Microsoft's War on Apple Is Really a War on Laptops

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 11 2014 12:15 PM

Microsoft's War on Apple Is Really a War on Laptops

We all remember the Windows-Mac wars. But sort of ... vaguely? It was years ago now that Apple took on the huge Microsoft Goliath with things like side-by-side “Get a Mac” comparison ads. But in Microsoft’s new Surface ads, it’s pretty clear that the company wants to reopen old wounds. Which is weird, because it’s not really a fight Microsoft won the first time.

Apparently seeking redemption, Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3 ads place the tablet (“but it's not just a tablet, it's really a laptop”) next to the MacBook Air. The problem is that everything Microsoft touts as a compelling upgrade is just a basic feature that consumers expect from products marketed for productivity. A Surface Pro 3 costs more than an Air for comparable specs and its keyboard. The goal here for Microsoft is to show that the Surface is the same, plus better because it’s a tablet that you can actually work on instead of just watching Netflix or looking at photos.

Advertisement

But people don't seem to care. Comments on a YouTube video aren’t a random sample, but of the 156 currently on the video, there are about 10 positive Surface notes, like “My Surface 3 is very amazing!! I love it!!!! This surface rules!” Those 10 positive comments include qualified statements like, “i love the surface except for the kick stand which sucks when i use it on my lap lapability is not what it is,” and “i love the surface pro 3 ( i have a surface pro ) but the Price U_U.”

Most commenters talk about how much they love Apple laptops and operating systems, and take jabs at Microsoft like, “Oh, god. Any idiot who believes this deserves to go with Microsoft,” or just “facepalm.” If you want to be running Windows on a portable device, the Surface is your option, but Microsoft seems to be sticking to its plan to market the tablets for productivity and enterprise aka things that aren't very fun. At least the company is squarely stating that they want the product to take on laptops now.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is a staff writer and the lead blogger for Future Tense.

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.