If the PC vs. Mac wars of old seemed to be quieting down, Microsoft
might be determined to get them fired back up. The PC giant released a new set of ads that seem designed to point out the superiority of its Surface Pro 3 tablet/laptop to Apple's MacBook Air.
In the ads released, Microsoft compares the Surface Pro 3 with Apple's MacBook Air and said it offers more than what customers can expect from Apple's slim laptop.
The commercials -- titled "Head to Head", "Power" and "Crowded" -- have to do with power and versatility. Despite the similar technical specifications of the two machines, Microsoft insists that the inclusion of a touchscreen with the Surface makes it a superior value.
In "Crowded," two off-screen voices argue about the abilities of their respective devices. When a Surface Pro 3 user shows off a stylus and the capability to write on-screen, his counterpart can only produce a pad of paper.
Jan Dawson, chief analyst at industry research firm Jackdaw Research, pointed out that Microsoft has positioned the Surface Pro 3 against the MacBook Air from the beginning, so the new ads are in line with that strategy.
"Microsoft recognizes that no one has yet gone head-to-head against the iPad and won, so it's taking a different tack this time around and positioning the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet that can replace your laptop," Dawson told us.
Microsoft is touting the Surface Pro 3 as offering the best of tablets and laptops. A Web page in the Microsoft Store compares the Surface Pro with the MacBook Air, often with loaded language. While the Surface Pro 3 "weighs a mere 2.4" pounds, for instance, the MacBook Air "tips the scales" at 2.96 pounds.
Microsoft also points out that the Surface Pro 3, running Windows 8.1 Pro, allows users to snap up to three apps or desktop programs side by side while MacBook's OS X offers no support for snapping two apps side by side. The Surface Pro 3 also offers a stylus and front- and rear-facing HD cameras, which the MacBook doesn't.
Get What You Pay For
But not surprisingly, the extra muscle and frills come at a cost. The Surface Pro starts at $799, with fully loaded models selling for $1,949. The top-of-the-line version comes with an Intel Core i7, a 12-inch 2,160-by-1,440-pixel resolution display, and 512 GB of onboard storage. The most expensive MacBook Air is priced at $1,199.
"Every device is a compromise," Dawson said. "But the hope is clearly that some people out there are in the market for a high-end laptop that can also be a passable tablet when needed.
"Microsoft is banking on the fact that lots of people out there don't want to, or can't afford to, buy both a laptop and a tablet, and (is saying) that this can meet their needs."