From today’s Newsweek:

…the ugly attacks from Mac fanboys are exactly what Microsoft was hoping to provoke, says David Webster, general manager for brand marketing at Microsoft [The genius behind the pointless/expensive Seinfeld ads and the Mojave project that tanked]. He says the idea was to turn Apple’s "I’m a Mac" campaign to Microsoft’s advantage. "We associate real people with being PCs, [but then Apple] ends up looking pretty mean-spirited, the way they go after customers," he says. "It’s clear that’s who they are insulting." At the same time he can’t resist taking a crack at the preciousness of some Mac users. "Not everyone wants a machine that’s been washed with unicorn tears," he says.

We’re not sure any of the attacks were on the customers, they were more pointed towards the quality of the machines and Microsoft’s tact of removing any mention of its actual product, Windows Vista, from the conversation.

And when it comes down to it: yes there are people with $400 budgets who need a laptop.  And, yes, there are some really solid ones out there that run Linux and XP.  I currently use and love my EEEPC 1000HE which does just that

Apple doesn’t make a (new) machine for this large segment of society (yet?), which is unfortunate.  But for people who have enough money to spend, why pretend that the $1500 machine that G bought matches up with a $1500 MacBook, even without the train wreck that is Microsoft Vista.  It simply doesn’t, and that is misleading.  Apple owns more than 2/3rds of the over-$1000 consumer PC market.  Microsoft is the underdog here.  Macs are "the rest of us". 

Are some Apple ads misleading?  Sure!  The one where the Mac makes fun of PC for spending money on ads…in an Apple ad comes to mind.  Did the blogosphere blow up over that one?  Yup, just like it is supposed to.

David Webster’s past genius:

Microsoft pulled Seinfeld? That news made headlines everywhere from the Wall Street Journal to the Manhattan gossip website Gawker. And that could be the point.

"We’re sort of a student of fame making," Alex Bogusky, cochairman of Microsoft’s ad agency, Crispin Porter & Bogusky, once told me. It’s possible the student has officially become the teacher.

Microsoft had featured comedian Jerry Seinfeld in its first new ads with Crispin, which were aimed toward making the brand more humorous and human. The effort created quite a buzz—much of it, admittedly, negative, puzzled, or outright hostile. But buzz it was, which was the point, says David Webster, Microsoft’s general manager of brand and marketing strategy.

He also came up with the name Azure for Microsoft’s cloud computing initiative amongst other things.

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