Microsoft, once again hoping for free advertising on tech sites, releases another dumb anti-iPad ad

Microsoft once again gets free advertising on tech websites thanks to dumb iPad commercial

Microsoft has released a yet another anti-iPad ad, this time awkwardly trying to make fun of the iPad mini by putting it up against what everyone on Twitter tells me is the worst period Windows period tablet period in the world period - the Acer Iconia W3.

As commercials go, it's about as misrepresentative as Microsoft's previous anti-iPad spots. It shows both the iPad and Iconia with ebooks, then shows that the Iconia has Halo and the iPad doesn't. It shows that the Iconia has Office and the iPad doesn't. And it shows the Iconia is cheaper than the mini, at $299 compared to $429 for 32GB (it's $329 for the 16GB version).

I could waste a paragraph pointing out that it took Microsoft years to ship a mobile version of Halo, long after the iPad already enjoyed innumerable fantastic FPS games. Or that Microsoft still hasn't been able to ship a multitouch native version of Office, something Apple managed to do with iWork for iPad on day one. Or that the Iconia's build quality apparently reflects the cheapness of its price. Or, hey, how come the iPad can actually talk with great natural language and the Iconia just sits their being jabbed at by a finger?

But none of that really matters. In the classic Apple "Get a Mac" series, Apple arguably had a better product in OS X than Windows, and used those spots to drive that point across. I think even Microsoft knows they still have a stinker on their hands with Tablet PC, and that needs fixing urgently. (Where's the Windows Phone-based tablet? Where's the Xbox tablet? Why not put the best software into the most popular form factors?)

Still, some people may absolutely want full-on Windows on a small sized tablet, and prefer it to the iPad mini. It's a shame Microsoft isn't prioritizing making or enabling a good version of that device. Halo's a great first step, if, again, years late. A real touch-native version of Office would be a great follow up. So would more focused, less compromised first-party hardware, like an 8-inch next-gen Surface. Because, damn.

Microsoft deserves credit for getting a bunch of tech blogs to run their videos so often, even if they give equal attention to Apple's already industry leading product. No such thing as bad press, right?

But can we please stop d!cking around now and start taking this a bit more seriously? Like I said last year, Microsoft has to beat Apple at tablets. They're the short-term future of personal computing, and if Microsoft doesn't get their sh!t together and soon, they'll be facing the same irrelevance in the tablet space IBM once faced in the PC space. And at that point, we all lose.

Put that in a funny Siri voice.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Microsoft, once again hoping for free advertising on tech sites, releases another dumb anti-iPad ad


I times I do find the tone of some of Rene's articles to imply he takes things a bit personally, and if he does its a good/bad thing. He can introduce some emotion into the articles and his on personally take, but at times he can seem like he is being a bit defensive.

Either way these anti-iPad ads are getting so stupid now, and its mostly just lies, if anything a 7.85" iPad mini is the best small tablet, I don't want to be using a desktop MSFT office suite on a tiny 8" screen at all, and outside of Halo what games do they have that even matter?

Sometimes emotion is warranted however and the whole concept that a review, or any tech report really, even *can* be "emotionless" is actually just faulty reasoning. Josh at the Verge for example seems to go out of his way to be evenhanded and not get emotional in his reviews of products, and the result is only some of the most *biased* reviews you'll find anywhere. Personally, I have never seen or known Rene to be "defensive" in any of his articles.

I agree, any review that is totally emotionless is just a list of specs.

I find the adds funny, because they are so wrong. My mother commented on an add the other day (realize she is totally tech ignorant). The add showed the surface vs the ipad and at the end of it my mother says, "I think I like the iPad because the Siri's voice is easy to listen to."

Now I realize that isn't a reason to pick a tablet, but she wants the iPad after watching Microsoft's commercial, lol.

That is amazing, tbh when I saw the review the iPad mini just looked so much better in terms of quality.

Rene's reviews and insight are amazing but I have seen a fair few articles where someone will attack Apple and he inturns attacks said party back. I guess its a big difficult to interrupt tone on the internet but to me personally it does seems a bit defensive at times. Your understanding could be different.

And as I said above I think emotion is good, I like to understand the emotions a product give a user, be it joy, or misery. If someone tries to be emotionless its just a lie I believe and it reduces the quality of their review. Why hold back on your opinions about a product you don't own anyone anything.

I think Windows tablets have a great future, esp. once someone actually makes a small tablet worth having.

Performance seems to be alright with the w3, but EVERYONE admits the screen is complete garbage. Microsoft really should have put out this commercial once a legit Mini competitor comes to market running Windows 8.

I also thought that the comments "Siri" made were less creative and funny than previous versions.

"I think Windows tablets have a great future, esp. once someone actually makes a small tablet worth having."

I agree with this statement; and I actually agree with what Rene is saying. I feel like Microsoft has the resources to put out solid hardware and refined software. But, for some odd reason, they keep releasing subpar product experiences.

Instead of constantly attacking other products, Microsoft needs to focus on convincing people that its products provide a unique experience. However, until they provide that unique experience and prove it to their target audience, they will be singing and dancing to the same ol' swan song, unfortunately.

In all fairness, Microsoft didn't make this product, Acer did. I like Windows 8, but just like any OS, it can be improved. BTW, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 8" Surface of some type in the next year.

But it is MSFT who think using desktop apps on an 8" screen is even remotely a good idea, just look how bad it looked in the ad.

It really isn't that bad at all. The point with tablets running Windows today is the flexibility. When you need a pure tablet experience, the Metro apps are there. When you need to do something that can only be done well with desktop programs, they are there.

I'm tired of the windows commercials where they try to take on Apple as well. It's 2013, I don't need a USB port, flimsy keyboard/screen cover or a version of Halo that is actually nothing like Halo. Try making commercials that teach people about windows 8, the advantages and if you have a windows computer why it is better to own a windows tablet.

Sent from the iMore App

USB is very helpful if you want to replace a tablet and most of what people do with a laptop. When doing any Office type work (whether using Office or Apple/Google's versions), a mouse is a LOT better than touch. When wanting to get pictures from a camera to a tablet, usb is often the easiest. When printing from a tablet, usb is the easiest esp. if it isn't your own printer. Transfer large files from computer to tablet is easiest (faster and more reliable) when using a usb flash drive. Etc.

May not be needed for you but it can be certainly useful.

I completely agree. Without USB, you could say goodbye to productivity. A mouse and keyboard (via USB) are king (and queen) to getting work done via tablet or pc/laptop. I've tried to get office work done, using wireless peripherals; it was an awful experience, to say the least.

"Without USB, you could say goodbye to productivity" - what? Between iCloud and Dropbox, I haven't had to use USB sticks in months. I work on something on my iPad, or my Mac, and it just shows up on the other, no work required.

Read my post that he was responding to. USB has its advantages beyond file sharing (though if you aren't connected to the internet, USB starts sounding pretty good for file moving).

While you do have a point, the way technology is changing the USB drive will be obsolete along with CD, Zip drive, floppy disc, etc. everything will be in the cloud and devices that require USB connection will become Bluetooth wireless like keyboards are now.

Sent from the iMore App

Might be true in the future, but not anytime soon. USB interface will be around for a long time. There are still plenty of things wireless still isn't as good.

I agree I am sick of these commercials to. They need something different now cause its just getting old.. at the same time I don't like the new apple commercials either.

If your going to delete my other post don't leave this on to just delete them all... so annoying

Microsofts tablets have poor battery life. And poor software choices. Right now the iPad is where it's at. I would never trade my iPad for a windows tablet. Later on, I can see windows tablets will be pretty cool. But not right now. It's funny that they make fun of Siri. When they don't even have a comparable feature. They aren't going to win anyone over with these commercials. They need to just have better software.

I think the iPad has the biggest battery (11,000 mah) in the thinnest form factor. So far, I haven't seen another manufacturer - not even on Android - rival that. My Nexus 7 (2013) gets pretty good battery life; but I'm curious, as to how many hours I can squeeze out of the iPad , with heavy usage.

The Surface RT has an okay battery life. But I do agree iPad is king when it comes to the battery department / effeciency. Sadly the iPhone is the opposite. My iPhone 5's sucks a battery in like a black hole.

re: "Put that in a funny Siri voice."

Put this in a funny Ballmer voice: "We're not selling as many Windows devices as we want to."
He said that at a Microsoft town hall meeting recently, according to The Verge:

Rene's story about Microsoft *having* to beat Apple at tablets is deadly accurate.
You know it's bad when Acer cuts back on Windows PC production.
To make Chromebooks. And Android pads. That's sheer desperation.

A very solid point. If Chromebooks are where one of Windows' traditionally solid partners sees their future (everyone will make an Android tablet, because they can) then they have a very serious problem.

For folks who need only a light, web-centric computing experience, the Chromebook is becoming an ever better choice at an unbelievable price point. For me, cut all ties with the 'old' desktop Windows, remember this is 2013 and that Office isn't the backbone to selling an OS, and go for broke with the modern side of Windows 8. The side that's actually OK to use on tablets

Chromebooks are good as second computers. They are good for doing all your web things you need. They absolutely stink at about everything else. Considering this, I think that Chromebooks will eat more at tablet market than desktops or laptops.

Yeah, Chromebooks are only good as second computers. I bought an Acer Chromebook, to replace my laptop, and needless to say, went running back to my laptop.

Apple feels so ancient than others, it must to look whats customer want, and not what they want

Sent from the iMore App

So, explain why the iPad and iPad mini is still by far the best selling tablet on the market? If their customers didn't want what they're offering, why would they shell out hundreds of their hard earned dollars on it?

Are you sure it's not that you feel like it's ancient and you'd like something different? A personal feeling? Because while Apple keeps making money hand over fist and selling millions and millions of devices, they're going to think that their customers are pretty happy

When it comes to mobile business, Microsoft is as dumb as Google when they want to take over Office business! LMAO

And, of course, Google could never do anything with Android if it wasn't because of Eric sitting on his fat ass on Apple's board of directors!

Back to subject, good one Rene ;)

I think the ads are great. As mentioned, we're talking about them. Mission achieved. The real debate is whether the products are any good. MS has lots of problems. The primary one is whether Metro is catching on or not. I still hate it.

Secondary problems would be whether Office is losing status quickly and how the whole attempt to leverage all windows users toward Metro is just killing off their other major strength in windows.

I'd throw in the Surface as well as a wtf product. What purpose does it serve MS? A developer device? If so, it's priced too high. An attempt to actually make money with hardware? If so, it's not their business and only alienates OEMs, their bread n butter. An attempt to show OEMs the way? Welp, you partner with them, you don't introduce your own brand.

Certainly tablets are the future. But again, remember what business you're in. Protect and enhance Office and Windows at all costs. It's a freaking shame MS hasn't gotten Office out on every platform in all its glory. And I say that as a big fan of Office. I've been certified in every component of Office since its release. I know Excel like the back of my hand and teach CPE courses. I'd be first in line for an Office upgrade excited like a kid at a candy factory.

I don't get a sense of that any longer. It seems like each upgrade these days by MS has only made my experience worse. I love Apple's approach much better in what they've done with OS X and iOS.

Office is still king in the business world. While there are other options, those options run into the same problem that they did years ago: compatibility. I have used many of the other options, and there are always issues getting formatting to stay the same been programs. While this might not be a huge issue for a student turning in a basic paper, this would be a HUGE problem for someone who is turning in a resume electronically.

Surface being a "wtf product" as you describe? It is very simple. Microsoft wanted to put a product that gave their OEMs a benchmark. They wanted to make OEMs be creative and put thought into making devices. BTW, developer prices for items are often high (Google Glasses for example) so how is it priced too high for that?

Putting Office on every device would give people less of a reason to buy products with Windows on it, plain and simple. There is a reason Apple keeps most of its products to itself.

That said, I actually think the newest Office is actually more user friendly than ever before. The connectivity with Skydrive alone makes it a better product than before.

Have to disagree. Surface is definitely a wtf product. There's absolutely no reason to launch your own brand to show OEMs how you want something done. It's absurd.

Putting Office on every platform would make Office even more relevant. MS's business is selling software. Apple's business is selling hardware. That's why Apple keeps it's software tied to its hardware.

Microsoft isn't the same company it was 10 years ago. They have branched out to many different sectors. When it comes to hardware, all you have to look at is Xbox. I think it has done pretty well with that.

Again, Office doesn't need to become relevant. It already dominates the marketplace. It is considered that standard.

Considering the Windows tablets on the market prior to Windows 8 (talking hardware), I would say the OEMs needed a kick in the backside. Most were not something the average person would even consider buying.

Yeah, the older Windows tablets provided a horrible "experience," if an experience at all. Microsoft has definitely come a long way; but, there's always room for improvement.

The ads are fine

I skimmed the article before watching the video. I was surprised to be faced with an ad that, in no way, justified the tone in Rene's article... Or the title, "Microsoft, once again hoping for free advertising on tech sites, releases another dumb anti-iPad ad."

I skimmed over the comments and then watched the anti-ipad ad to see what the all the fuss was about.... I was laughing the whole way through! I was expecting to see Halo as an FPS but its not! Its actually a top down third person shooter. Ouch! Comon, now! Are you kidding me? SMH.

Rene, how about the fact that Acer is bailing on RT and will no longer be producing any RT Tablets or the fact that the iPad mini outsold both the RT and Surface, COMBINED? Or the fact that every version of N.O.V.A. kills this top down view HALO game?

I saw the ad and chuckled at it. I should clarify that... I saw the ad on my iPad. It was entertaining. But it's advertising, plain and simple, and serves no purpose other than to make their product look favorable. Lighten up, you shouldn't get so defensive.