Apple Wanted Microsoft Ads Yanked

Redmond exec says rival's complaint shows campaign is working.

Microsoft COO Kevin Turner claimed that a recently launched ad campaign touting the value of Windows PCs is so effective that lawyers from rival Apple tried to get the spots killed.

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"You know why I know they're working?" said Turner, speaking Wednesday at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. "Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department," said Turner.

One 60 second spot that debuted earlier this year during the NCAA "March Madness" basketball games features a thrifty consumer named Lauren, who's out to purchase a laptop for under $1,000.

Lauren's first stop is an Apple Store in Southern California, from which she emerges empty-handed. "I would have had to double my budget," complains the twenty-something redhead. Lauren then heads for a big box electronics retailer, where she buys a Windows-powered HP Pavilion laptop for $699.

Most Macs, including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, sell for well above $1,000. "I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," Laura deadpans at the end of the spot.

Turner said Apple's legal eagles tried to depict the ads as inaccurate.

"'Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices,'" Turner quoted Apple's attorneys as saying. "They took like $100 off or something," said Turner. "It was the single greatest phone call in history that I've ever taken in business," he added.

The ads represent Microsoft's latest attempt to burnish its staid reputation and counter Apple's image as the brand of choice for hipsters and trendsetters. Microsoft last year ran a series of spots that featured company chairman Bill Gates and comedian Jerry Seinfeld. The ads, however, were widely panned as inscrutable.

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