The Apple vs. Microsoft rivalry has certainly cooled a lot since the 1990s when the two companies were seemingly locked in a never ending series of legal and other battles against one another for personal computer dominance. But even if relations have generally improved between the two tech titans, that doesn’t mean that Microsoft is above reviving the old feud for marketing purposes.
In a short ad designed to promote the Microsoft Surface Pro 2-in-1s, Microsoft takes a thinly veiled shot at Apple by comparing its own device to a supposedly inferior “BackBook.” For those keeping track at home, the BackBook is obviously a stand-in for Apple’s MacBook.
Comparing Proverbial Apples to Oranges
The gist of the ad is that the Surface Pro is a far more versatile device than the MacBook, boasting the ability to detach its keyboard to use it as a tablet, alongside featuring built-in kickstand, and more. Apple’s laptop (or, rather, the Apple-inspired generic brand X substitute) is depicted against a drab backdrop, failing to do anything nearly as exciting.
The comparison is, of course, somewhat unfair. The MacBook is not a hybrid device like the Surface Pro, and is intended to function as a traditional laptop. A more apt comparison would be with the iPad Pro, which offers a detachable keyboard, and can be used as a tablet. (Plus it runs Apple’s iPadOS operating system, for those who view that as a big selling point over a Microsoft Windows product.)
The Microsoft Surface Pro ad was shared on the company’s Microsoft India Twitter account. It ends with a screen imploring viewers to “Upgrade to Surface.” Accompanying text notes that:
“The 2-in-1 range of Surface devices come with laptop-to-tablet versatility, enabling you [to] work from anywhere, anytime. Sign up for a demo.”
To date, the ad has been watched more than 1.1 million times. It’s not clear whether Microsoft has plans to roll out the campaign internationally, or to create follow-up ads in the same series.
Poking Fun at Rivals
Apple typically avoids comparing its products to those made by rivals’ these days. However, it arguably helped create this sub-genre of tech commercials poking fun at rivals—perhaps most notably with its “Get A Mac” series of ads which ran from 2006 to 2009.
Those ads featured comedic comparisons between actors representing both Macs and Windows PCs, with the former presented as hip and self-assured, and the latter as neurotic and slightly dull.