviewees are asked if they think the get good value for their money.

The Microsoft campaign emphasizes price in highlighting shoppers looking for a laptop that has their desired features but which cost less than a dollar limit they've set for themselves. Depicting their shopping experience in fast-cut shots, the ads all include one shot in which the shopper looks at a Mac but bemoans its higher price.

Of course, the value message of the ads has a bit more resonance in the context of a tough economy.

Here's the latest in the "Laptop Hunters" series.

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1700 - Lauren and Sue get a Dell XPS 13">Video: Laptop Hunters $1700 - Lauren and Sue get a Dell XPS 13</a>

Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Microsoft |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

May 12, 2009 11:45 AM

Coming soon to a desktop near you: Microsoft's Office The Movie

Posted by Sharon Pian Chan

"There are 5 billion working people in the world. In 2010 their hero will arrive."

Those are the opening lines to an online video trailer for Microsoft Office 2010. The company is now taking requests for the technical preview, set to begin in July, which you can sign up for at the Microsoft site "Office 2010 The Movie."

Like a trailer for a real movie, it doesn't say much about the plot of the movie, I mean, the software.

Dennis Liu, credited as the director of the trailer, sounds like a technology agnostic guy. He first gained notice last year for making a music video on the Mac. In this interview with the Unofficial Apple Weblog, he says he's a Mac fan. The video is set to the song "Again and Again" by Bird and the Bee, which has been viewed 1.3 million times. Here's that video:

And, check out this other funny short film he did called "Pretend to Work" using Microsoft Office for Mac:

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May 11, 2009 4:36 PM

New Zune ad from Microsoft: Now it's the iPod that's too expensive

Posted by Sharon Pian Chan

First Microsoft went after Apple with the laptop hunter ads that jabbed Apple for expensive laptops. Now it's going after iPod. In this latest ad, "The Apprentice" contestant and financial planner Wes Moss claims that it would cost $30,000 to fill an iPod with music, but only $14.99 a month for the Zune's subscription service.

More breakdown on the cost:
Zune, 120 GB = $249.99
iPod Classic, 120 GB = $249

Here's the ad below:

Update 5:28 p.m.: The ads are only running online.

Also, the $14.99 Zune Pass subscription includes 10 songs that can be added to the owner's permanent subscription each month.

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April 21, 2009 10:49 AM

New Apple legal-copy ad pokes fun at Microsoft

Posted by Sharon Pian Chan

Apple has a new ad out, once again poking fun of Microsoft with the bromance duo of "I'm a Mac," played by Justin Long, and "I'm a PC," played by John Hodgman. Every time John Hodgman, who plays PC guy, says PCs are easy to use, legal copy pops up from the bottom of the screen like a banner ad.

And in case you haven't seen it, here is Microsoft's ad campaign against Apple, featuring laptop hunters hoping to find an affordable laptop.

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April 17, 2009 5:22 PM

Apple responds to Microsoft's laptop hunter ads

Posted by Sharon Pian Chan

BusinessWeek has a comment from Apple on Microsoft's laptop hunter ads:

"A PC is no bargain when it doesn't do what you want," Apple spokesman Bill Evans says. "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."

What's clever about the Microsoft ad is how cool Giampaolo and the ginger Laura are with her glasses.

The Seattle Times' earlier story on the rollout of the laptop hunter ad is here.
Laptop Hunters #2 - Giampaolo
Laptop Hunters #2 - Giampaolo

Laptop Hunters #1 - Lauren
Laptop Hunters #1 - Lauren

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April 1, 2009 12:40 PM

BBC: Obama gives Queen of England an iPod

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

A nugget from the BBC's blanket coverage of the G20 summit and President Obama's first visit to the U.K.:

"The BBC's Peter Hunt says: President Obama has given the Queen an Ipod during their private meeting at Buckingham Palace. It contains footage of her state visit to the US in May 2007. The Queen has given the president a silver framed photograph of herself and her husband. The official picture is what she gives all visiting dignitaries."

Recall in December the flurry of speculation after Obama was seen working out in a Philadelphia gym listening to a Zune. An Obama spokesman was quoted at the time saying, "Not true, the President-elect uses an iPod."

Comments | Category: Apple , Digital media , Public policy & issues , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 26, 2009 3:28 PM

New Microsoft ad swipes at Apple

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft is rolling out a new Windows commercial today that takes the most direct swipe yet at rival Apple.

The commercial, which feels tuned for these tough economic times, follows a woman on a quest to find a laptop with "speed, comfortable keyboard and a 17-inch screen" for $1,000 or less. "Lauren" walks into an Apple store -- she calls it "the Mac store" -- and then walks out and tells the camera, "For $1,000 they only have one computer available and that's a 13-inch screen." She ends up buying an HP for about $700. Here's the spot, set to air during March Madness:

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 - Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 - Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

Continue reading this post ...

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March 20, 2009 11:57 AM

Microsoft, Starbucks see brand power slip in survey

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

If you're spending $300 million on a major ad campaign for your biggest product, this is not the line you want to read in Advertising Age: "Your brand power is waning."

Continue reading this post ...

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March 19, 2009 1:02 PM

Ballmer reiterates interest in Yahoo, says tide turned on Apple, would relish IBM-Sun deal

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was in New York for an on-stage interview with BusinessWeek editor-in-chief Stephen Alder as part of the McGraw-Hill Media Summit today. He made some interesting comments on Yahoo, Apple, a potential Sun-IBM tie up. But there was no fundamental change in his position. That didn't stop the Web-cast interview from making headlines, which may have buoyed Yahoo's shares (Microsoft was up a bit, too) against a day of measured decline wrapping up on Wall Street. At the close Microsoft: Up 18 cents, 1 percent, to $17.14. Yahoo: Up 32 cents, 2.4 percent, to $13.74. Nasdaq: Down 0.52 percent. Dow: Down 1.2 percent.

Here's a summary of his comments:

Continue reading this post ...

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February 24, 2009 6:15 AM

Microsoft Strategic Update: Ballmer tells Wall Street more dramatic cost cutting would be 'imprudent'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With Microsoft's Redmond campus largely emptied out for the winter holidays, CEO Steve Ballmer crunched the numbers on the proper level of spending for his company against the current economic climate, which he has repeatedly referred to as a "reset" rather than just a recession. Ballmer said his own estimates for the weakness and duration of the downturn tend to be more severe than those of other business leaders he meets.

With that in mind, he settled on $27.5 billion of operating expenses -- a level the company aims to hold relatively steady through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and during its 2010 fiscal year. Ballmer made clear to financial analysts meeting in New York this morning for the company's annual strategic update that cutting back even more significantly -- say to $20 billion -- would be "imprudent."

"I think this is right," Ballmer said.

That should give some comfort to those wondering if the modest layoffs Microsoft announced last month were the beginning of a more significant reduction. Wall Street analysts and investors are pressuring companies in every industry to continue cutting costs as sales and profits slow dramatically.

The strategic update call just came to an end. Ballmer gave a detailed look at seven major business areas for the company. Check back here later this morning for more details.

Update, 7:50 a.m.: As he told Congressional Democrats earlier this month, Ballmer said Microsoft's corporate strategists have been evaluating past downturns -- particularly those driven by "deleveraging." The team read company annual reports from 1927 to 1938 to determine who did a good job managing through the Great Depression. "RCA, God rest them in peace, became our role model," Ballmer said. The company was able to dominate the television business because it continued to invest during bad times, he said.

Then he broke down how Microsoft plans to invest.

Continue reading this post ...

Comments | Category: Advertising , Apple , Enterprise , Financial , Games & entertainment , Google , Microsoft layoffs , Mobile , Office , Online services , Open source , Search , Server and tools , Steve Ballmer , Strategy , Tech Economy , Windows , Windows 7 , Windows Azure , Windows Mobile , Xbox 360 , Yahoo acquisition , Zune |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

February 12, 2009 3:55 PM

Microsoft opening retail stores

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

After years of rumors, Microsoft today confirmed that it's delving into retail. The company is hiring an executive "to create a better PC and Microsoft retail purchase experience for consumers worldwide through the development and opening of the company's own retail stores," according to this news release.

To lead the effort, Microsoft hired a retail executive with 25 years of experience at Wal-Mart. David Porter, most recently head of worldwide product distribution at DreamWorks Animation, will report to Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who rose from checkout clerk to chief executive of Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division. Turner joined Microsoft in September 2005.

[Updates throughout, 5:04 p.m.]

Microsoft has taken tentative steps into retail in recent months. As part of its broad Windows marketing campaign, the company launched "Windows-branded sales environments and store-within-a-store concepts" at Circuit City and Best Buy. It created a team of "Microsoft Gurus," similar to Nordstrom's personal shoppers to help people shop. It also built a "Retail Experience Center" in a Redmond warehouse to study PC buying.

It will be up to Porter to determine the when, where and what of the retail stores. A spokeswoman said via e-mail the company will target "a small number of high profile experience stores in a few major cities around the world."

The purpose of the stores, according to Microsoft's release, "is to create deeper engagement with consumers and continue to learn firsthand about what they want and how they buy."

As far as products, expect the stores to carry Microsoft software and hardware -- including the company's Xbox 360 game consoles. Microsoft is still determining whether the stores will sell PCs and other products from the company's partners.

As bluejava2 pointed out in comments on this post, Microsoft had an earlier retail presence in San Francisco's Metreon mall.

The store was called microsoftSF, according to the spokeswoman. "The space was owned and operated by Sony Retail Entertainment," she added via e-mail. [Update, 5:42 p.m.: Check out this news release from June 1999 that describes the microsoftSF store in greater detail. It carried "everything from software to sweatshirts."]

Of course, people are immediately comparing Microsoft's retail efforts to Apple, which has had immense success with its retail stores. The Apple Stores, like the company as a whole, have a following that borders on the religious. The ifoAppleStore blog covers every detail of Apple's retail outlets, including how the company arranges the table displays.

And today's report on ifoAppleStores underscores just how tough a comparison it will be: "Apple plans to entirely reorganize and refocus space within the stores to emphasize customer education, and software over hardware. ... The front section of the store will promote, 'Why You'll Love a Mac,' catching visitors when they first enter the store. The section will have signage and brochures pointing out the advantages of a Mac over a Windows PC."

Some initial reaction to Microsoft's retail moves:

Mary Jo Foley: "I've been very vocal in complaining about the dwindling number of retail stores where users can evaluate Windows PCs from different vendors, side-by-side. ... I'm doubtful Microsoft is going to be able to pull off anything as sleek and hip as Apple has with its retail stores."

Sam Diaz: Gateway, "[t]he once-strong PC maker, which is now part of Acer, tried desperately to make a retail store work years ago. It added training classes, a service department and even made room on its shelves for other electronics devices that interacted with a PC - such as mp3 players and digital cameras. But nothing paid off. I don't know if Microsoft - which really has no brand cachet for physical products other than Xbox (and maybe Zune, too) - can pull off a retail model any better than Gateway."


More, 5:32 p.m.: Joe Wilcox reminds us that he has prodded Microsoft to open retail stores for two years running. "There will be fear of channel conflict. But c'mon. CompUSA is gone. Circuit City is going. Who can guess which Microsoft retail partner is next. Microsoft is right to open stores. It's retail partner ranks are shrinking."

Emil Protalinski notes that Fudzilla actually reported this rumor in April 2008. His take: "A store full of software and PCs running them isn't enough to keep me interested. A fun-filled lounge-like environment though, I could see working quite well in Microsoft's favor." He also dug up the image above from The Simpsons.

And while we're watching cartoons, check out this clip from a recent episode of The Simpsons sending up the Apple Stores:

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January 14, 2009 2:07 PM

Speculation swirls on timeline for next version of Microsoft Office; test version of Web apps due this year

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

With documentation and early code going out to select testers this week, another Microsoft guessing game is gaining favor: When will the company ship the next version of Office, known as Office 14?

Earlier guesses had the company aiming for a dual Office-Windows release, as it has in the past. But speculation today points to a 2010 Office release. (Windows 7 is expected by many pundits to ship sometime later this year -- despite Microsoft's official position that January 2010 is the target.)

I had a chance to ask Justin Hutchinson, group product manager for the Office client team, about the schedule for the product last Thursday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

Q: Is there any kind of goal to have Office in step with Windows 7 as Microsoft has done in the past?

Continue reading this post ...

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January 10, 2009 12:06 PM

Windows 7 marketing, Apple 'iStick' are butt of 'Wait, Wait' jokes

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

NPR commedy news quiz "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" took a few swipes at the tech industry on this week's show. In the segment, "Who's Carl This Time," a listener contestant has to put a quote from the week's news in context. The quote:

"The company has essentially changed its marketing message to, 'It's not as awful as you think.'"

Continue reading this post ...

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December 2, 2008 9:43 AM

Web tracking site detects drop in Windows market share to below 90 percent (barely)

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Net Applications OS market share.JPG Tech market share tracker Net Applications measured Microsoft Windows' share of the operating system market at 89.6 percent in November, which TG Daily called the lowest level since Windows 3.11. That figure is down more than 2 percentage points from a year ago. Meanwhile, as the charts show, Apple's operating system market share has increased in that period.

(Data and graphics provided by Net Applications.)

Continue reading this post ...

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December 1, 2008 10:02 AM

Required watching: 'The Simpsons' sends up Steve Jobs, er, Mobs

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Catch "The Simpsons" last night? If not, enjoy this opening sequence in which the Springfield Mall gets a "Mapple" store and Bart steals the show from Steve Mobs (telling a crowd in the Mapple store, "I have made a fortune off of you chumps and I've invested it all in Microsoft!" Gasp) among other spot-on tech-culture references.

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November 6, 2008 8:51 AM

More John Hodgman on the radio

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The PC guy from Apple's biting commercials, John Hodgman, is scheduled to join Steve Scher on KUOW's "Weekday" this morning at 9 a.m. Hodgman, a comedian and author, is touring public radio and other venues to promote his book: "More Information Than You Require."

He was the special guest on another public radio show, "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" last weekend.

Hodgman also is speaking in Seattle tonight at Elliott Bay Books at 7:30 p.m.

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November 1, 2008 11:50 AM

Apple's PC guy John Hodgman takes Microsoft quiz on NPR comedy show

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

"Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" is a Saturday morning ritual in my house. John Hodgman, the comedian, author and perhaps most famously, "PC guy," in Apple's "Get a Mac" commercials, was the special guest on the show this morning, which I heard on local National Public Radio affiliate KUOW.

The "Get a Mac" campaign, including Hodgman's biting portrayal, has significant role in defining the image of the PC and the Windows Vista operating system in popular culture, while also boosting Mac sales in the last two years. So much so that Microsoft earlier this fall launched a $300 million campaign -- including a major series of television ads -- to take back control of the brand and restore dignity to Hodgman's line, 'I'm a PC.'

Hodgman was asked to answer three questions about the history of Microsoft. Here are some excerpts from his 11-minute appearance on "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me." You can also listen to the segment here.

Continue reading this post ...

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October 20, 2008 7:19 AM

Apple strikes back at Microsoft 'I'm a PC' campaign

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The ads war between Microsoft and Apple is getting a bit surreal. This weekend, new ads from Apple took aim at Microsoft's "I'm a PC" campaign.

Continue reading this post ...

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September 19, 2008 6:20 PM

Microsoft statement on evidence that Macs were used in 'I'm a PC' commercials

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

At the end of this post, commenter unkanny points out a blemish on the Microsoft ad campaign in the news this week:

"The ad agency goofed when it posted a photo of the ad on the web. Someone checked the metadata. And yep. It was created on a Mac. The next day, the photo's metadata was scrubbed. And the size went from 272k to 852k. Source:"

Indeed. Here's coverage from Roughly Drafted and a link to the original Flickr user, Luis DS, who spotted the metadata.

"Apparently, neither Windows PCs nor Expression Studio are up to the task of taking on Apple and destroying its globe enshrouding 'Get a Mac' campaign," wrote Daniel Eran Dilger at Roughly Drafted.

I asked a Microsoft spokesman if Crispin Porter + Bogusky used Macs and Adobe software to create the campaign. The spokesman issued a statement in reply:

"As is common in almost all campaign workflow, agencies and production houses use a wide variety of software and hardware to create, edit and distribute content, including both macs and PCs."

The spokesman pointed out that Apple store clerks use devices running Windows Mobile and that Apple licensed Exchange ActiveSync from Microsoft for the iPhone.

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September 18, 2008 3:37 PM

Ballmer fired up at company meeting, tells employees why Microsoft wouldn't build an iPhone

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano


Employees arrive at Microsoft's annual company meeting.

At Microsoft's company meeting today, CEO Steve Ballmer was in full cheerleader mode, running around the stage, high-fiving Microsoft employees at Safeco Field, breathing hard and yelling into the microphone, said one observer, who asked to remain anonymous while describing an event that was closed to the public.

Ballmer sought to put employees' concerns to rest, particularly around competitors Google and Apple, our tipster said.

In particular, Ballmer said he is often asked why Microsoft doesn't do its own iPhone.

Continue reading this post ...

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September 18, 2008 8:23 AM

Next Microsoft ad takes aim at Apple's "I'm a PC" stereotype

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

STEROTYPE30_TTL_sean2.jpg "Hello. I'm a PC. And I've been made into a stereotype," says Sean, right, in the outset of the latest installment in Microsoft's $300 million Windows ad campaign, set to debut tonight in prime time.

(Update, 7:26 p.m.: Watch it here.)

The sixty-second spot -- one of several elements in a campaign that will span print, the Web, television and outdoor -- launches into a series of testimonials by other people, including celebrities and real people, who proclaim, "I'm a PC."

"I'm a PC, and I'm not what you would call hip," says a woman standing in front of a white board. Bill Gates is next. "I'm a PC," says the Microsoft founder, holding a bag (paper) of groceries, "and I wear glasses."

Architect Edouard Francois says he designs green buildings. "Desperate Houswives" star Eva Longoria and husband Tony Parker, guard for the San Antonio Spurs, make an appearance. As does Deepak Chopra, who intones, "I am a PC and I am a human being. Not a human doing. Not a human thinking. A human being."

Update, 9:43 a.m.: The spot closes with the tag line for the campaign: "Windows: Life without Walls." Bill Veghte, senior vice president of Microsoft's online services and Windows business group, said Microsoft felt it had to reclaim the message around its products from Apple and is doing so with the "I'm a PC" ad, which will start in heavy rotation on U.S. television tonight. Shorter versions will appear across the Internet as part of a "very significant" online buy.

"We need to be out telling our story to our customers," Veghte said. "These are Windows customers telling the story of what Windows represents. ...

"Windows is about all sizes and shapes of different PCs and devices and software applications, and so to the extent that Windows is inclusive, that is something we want to make sure people understand. It's not a stereotype. It's an inclusive set of experiences that celebrate and support diversity and individuality and choice."

Starting this afternoon on, people will be able to upload their own "I'm a PC" testimonials, which will be incorporated into other parts of the campaign, including a video billboard in Times Square in New York City.

"The whole approach is very dynamic and viral," Veghte said. "... The celebrities we use today will certainly evolve as we go forward."

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld does not appear in this part of the campaign. Eric Hollreiser, a company spokesman, said "that doesn't mean you won't see him in the future."

There was some speculation yesterday that the perplexing Seinfeld ads were pulled because of unfavorable response. Regardless of how they were received, they managed to build tremendous buzz around the campaign. And Microsoft said from the outset that it planned the Seinfeld ads as an introduction -- given that it has not done much mass market consumer advertising since the launch of Windows Vista in early 2007 -- to be followed by more concrete messaging.

(You also won't see Seinfeld at today's Microsoft company meeting, which begins at 11 a.m. at Safeco Field -- and is closed to the public. Microsoft tapped Rainn Wilson of "The Office" to emcee the annual event, which Bill Gates will not attend for the first time in recent memory.)

To hammer home the "Life without Walls" tag line, Microsoft also launched a flurry of print ads featuring a Windows "Manifesto," which Veghte described as a document used internally "quite a bit." (It appeared in a two-page spread in the A section of The Seattle Times.) It carries the heading "Windows VS Walls" -- a not-so-veiled reference to the closed system of Apple, which makes hardware and operating system software.

The manifesto, printed next to a picture of a guy who has just cut a Windows-logo-shaped window through the wall of a house with a sawzall, reads:

"This epic struggle explains why we make what we make and do what we do. The thing that gets us out of bed every day is the prospect of creating pathways above, below, around and through walls. To start a dialogue between hundreds of devices, billions of people and a world of ideas.

To lift up the smallest of us. And catapult the most audacious of us. But, most importantly, to connect all of us to the four corners of our own digital lives and to each other. To go on doing the little stuff, the big stuff, the crazy stuff and that ridiculously necessary stuff. On our own or together.

This is more than software we're talking about. It's an approach to life. An approach dedicated to engineering the absence of anything that might stand in the way ... of life.

Today, more than one billion people worldwide have Windows. Which is just another way of saying we have each other."

Other print ads will highlight Windows across a range of outlets, from the PC, to mobile devices to the Web.

Stuart Elliott, advertising writer for The New York Times, has an interesting piece analyzing the success of the Windows campaign so far and the risks and rewards of countering a rival's attacks.

What do you think of this next installment in the campaign?

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September 2, 2008 12:06 PM

Reports: Microsoft readying 120 gigabyte Zune as Apple announces 'Let's rock' event

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The portable music player war -- such as it is -- looks to be heating up. Microsoft is working on a 120 gigabyte Zune, according Zunerama, an enthusiast site. (Hat tip to Matt Rosoff, of Directions on Microsoft, writing at CNET.)

Meanwhile, Apple has scheduled an event for Sept. 9 that has all the markings of a new iPod launch.

Continue reading this post ...

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March 25, 2008 1:49 PM

Microsoft radar: Clock ticks on Yahoo; iPhone apps from Redmond?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

After a lull before and after Easter weekend, it seems the tidbits on the Yahoo acquisition front are starting to roll in again.

Continue reading this post ...

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March 19, 2008 10:54 AM

Adobe CEO 'committed' to Flash for iPhone; touts benefits over Microsoft Silverlight

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Adobe CEO Narayen.

Two weeks after Apple CEO Steve Jobs made waves by saying Adobe's widely used Flash multimedia technology wasn't up to snuff for the iPhone, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said Tuesday his company is "committed" to developing a Flash Player for the device.

Continue reading this post ...

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March 6, 2008 10:43 PM

Ballmer Q&A: Is Apple 'this little chihuahua you just kick away?'

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Steve Ballmer went toe-to-toe with Guy Kawasaki on Apple, dissing his MacBook Air and welcoming his suggestion that Microsoft might view the longtime rival as a "little chihuahua you just kick away."

"Arf. Arf," Ballmer responded, in a startlingly good impression of a small dog barking. He acknowledged that Apple has taken some market share from Microsoft in recent years and credited the company for the iPhone, calling it a "very prominent product."

"They're going to continue to do good work, and we're going to continue to compete with all vigor and energy," Ballmer said.

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Comments | Category: Apple , Devices , Microsoft , Steve Ballmer , Wireless & telecom |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

March 6, 2008 11:06 AM

Microsoft-Yahoo bid rumors; Ballmer joins Sonics full-court press; iPhone works with Exchange

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The New York Post chimed in this morning on Yahoo's move to postpone the deadline for nominating candidates for its board of directors -- seen as an effort to stave off Microsoft's acquisition. The Post's unnamed sources expect this to push Microsoft to take a more aggressive strategy.

"'[Microsoft CEO Steve] Ballmer is just one of many highly emotional people involved in this,'' said a source who has spoken with executives at both companies. ''Microsoft has been trying to avoid going completely hostile, but now it is going to get completely hostile.'"

More substantive details in the story, again from unnamed sources: Microsoft has readied a slate of Yahoo director candidates and could submit it as soon as next week. It is considering changing its bid to all cash. The value of the current bid, which is half stock and half cash, changes with Microsoft's stock price, and is down from $44.6 billion when it was announced to $41.5 billion, as of Wednesday's closing price.

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