The Seinfeld ads for Microsoft were unbearably counterproductive, and the relief at Jerry’s absence in what MS execs are calling “phase 2″ has been palpable throughout the ad world. We were all so pleased to say goodbye to the Jerry & Bill Show that I fear it has caused us to be far too welcoming to the “I’m a PC” ads that have followed.
Apart from the fact that the ads were created on a Mac, here’s the problem: The positioning of the campaign is defensive, pays far too much homage to Apple and sells Microsoft short—waaaaay short.
I happen to be writing this little blog piece on a Mac. But as everyone knows, the only reason I can use my Mac in business is that those very smart (if somewhat arrogant and self-absorbed) folks at Microsoft wrote the Office suite of software for Mac. That’s why I can exchange Word documents, spreadsheets, presentations and calendar entries with most of the world.
Microsoft needs to wake up and Google its own story. Sure, Windows is its premier product. And sure, Windows runs only on PCs. But Microsoft is a lot bigger than that, and it has more important competitors, of course, than Apple. Microsoft isn’t a single, stultifying operating system on a single line of hardware. Microsoft is the embodiment of the idea that EVERYONE should have a personal computer and all those computers must be able to deal with one another, exchanging files and ideas by running a common set of basic programs.
Microsoft is the glue that holds the everyday world together. And its future is about its gluey-ness, not its hipness or its coolness.
That’s the Microsoft story. It would help Microsoft immeasurably (or maybe that’s measurably) if they just told it.