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3/24/2010
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Microsoft Touts Windows Home Server

The software maker will run advertisements on Hulu to promote media playback and archiving system aimed at the consumer market.

Microsoft plans to run a series of ads on the online video network Hulu to promote its Windows Home Server system, the company announced Wednesday.

Microsoft intends to show two, 30-second spots over the next three months.

"The videos were created to be metaphors of Windows Home Server, and convey two of the key features—backup and recovery," said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post.

"Windows Home Server is described as a 'Genie in the Box' who magically works to keep your data safe," said LeBlanc.

The ads will be placed in recorded versions of a number of shows currently appearing on Hulu, including Lost, The Simpsons, Human Target, 24, and Burn Notice.

Videos of Stargate SG-1, Kitchen Nighmares, Cops, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and numerous other popular shows will also carry the ads.

Microsoft is increasingly turning to the entertainment industry to promote its products. In 2008 the company tapped TV funnyman Jerry Seinfeld for a series of spots that also featured company chairman Bill Gates.

In the ads, Seinfeld and Gates toured the country and dropped in on unsuspecting Americans to learn more about the their lifestyles and tastes. The ads, however, were dismissed by many critics as inscrutable and not very funny.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft rival Apple is also turning to Hollywood to promote its products. The company's highly anticipated iPad tablet computer made its commercial debut earlier this month with a 30 second spot that premiered during the Academy Awards television presentation on ABC.

The ad featured video of a user manipulating a series of applications and videos on the iPad through seemingly effortless swipes, drags, touches, pokes, and other hand gestures. Danish band The Blue Van's song "There Goes My Love" played in the background.

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