Is Apple too focused on Vista?

Is Apple too focused on Vista?

Summary: I've just been looking at some of the latest TV Apple Mac ad campaigns. Is it just me or do these ads focus too much on Windows Vista?

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TOPICS: Apple
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I've just been looking at some of the latest TV Apple Mac ad campaigns.  Is it just me or do these ads focus too much on Windows Vista?

Here, take a look for yourself (US ads here, UK ads here). 

[poll id=86]

What surprises me about these ads is that while they are clever, funny and just a little tongue in cheek, I can't help but feel that because Apple seems to be more and more focused on Vista (which gives me the impression that there's worry over at the Apple camp over Vista).  From a marketing point of view, the idea behind the ads is obvious - Microsoft's spending a lot of money on Vista ads (as are PC manufacturers), so why not ride the wave for a while. 

But who are the ads actually targeting? 

The pool of people who really know what Windows Vista really means is small.  Out there among the PC-using masses the level of Vista awareness is still pretty low (heck, I come across hundreds of people every month who can't reliably tell you what operating system they have, I still get responses like "what came with my Dell" and "I bought it three years ago.")  The masses are aware that there's a new operating system but for most this is something that'll be included with their next PC. 

If you've already used Vista then you also know that some of the ad content is nothing short of bunk.  If you've used Vista to any degree then you know that installing Vista is pretty easy and that security features such as UAC aren't all that bad (if you've lived with a Windows PC that had an program like ZoneAlarm or BlackICE installed on it, UAC doesn't seem so bad).  The out of the box experience for a Mac and a PC isn't really all that different (and as someone who's been using WiFi for years, the out of the box experience I had with Apple's WiFi drivers was far short of the promised "it just works") and the ads gloss over one highly compelling reason why you want an office PC in your home - gaming.

Over the past two years Apple's seen enormous growth in Mac's install base.  Since the launch of Mac OS X Tiger nearly two years ago, it's seen a 25% increase , but in real terms this still only represent 5 million new users.  Against the might of the world’s Windows-based PCs, an installed base of 20 million is almost negligible.  Personally I'd issue a wedgie to any marketing person suggesting another PC/Mac comparison ad and start emphasizing some of the real-world upsides to Mac ownership.  After all, one of the features that Apple's been pushing as of late is the ability to run Windows on a Mac.  If Windows is so bad, why go down that route? 

One big upside of buying a Mac that springs to mind is iLife (although if you wanted to be picky you could point out that the price premium that you pay for a Mac more than covers the cost of buying similar software for a PC).  This software is pre-installed and ready to use.  That's gotta be a selling point.

Another market that Apple isn't targeting is the Windows-using iPod owner.  That's a massive market of people that already subscribe to Apple's way of thinking that Apple is currently overlooking (although here I think that Apple needs to be careful not to associate the iPod too much with the Mac in case people think it only works with a Mac).

Thoughts?  If you are a Windows user, do Mac ads make you want to switch?  If you're a Mac user already, do you think that the ads do a good job of highlighting the real upsides of Mac ownership?

Topic: Apple

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  • Take Apple at their word.

    A company representative commented that, since people were thinking about spending money on a computer with Vista or on the operating system alone, this would be a good time to remind them of the existence of Macs.

    Apparently a significant number of people waited to obtain pc's with Vista, so they do know (at least a little) about the new operating system and do intend to buy.

    A market with money in hand to buy the sort of product you're selling should be of interest.


    The problem for Apple, I think, is that comparisons are not the best established reasons for buying Macs. It's the sense of spending a great deal of money for something that shows itself stylishly.

    The closest thing to comparisons in this market is a series of worn justifications that are probably either not true or less true than they were.


    For Apple to recognize the existence of Vista, even to mock it, has little sense of noblesse oblige.

    Next thing you know Apple will be talking about ease of use, and then the company will truly be grunging itself in trade.
    Anton Philidor
  • But but but, Apple is a HARDWARE company!

    At least this is what all the Mac zealots tell us. Wow, for a hardware company, they sure do care a lot about Microsoft's OS! It would be like Ford coming out with attack ads against Bose in order to dent Acura sales.

    Hey, I finally watched Heroes last night and saw both the Apple attack ad on Vista's UAC and the positive Vista ad at the end of the show. The 2 ads couldn't be any more different. One is a nasty, vicious, mean spirited ad that tells me nothing about OSX's capabilities and the other was a soothing, nice, "here is the experience you get when you run Vista" ad. No mention of Apple necessary in the Vista ad because Vista competes on its own merit. Apple obviously feels that OSX can't compete on its own merit and is showing its insecurities by attacking Vista. Two very different ad types, two very different companies. If I had any Apple product at home right now, I would feel disgusted that my money went towards the creation of those negative ads.
    NonZealot
    • Let me ask you

      did you boycott Sesame Street or The Muppet Show because a post-tadpole/pre-frog Kermit would act violently to that other Muppet that kind of looked like Grimace who wouldn't drink Wilkens Coffee? What about P&G when Rosie the waitress would regularly bash all other paper towel products while promoting Bounty? Do you put your young children in cloth diapers knowing all disposable diaper companies put out negative ads about each other? I'm really curious how seriously you take not letting these companies get your money.
      Michael Kelly
  • Apple is TERRIFIED of Vista!

    The FUD is strong and loud at apple.com:
    http://www.apple.com/getamac/upgrade.html
    If you?re thinking of upgrading to Vista, you?re probably aware of its strict hardware requirements. Most will need a new PC, or serious upgrades to their existing PCs, before they can make the upgrade.

    Excellent point! I want to use a new OS because I am very scared of catching my first ever Windows virus on XP (6 years without a virus but you never know!!). Apple, you've convinced me that MS is evil for making me buy a new PC or perform any serious upgrades on my existing PC in order to get MS's latest OS. So, what steps exactly do I have to follow in order to get your latest OS (OSX) onto my existing PC? Remember, the bar you have set is no upgrades required!

    Many others will take a vastly easier path: get a Mac.

    Wait, so you've just convinced me that buying new hardware to upgrade my OS is a bad, bad, MS only phenomenon and I can avoid the whole hardware upgrade step if I move to OSX but I have to buy $1,200 worth of upgrades if I want to move to OSX? Huh? YOU JUST TOLD ME I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO BUY A NEW COMPUTER!!! I'd only need a $100 RAM upgrade to run Vista. Is there a reason why you are telling me that MS is evil for making me spend $100 to upgrade my OS but you are good for making me spend $1,200 to upgrade my OS?

    While most PCs more than 18 months old will have ?issues? upgrading to Vista, Mac OS X runs on Macs built as long as seven years ago.

    I have to give Apple credit for this statement. It is absolutely BRILLIANT FUD because it is a true statement. Most PCs sold are $400 (inc. monitor) and will probably require a $100 RAM upgrade (and nothing more) to run Vista well. So Apple, tell me, how well do your 7 year old $400 (inc. monitor) Macs run OSX? Oh, um, you've never sold any $400 (inc. monitor) Macs? Then why are you comparing expensive Macs to budget PCs? It couldn't have anything to do with the fact that this is the only type of comparison that makes the Mac look good? Shouldn't you be comparing $1,200 Macs vs $1,200 PCs? Oh, that would blow your whole "you must upgrade your PC to run Vista" FUD right out of the water? Yup, my 5 year old $600 PC would have no issues running Vista. None. Nada.

    Keep spreading the FUD Apple. All you are doing by mudslinging and lying is convincing the sane that you can't compete on merit. We got the message loud and clear!
    NonZealot
    • Let Apple compare a $1,200 Mac...

      ... to a $400 pc. There are differences, and Apple should bring specific and real (proven, not asserted) differences to people's attention, and allow potential customers to decide whether the differences are worth $800.

      [Sound of wind howling over a vast prairie.]

      That'll make a lot of noise for Apple.
      Anton Philidor
    • Get a clue - you have more FUD than brains

      "Yup, my 5 year old $600 PC would have no issues running Vista. None. Nada."

      BS and you know it. At the end of 2002, I built my parents a fairly high end PC, Athlon XP 2200+, 768MB RAM, decent graphics card (ATI 128MB), large HD, etc.

      I think this machine would have some issues running Vista. It does have some issues running XP reliably and at a blazing speed. Probably more related to the Norton apps installed on it than anything else.

      Contrast that to my Jan-2002 iMac G4 which works perfectly fine and at full speed with Tiger.
      ITGuy04
      • I wouldn't be proud to admit that

        [i]At the end of 2002, I built my parents a fairly high end PC[/i]

        Okay, so you built the system yourself. Noted.

        [i]Athlon XP 2200+, 768MB RAM, decent graphics card (ATI 128MB), large HD[/i]

        Lets compare to Vista requirements:
        - you destroy the minimum CPU requirement
        - you have ample RAM
        - graphics card will run Aero
        - large HD which I assume means more than 20 GB

        Yup, that computer should run Vista with no problems at all! However, you then go on to write:
        [i]It does have some issues running XP reliably and at a blazing speed.[/i]

        There can only be 1 of 2 explanations for this:
        1. The PC you built does not meet the minimum requirements of XP. Hopefully even a Mac zealot like you can realize the idiocy of that possibility.

        2. You built the PC improperly.

        Maye you aren't doing your parents any favors when you build them their PCs?

        [i]Contrast that to my Jan-2002 iMac G4 which works perfectly fine and at full speed with Tiger.[/i]

        Did you build that iMac G4 yourself? No? Ah, then there's another variable in the equation!

        My 5 year old PC has a slower processor and less RAM but it can run XP with no issues whatsoever so right there we've highlighted a problem with your skills at building a PC. And yes, my 5 year old PC could run Vista without any issues either. Sorry if that ruffles your Mac zealot feathers but the truth hurts!
        NonZealot
        • Nice one.

          [b]Yup, that computer should run Vista with no problems at all! However, you then go on to write:[/b]

          Should leaves a lot to go on. It also should have taken the 3 - DVD-RW drives I wasted a Sunday trying to install into the machine that Windows would not see properly.

          [b]1. The PC you built does not meet the minimum requirements of XP. Hopefully even a Mac zealot like you can realize the idiocy of that possibility.

          2. You built the PC improperly.[/b]

          The machine has been running fine for quite a while now and has only been dogging lately. Probably correct as it's an almost 5 year old XP install.

          I most definitely know how to build PC's - that's how I make my living and have many satisifed customers.

          [b]And yes, my 5 year old PC could run Vista without any issues either.[/b]

          And I could (and did) run 2000 on my aincient K5/133 with 128MB. It ran, was not useful for much (useful for ICS which is all it was used for), nor was it something I would have wanted to run for any production.

          Yet, it ran without issues and was quite stable.

          There's a difference between running and running well. Vista on a bare minimum machine may indeed run, but won't run well. Tiger on the iLamp runs well and is in use to this day by my Dad for a second computer. If I still had that k5/133 I wouldn't dare put 2k on it and give it to someone to use.
          ITGuy04
          • Dude, you make me laugh...

            "Should leaves a lot to go on. It also should have taken the 3 - DVD-RW drives I wasted a Sunday trying to install into the machine that Windows would not see properly."


            Followed by;

            "I most definitely know how to build PC's..."

            Uh huh, sure you do...
            No_Ax_to_Grind
    • That's a lot of caps

      Calm down. No need to get so excited.
      YinToYourYang-22527499
      • Huh?

        What is "a lot of caps"?
        fuzzy2k
  • Mistake in heading.

    It's spelled focused
    Kobashrer
  • Apple is better than that...

    at least I like to think they are.
    I own a PowerBook at home which I love, I use a windows machine at work. There are ups and downs to both OSes, on average I prefer OS X largely in part to the Unix framework, ease of getting to system settings (windows' control panel gets more confusing and crowded by the day) and of course, pretty graphics. That being said, the real selling point for me two years ago when I made the switch was the hardware. The PowerBook was and still is a beautiful machine and still is. Before this I had a Dell laptop and by the time it was this old so many little parts had broken off and the hard drive was giving intermittent failure errors.
    That all being said I am dissapointed by apple's recent advertising approach. When did computer ads become more like political adds? While attacking ones apponent may actually work do you really want people to choose you because "at least they're not as bad as the other guys"?

    Talk about iLife, talk about video chatting right out of the box, talk about the great graphics, high res displays, sturdy hardware that lasts a lifetime, there are so many positive things to talk about, why attack windows?
    hazybluedot
  • Macs WiFi Blows Windows away

    I've always had issues with Wireless on XP - works OK some of the time and well none of the time.

    Just this past weekend I was reminded how sucky Windows' WiFi is. I was at my parents with a brand new HP laptop (work provided). After putting in the correct WEP key I would drop off or the wizard would stall at acquiring network address.. Wired connection worked flawlessly. AS did my Powerbook which detected the network and allowed me to use it immediately.

    Same issues with the in-laws' wireless network although that one won't work at all with Windows yet works 100% with the Powerbook..

    So, yes, the Mac ads are true - my PB works 100% where Windows works at best 50%.
    ITGuy04
    • Hmm, you missed Adrian's blog

      [i]So, yes, the Mac ads are true - my PB works 100% where Windows works at best 50%.[/i]

      It took him, what, 19 days to get WiFi working on his PB? So no, the Mac ads are not true.
      NonZealot
      • Message has been deleted.

        999ad@...
    • That's a statistically valid sample

      Nuff said.
      net-com
    • Apple Wireless Just Works

      There's no comparison in the real world. I bought a Netgear
      wireless router for my gf recently--since the same one was up
      and running for my iBook at my house without a hitch. At her
      house with her Compaq laptop it took weeks before we got hers
      to finally work; we used my 100% funcioning iBook side-by-side
      to try to hunt down the problems, her computer couldn't see her
      network card was the first issue, then couldn't log in--we ended
      up just setting the router up with no security so her laptop could
      work. The gibberish error messages Windows can confront the
      user with are insane--one went halfway across her screen,
      providing no clue how to proceed; another time her password
      didn't have the right number of "bits"! Incredible. This was XP,
      not Vista however. Forgive me if I don't have much faith Vista is
      much better underneath it all.
      zpf
  • I think Apple is out of touch

    Working in the education industry I think apple needs to start looking in the mirror before releasing silly adds.

    We are migrating to vista this summer with all 450 client machines here. I have done tons of testing and feel confident in this role-out. [b]If apple ever wants to get an upper hand in the industry[/b] they need to focus on manageability and the NETWORKED/ Managed environment.

    Anyone out there ever try and deploy OSx server with managed client with 400+ client machines and 600-900 users accounts and 20-30 networked printers! HAH good luck! Apples server side is nothing but disappointing and without that the only support they have is your home users and as the article stated is very minor compared to the ENTIRE PC world.

    There is a reason Apple can not really gain ground in the computer market, and thats because they are not accepted in the business market.

    Being a Mac and PC user I would have to say those commercials are plain stupid and have NO merit. I ran vista on my 4 year old laptop with 512mb of ram with no problems, heck it ran faster than XP sp2! Now try running apples latest OS on a 4 year old MAC! HAH - good luck because it wont even install... talk about a hardware upgrade....

    Apple kind of forgets about all the people that are lost because a piece of software they have been using for years no-longer works in their x86 environment, or that a piece of software like office still has not x86 apple version yet, thus causing massive headaches?

    Conclusion:
    Apple needs to step up to the plate with something relevant, their computers come standard with a 90 day warranty and they charge you through the nose to get an apple care pack for a computer. Where in the PC side of things it is standard for a 3 year warranty on many products. Apple should just stick to iPods and rule the music world
    danursuline
    • I think you need a new job

      As your IT skills are sorely lacking...

      I think you need to look at some of the Apple technologies for deploying computers. While nowhere as comprehensive as MS's offerings, there is support for most of the basic things you will run into.

      "Now try running apples latest OS on a 4 year old MAC! HAH - good luck because it wont even install... talk about a hardware upgrade...."

      BZZT, Wrong. iMac G4, Jan 2002 - it's now Feb, 2007 5 years later it's running Tiger just fine.

      Again, may I suggest another line of work as you're IT skills need some work...
      ITGuy04