Microsoft tries to slam Apple in the worst possible place

Text below star rating is a free Apple product placement

In marketing, it’s often said to never mention your competitor by name, as this makes it easier for the consumer to cross-shop because you have provided them a comparable product. Knowing this, Microsoft has recently updated its Surface website to bash Apple products but they have done it at an awful location, the product selection website.

The page that Microsoft has chosen to attack Apple is the same page where you select your product to checkout. Presumably, if the consumer is already at this page, they are heavily leaning towards buying a Surface but with the added knock of Apple bashing, Microsoft has placed a competitors name at the point of sale.

Why would you ever want to do this? If the consumer is one mouse click away from buying your product, why would you mention your competitor by name as it could spark the user to go view the competition that they may not have considered without the reminder from Microsoft.

Text below star rating is a free Apple product placement

The Apple bashing appears on the Surface 1, Surface 2, and Surface 2 Pro pages that means that the placement of the text was intentional.

We can understand that Microsoft would want it’s Surface to look superior to Apple products on other marketing pages where the company is still trying to persuade the consumer to buy their device, as this is common practice. But on the checkout page, Microsoft should keep the statements free of competitors’ names to not tempt the buyer to cross-shop.

The update to the page is fairly recent as you can see in the image below, obtained by using Google’s webpage caching feature, Apple’s product names are absent from the page.

Previous text obtained via Google cache

We know that Microsoft is doing everything it can to help support its Surface business model that trails behind Apple’s iPad, but surely there are better ways to go about promoting your own product and bashing the competition at locations other than the point of sale. For now, though, Apple is getting a free product placement on the Surface checkout page, and even though it may not be a favorable statement, they are getting a free, last minute, brand placement that could turn away a few buyers.

As noted in the comments below, the text you see above is only shown to those with a user agent setting that shows you are using OS X. 

Source: Microsoft | Thanks for the tip Greg!

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You only ever bash a product that is seen as superior to your own, either in market share or perceived quality. As you want the user to think about your product been greater than or highly competitive too such competing product.
If your product is clearly superior you don't want people to associate your product with a clearly inferior competing product, you would want to be seen as in a league of your own, vice verser if your product is the inferior one.

Microsoft might as well just give a big fat check to Apples Marketing department, as it will yield the same result.

If your comment made any sense, then it would have made sense, but it doesn't, so it doesn't. Microsoft pointing out to Apple hardware and software users (and only to them) the fact that the product comes with features an iPad doesn't, makes perfect sense logically, financially, commercially, and doesn't in any way "help" Apple, since it's most likely someone who already owns an Apple device reading that message. Microsoft's marketing is exceptionally good, despite what you clueless people with no experience whatsoever in marketing are claiming.

It's obvious why they did it, is it not? Apple just reduced the price of its comparable models by $100, effectively undercutting the price of similarly specced Surface Pros. Microsoft is just trying to tell people that while their product is more expensive, it's also deserving of the price because it's more functional. Basically, Apple doesn't want anyone making the argument that for the same price, you can buy both a MacBook Air or a Surface Pro, which is both a tablet and a laptop, so they undercut the Surface's price. Microsoft probably don't want to follow suit (maybe because of the losses they are already incurring) and, so, this is the result.

Oh, and it certainly isn't the worst possible place. In fact, it may be just the right place because no one buys products in a vacuum and this is not the checkout page. This is just the general information page, from which you can proceed to adding items to your cart, which is what buying the tablet would be. Obviously, if you consider a Surface, you are probably well aware of the market enough to also want to take a look at a MacBook Air and since you'll find it to be cheaper now, Microsoft want to explain why you should still pay more for their product. The customer can still choose not to buy the Pro because of it being more expensive so your argument is quite invalid. If I had bought all the stuff I had gone to the product selection page of, I'd have a thousands different gadgets.

Why is this not listed as an editorial, Mr. Sams? Reporting is one thing, but adding your personal slant makes it an opinion piece. Journalism 101.

I guess I also don't see it as a slam. I think these statements are a succinct manner to differentiate their product from a competitor, and differentiation is very important, since many people try to criticize the Surface line for not being as capable as a full blown laptop, or chuck it into the category of "just another tablet".

Neowin tries to slam Microsoft who tries to slam Apple in the worst possible place, the front page of their site with a non-news story.

Especially when it's pointed out only to people who use an Apple device to view the page, most of which are idiots who actually need and could benefit from it being pointed out to them.

jetblack said,
Terrible article...sensationalism at its worst. How is pointing out a real difference a "slam" or "bashing"?

Because anything that's negative towards another tech company is a "slam"...

As Steve Jobs famously said "Microsoft !? - they are Mac Donald's..."

and that really does say it all, nothing more to add - lets all move along...

Yup, another article with the word "slam" in the title. :rolleyes:

What next? Neowin is going to turn into CNN and start using "BREAKING NEWS" in every headline?

"not like a XX" is a slam? So if there was a picture of an iPhone and said "Not like an Android", that's a slam? They're simply saying it's different.

Why does it matter what Apple does?

This is Neowin. A web site about Windows and Microsoft. There's a reason MS fans don't like Apple. And the last thing Microsoft should want is to be the next Apple. But honestly in the last couple of years it looks like MS is trying very very very hard to be Apple number 2. Closed systems. ****** marketing. Trying to be cool. Etc ...

I used to love Microsoft but i don't really like where they are going right now. Hope nadella will turn things around.

LaP said,
Why does it matter what Apple does?

This is Neowin. A web site about Windows and Microsoft. There's a reason MS fans don't like Apple. And the last thing Microsoft should want is to be the next Apple. But honestly in the last couple of years it looks like MS is trying very very very hard to be Apple number 2. Closed systems. ****** marketing. Trying to be cool. Etc ...

I used to love Microsoft but i don't really like where they are going right now. Hope nadella will turn things around.

Actually, it has nothing to do with Apple, I could have pulled an example from 1000 other websites where they compare their products to their competitors, and often are not honest about it.

How you think Microsoft is doing something different is just freakishly scary.

As for MS Fans and Apple Fans, blah.

Beyond the 'show' that Apple and Microsoft put on for people like yourself, the two companies work together and aren't the die hard competitors you seem to think.

As for MS 'trying to be Apple', you don't get something important. Microsoft has a different model than Apple, this is why Apple 'uses' Microsoft for services. If you dig even deeper the agreements with Microsoft and Apple, Apple depends a lot on Microsoft technology.

Microsoft doesn't need to be and hasn't ever tried to be 'Apple', it is outside of how they operate and even their new restructuring forward.

There is a good reason for this, as Apple's current success has a shelf life unless they can keep recreating 'magic', where Microsoft can plod along with nothing new for years and solvent. Which is a constant pattern with both Microsoft and Apple; there is a reason why in the 80s a tiny company called Microsoft had to bail out Apple and there is a reason why in the 90s as Microsoft kept moving forward they once again had to bail out Apple as their business model hit its shelf life.

Somebody considering buying a tablet, hasn't already given apple products some serious thought? Yeah.... right. :rolleyes:

Since this message only shows for people who use Apple hardware and software to view the page, it makes perfect sense, and despite you trying to make it seem otherwise, this shows in a pre-checkout/add-to-cart stage and makes perfect sense. You could learn a little about effective marketing from Microsoft, instead of going out of your way to bash them while omitting crucial info from the news title and first *3 paragraphs*.

See tomwarrens comment... only OS X users see this, so you'd have to be shopping around the Surface site on your Mac

tomwarren said,
This isn't new. Has been there for weeks, and it's based on user agent string so if you're using a PC you won't see it.
Ok, so that's actually smart. Only people who already know about Apple will see the message, so it can't hurt. Interesting.

So when Honda says their car comes with a feature standard that you need to pay extra for on a Toyota, that's childish?

I don't have a problem with companies mentioning other products as a comparison, but the tone of this particular text seems a little unprofessional (and bitchy).

Why not put the two side-by-side and allow the consumer to decide instead of trying to hide away what the competition has to offer? Why do you suggest hiding the fact that the MacBook Air (in this case) exists just so the consumer can buy a Surface instead? Looks like one isn't very confident in the product.

srprimeaux said,
Why not put the two side-by-side and allow the consumer to decide instead of trying to hide away what the competition has to offer?

Because this isn't a third party vendor site like NewEgg/etc? Expecting a company to give free advertising for another company is a little unrealistic don't you think? Go into an Apple store and ask them to explain the benefits of a Surface, see how that turns out. Got nothing to do with confidence.

Max Norris said,

Because this isn't a third party vendor site like NewEgg/etc? Expecting a company to give free advertising for another company is a little unrealistic don't you think? Go into an Apple store and ask them to explain the benefits of a Surface, see how that turns out. Got nothing to do with confidence.

I doubt Apple is threatened by anything Microsoft has to offer. And who would walk into an Apple store asking about a Microsoft product?

srprimeaux said,
And who would walk into an Apple store asking about a Microsoft product?

The same reason why I wouldn't expect to see Apple products being hyped up on a Microsoft site like you suggested originally. You wouldn't.

Max Norris said,

The same reason why I wouldn't expect to see Apple products being hyped up on a Microsoft site like you suggested originally. You wouldn't.

Apple wouldn't because there's no threat. Microsoft, however, sees a threat and hence the mention of an Apple product on their site.

srprimeaux said,

I doubt Apple is threatened by anything Microsoft has to offer. And who would walk into an Apple store asking about a Microsoft product?

I think I have my playtime plans for this weekend . . . :-D

Meh. It's not like Apple hasn't gone out of their way to bash Windows systems either. But who knows, maybe the 2 or 3 people who haven't heard of Apple may find it enlightening. You know, giving reasons why should you pick product A versus B and all that.

I really can't Fault MS for telling the truth.
Air is a bad deal when it comes to Surface Pro.. Surface Pro is anything you need it to be, Tablet, laptop, Workstation even dedicated workstation(if u have the peripherals)

I bet if you went into a Microsoft Store, part of their pitch includes how it differs from competition like the MacBook Air so whats wrong with doing similar Online?

Heck if I ran an MS Store, I'd have the Pro 2 side by side with a Mac showcasing the differences
with Raw Deal atop one machine and Raw Power atop another ;)

Edit: as others pointed out I don't see the words on either the US Surface site or Canada..

Edited by dingl_, Apr 29 2014, 1:36pm :

dingl_ said,
Surface Pro is anything you need it to be, Tablet, laptop, Workstation even dedicated workstation(if u have the peripherals)

Maybe so. But it seems to me that you have to be willing to make some fairly big compromises compared to dedicated devices like the iPad which is (arguably) a better tablet, or the MacBook Air which is a far better laptop. Not to mention that there are obviously better workstations out there.

In theory, I'm a huge fan of the one device (plus smartphone) for everything approach, in practice I don't see it working for me at this point.

CJEric said,

Maybe so. But it seems to me that you have to be willing to make some fairly big compromises compared to dedicated devices like the iPad which is (arguably) a better tablet, or the MacBook Air which is a far better laptop. Not to mention that there are obviously better workstations out there.

In theory, I'm a huge fan of the one device (plus smartphone) for everything approach, in practice I don't see it working for me at this point.

The MBA is a very poor laptop for the money. In what way is it better than the Surface Pro 2?

Brandon Live said,
The MBA is a very poor laptop for the money.

Why do you say that?

Brandon Live said,

In what way is it better than the Surface Pro 2?

Mainly in the quality of the keyboard and trackpad, its screen size and flexibility in using it on your lap or freely adjusting the angle of the screen. I would add OS X and included apps to that, but that might be a matter of taste

CJEric said,

Why do you say that?

Terrible, low-res, non-touch screen. Heavy compared to competitors like the Vaio Pro.


Mainly in the quality of the keyboard and trackpad, its screen size and flexibility in using it on your lap or freely adjusting the angle of the screen. I would add OS X and included apps to that, but that might be a matter of taste

Are you talking about the Type Cover 2? Those have awesome trackpads (sadly one of the only Precision Touchpad device you can buy today). Screen size is only a little smaller than the MBA 11-inch, and you get a more compact device for it.

The kickstand angles on the SP2 are great too, but obviously there's a trade-off between the form factors. If you want a more traditional laptop, the Vaio Pro gives you a lot more for your money (in a significantly smaller/lighter package) than the MBA. Sadly the fate of Vaio is a little unclear now with Sony selling it off. Not sure if anyone else builds anything as nice in that class, although I know many fans of Lenovo's laptops. The Yoga 2 Pro with its 3800x1600 display looked pretty nice last I looked.

How heck in this bashing? Nothing more like stating the facts and now it's bashing? wow people. And as far as the placement of it, people always put things in cart and often decide against it last minute. I think this is perfect for those users that are not 100 percent sure.

I see neowin has nothing to post today. that's all folks.

techbeck said,
hmm, was hoping this would be the last of the trash marketing when Nadella came on board.

So wait it's not yeah talking when Apple suits those Mac vs PC commercial but its bashing when MS does it... Sigh

duk3togo said,

So wait it's not yeah talking when Apple suits those Mac vs PC commercial but its bashing when MS does it... Sigh

You're making assumptions...
The majority of people here agree that those Mac vs PC commercials were stupid. Regardless, they're 8 years old and still they're brought up in petty arguments, so whether or not they were good, they certainly made a lasting impression.

duk3togo said,

So wait it's not yeah talking when Apple suits those Mac vs PC commercial but its bashing when MS does it... Sigh

Not only that, but Apple has for years used a picture of a monitor with a BSOD as an icon for a networked PC. The Apple fanboys think it is hilarious. But put a comparison of something your product has that the competition does not when you are making a buying decision, and it is horrible.

And contrary to what people he would have you believe, those Mac commercials were well liked. Apple claimed it was because of the commercials that caused millions of people to switch, all the tech web sites could not wait to upload the latest commercial to generate more hits, the fanboys bragged about how it was sticking it to "the man" (Microsoft), and the advertising industry gave them a number of awards. It is only when Microsoft starts giving it back that the Apple commercials are said to be in bad taste.

duk3togo said,

So wait it's not yeah talking when Apple suits those Mac vs PC commercial but its bashing when MS does it... Sigh

Never liked those Apple commercials and I was very vocal about it when they were aired. I dont like marketing like this period.

Astra.Xtreme said,

You're making assumptions...
The majority of people here agree that those Mac vs PC commercials were stupid. Regardless, they're 8 years old and still they're brought up in petty arguments, so whether or not they were good, they certainly made a lasting impression.

So you agree they were stupid yet they still linger in peoples minds. You know how many techtards I hear every day saying that Macs "don't get viruses" because of those commercials. Bashing works which is why Samsung does it in their commercial and most companies do you ever hear them saying compared to the other leading brand or in small print. So get the uuk out here with that.

duk3togo said,

So you agree they were stupid yet they still linger in peoples minds. You know how many techtards I hear every day saying that Macs "don't get viruses" because of those commercials. Bashing works which is why Samsung does it in their commercial and most companies do you ever hear them saying compared to the other leading brand or in small print. So get the uuk out here with that.

Well those commercials never claimed that Macs don't get viruses, so the fault is on those "techtards" who haven't educated themselves. Not really sure what your point was supposed to be.

duk3togo said,

So you agree they were stupid yet they still linger in peoples minds. You know how many techtards I hear every day saying that Macs "don't get viruses" because of those commercials. Bashing works which is why Samsung does it in their commercial and most companies do you ever hear them saying compared to the other leading brand or in small print. So get the uuk out here with that.

The way it is, as evidenced by another comment, is that Apple will do their best to mislead and confuse people, make claims about other companies while implying that they never have those same problems, and just generally create FUD about their commercials. Then they know that their fans will later cover for them, use technicalities to escape criticism (well we never actually said it), and then claim that they never really liked those commercials. And then when Microsoft writes something like "we have features our competitors have" they will act like Microsoft is the most horrible, disgusting company ever for a single line that is 100% factually true. And notice how you can draw a line in saying Microsoft's product has something, Apple's doesn't. But Apple need to bend the truth and get out on technicalities (we never said we don't get viruses).

Here is a partial transcript of an Apple commercial:
PC: I think I got that virus that's going around. You'd better stay back, this one's a real hum-dinger.
Mac: Okay, I'll be fine.
PC: Don't be a hero! Last year there were a known 140,000 known viruses for PCs.
Mac: PCs, not Macs.

Notice how they kind of say they don't get viruses, how they need to twist words to make it sound like they are invulnerable? Then there is this from the Telegraph.co.uk, describing the Apple web site:


Apple previously claimed on its website that the Mac “doesn't get PC viruses” and told owners they could “safeguard your data”, “by doing nothing”.
“A Mac isn't susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers,” it boasted.

They can't rely upon being truthful with the user, they need to attack their competition. Of course, nobody said anything about how wrong Apple was for writing that to attack Microsoft - in fact, here we have someone who is using those very words to defend Apple. So while they claim that they didn't like Apple's attacks against Microsoft, they are actually using those Apple attacks to defend Apple in saying that Apple never claimed they do not get viruses.

WhatTheSchmidt said,
snip

First of all, the point that this discussion was making went wayyyyyyy over your head. For starters, re-read the article above...
Second of all, you clearly don't understand how marketing works. You act as if the bits of information presented in those commercials were lies and untrue. You're blindly seeing things that aren't there, and YOU are the only one at fault for that. Have you ever noticed that just about every commercial for a product on TV points out features that the competitors don't have? Does that upset you too? Why is it that every time the word "Apple" is mentioned, the critics storm in and display their insecurities and misconceptions? Not a single compliment has been paid here to Apple, which makes your comment that much more pathetic.

Astra.Xtreme said,

snip

And as usual, it is everybody else's fault. I don't understand, I am pathetic, I am blind, I am at fault. You are using an attack made by Apple, and defending that attack by claiming that it is everyone else's fault for attacking poor, poor Apple. As someone wrote while looking for examples below, Apple used computer illiteracy of people to generate FUD and scare them to Mac and away from PCs. FUD that if said by Microsoft you and others would be complaining about disgusting tactics. Instead, you defend it when Apple does it, and then claim that by Microsoft simply stating "we have something that Apple does" then they are not too bright. I guess by telling exactly like it is while Apple needs to find some slick way of tricking people, that needs defending, as you are here.

And as for the supposedly horrible attacks that Apple made with the I'm a PC, I look and find articles like this one:
http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/...ac-complete-campaign-130552

I'm sorry, but the article nor comments make me think that it was disliked by the Mac community. We have quotes like:
"Among the most beloved was the long-running "Get a Mac" series with John Hodgman and Justin Long"
Beloved? The first word I think of when someone says "beloved" is it was an attack ad.
Or how about
"Adweek declared "Get a Mac" to be the best advertising campaign of the first decade of the new century"
So horrible for their attacks it is the best campaign of the decade.

And then comments from users such as:
"Rant and rave and bash Apple all you want, but let's face it, they got it right, from marketing to manufacturing and to design to customer service. "

"Hilarious."
" All of them are really humorous."
"Love it."
"An incredible campaign. Humiliation, shame and common sense benefits-- what powerful tools they be"


As for not any compliments being paid Apple here, you are right, there are few. After all, this is not an Apple focused web site. Let's look to a Mac focused website. From http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=792998 where somebody criticized them, and then there were the responses:

"Sales say otherwise."
"They're massively popular and effective, thats why theyre still around. A company as good at marketing like apple wouldn't be using them if they werent."
"Personally, I like the format. Most of them I like. Short and to the point."
"cute and funny"

And you got to like the derision about Microsoft's I'm a PC commercials:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=513542

And really, we don't pay Apple compliments so I am pathetic? I know, I have not tithed and shown my glory to Apple in a while, so I am a horrible person, almost as horrible as the Microsoft brutal attacks towards Apple.

Edited by WhatTheSchmidt, Apr 29 2014, 10:48pm :

nickcruz said,
How heck in this bashing?

I said trash talking, not bashing. No need for MS to put that statement on their page at all. I mean, is MS having that many problems selling Surfaces that they need to do that? And really, who care if the Surface comes with Office preinstalled. Takes a second to download it on an iPad.

Anyway, willing to bet since this isnt listed anywhere that some moron at MS posted this and its not world wide. Still, will reflect badly on MS for some.

WhatTheSchmidt said,
Man, I love that tolerance and love for all that is professed, but not followed through with.
It's exactly why the Internet is so awesome. Why I read from Neowin in the first place. Let the battle rage on!

techbeck said,

I said trash talking, not bashing. No need for MS to put that statement on their page at all. I mean, is MS having that many problems selling Surfaces that they need to do that? And really, who care if the Surface comes with Office preinstalled. Takes a second to download it on an iPad.

Anyway, willing to bet since this isnt listed anywhere that some moron at MS posted this and its not world wide. Still, will reflect badly on MS for some.


That's the point people have Apple s the company that does no wrong and if MS days in the wind people are all over it telling you it's scent.