Microsoft (MS) usually never responds to Apple Inc.’s taunts (in its own advertising), about the quality, security or ease of use of MS’s Windows operating system.


But MS is now fighting back on the one issue where it can blow Apple and it’s Macs out of the water: Price.

The first of a new series of MS ads débuted last week, showing a young, female, budget-conscious, energetic, presumably intelligent shopper looking for a new notebook PC — for under (US)$1,000.

She goes first to the Mac store (presumably in response to all the slick Apple advertising she’s been exposed to) but is aghast at the prices. There’s only one model that comes in under (US)$1,000 and it’s totally inadequate for her needs.

Off she goes to a big box office/computer store and it’s like springtime in the woods, attractive options popping up wherever she looks like exotic mushrooms after a cleansing rainshower.

Okay. It’s a little like watching a movie based on a book you’ve already read. You know the ending but you’re curious to see what the Hollywood writers have done to the story.

The notable thing, here, is that MS has stopped officially ignoring Apple and is fighting back. Perhaps a sign of the times, with computer sales predicted to sag by at least 12 per cent this year over last.

Curiously, the one subset of the computer market expected to make any gains at all is the laptop/notebook segment. No coincidence, we imagine, that a laptop was what MS’s young shopper was after, in that commercial.

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