Did Apple Ask Microsoft To Pull Laptop Hunter Ads?

PinocchYes, according to Kevin Turner, Microsoft’s chief operating officer speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. During his speech he recounted a call he claimed to be from Apple Legal. According to the transcript:

And you know why I know they’re working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey — this is a true story — saying, “Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.” They took like $100 off or something.

Is Turner telling the truth about this? I can’t say for sure, but it’s instructive to note that in the same transcript he says this about the Laptop Hunter ads (emphasis mine).

“Oh, I’m looking to spend less than $1,000.” Well we’ll give you $1,000. Go in and look and see what you can buy. And they come out and they just show them. Those are completely unscripted commercials.

Turner’s not being very truthful there. At the very least, it’s bending the truth to such an extent one must violate the laws of physics to pull it off. Unscripted? Please. Aside from certain events being staged, there’s also the kind of dialog that people are just not using unless prompted.

The latest example of this kind of dialog is in the most recent ad where, when showing a silver HP laptop (silver, to help it look like a unibody MacBook), the man talks about how sturdy it looks. No one usually talked about how “sturdy” a laptop felt until Apple began hacking them out of aluminum blocks. Apple’s been getting raves for the unibody durability, so now one of Microsoft’s laptop hunters coincidentally mentions the same thing about a cheap plastic laptop? Right.

I believe that when Microsoft picks a target price of less than $1,000 they’re on solid ground eliminating the Mac from contention. However, the rest of the supposedly “unscripted” dialog is bogus.

So did Apple Legal really call and request the ads be pulled, or is Turner bending the truth again? It sounds farfetched primarily because if Apple really felt they had a case for the ads to be pulled, they’d take action in writing. A written request, maybe even a Cease and Desist letter, would be more the style of Apple’s (or any large company’s) legal team. It just doesn’t seem like something they’d handle via a phone call to the COO.

10 thoughts on “Did Apple Ask Microsoft To Pull Laptop Hunter Ads?

  1. Let’s wait and see who has the last laugh when this quarters results come in from both companies.

    I’d bet “A” is for Apple. M is for Microsoft and Mediocre if not poor results again!

  2. I don’t doubt the call happened. However, the MS guy is clearly putting their own spin on the call. It’s not necessarily that Apple is upset with such comparisons. This issue here is that since the Macbook updates, the actual details presented in the commercial are incorrect. For example, they claim that all you can get for x dollars is a laptop with y features and 2GB of ram. Apple now ships the Macbook pro model in that price range with 4GB of ram. Additionally, prices have been lowered, etc. Apple can very well force them from not playing specific commercials that make specific claims which are not true.

    By contrast, Apple plays it safe by making more generic claims such as poking fun at Microsoft’s virus issues, etc.

  3. I hope Mr. Turner understands what slander is.

    For all of the pointed out reasons listed above, I truly hope Apple legal spanks this small boy.

  4. The ads could be unscripted, but just heavily edited in post. It’s amazing what can happen in the post production process, what gets left on the cutting room floor.

  5. The COO of MS says he got the greatest business call in his life and it came from a competitor with only about 10% of their market share? Pretty lame.

    I’m skeptical that it happened. If it did they were asking them to correct some misinformation like price.

    Just a thought, wouldn’t Apple legal contact someone at MS legal?

  6. It is more reasonable if Apple Legal pointed out that the ad where they show prices is no longer valid, and wanted it corrected.

    As for scripting, of course they’re scripted.

  7. Let’s say this really did happen. What kind of leader is Turner when he even contemplates bringing this up for discussion? Seriously. It just shows a complete lack of professional business ethics. Standing in front of a developer crowd is one thing. You’re talking to the choir. In front of a journalist? You’re just trying to bait them so it will get in print because we all know journalism these days is more gossip than facts. And this would be very juicy gossip no one would ignore.

    Besides that, I call BS. It never happened. Apple would have taken legal action by now if it were something they really wanted to pursue.

  8. Yes, I highly doubt that Apple Legal called Microsoft to ask them to remove those ads or correct the pricing information. It is most likely another store concocted by Microsoft. What I can imagine happening are the following scenarios:

    1. someone from Apple calling Microsoft to banter and say something like, “Good ad, but did you realise our prices are not what you claim to be?” And from there, the Microsoft person heard what they wanted to hear or retold the story in a way that makes “news”.

    2. an Apple fanboy calls Microsoft to complain

    3. a Microsoft fanboy pretending to be someone from Apple calls Microsoft

    These are some very likely possibilities.

  9. From Apple Legal:

    Please stop your heavy breathing when looking at our products. We realize that they excite you and make you moist, but it may cause an electrocution hazard. Electronic devices are not made for humid environments.


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