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Do you love or hate Microsoft's Seinfeld ads?

Microsoft has released its second commercial starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Have you seen it yet?
Written by Munir Kotadia, Contributor on

Microsoft has released its second commercial starring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. Have you seen it yet?

If this advert — or the previous one — was designed to make me buy Windows Vista it has failed miserably.

What is has done is reinforce the fact that Bill Gates, Microsoft and Jerry Seinfeld are all well past their peak.

In this second advert, Bill asks Jerry, "Why are we doing this again?" and Jerry replies, "Why ... you and I are a little out of it ... You are living in some moon-house hovering over Seattle like some mothership, and I've got so many cars I am stuck in my own traffic. We need to connect with some real people."

Software companies do not need to "connect" with people. They should be making software. Period.

If Microsoft was a good software development company, it would simply supply the world with better, cheaper software. Unfortunately, Microsoft is now a marketing company that does software on the side.

Instead of spending $300 million on these adverts and more than $500 million trying to market Windows Vista, Microsoft should have spent that cash creating a brand new operating system from scratch, which in order to run properly, would not require hardware that has yet to be invented.

Vista's marketing dollars could have been spent helping companies migrate their legacy Windows 98, Windows 2000 and Windows XP applications to a new, reliable, secure and stable platform.

Instead, we have two out-of-touch personalities making fools of themselves to billions of relatively poor people in the hope that those people hand over yet more of their hard earned cash.


Alternative view by Alex Serpo, reviews editor at ZDNet.com.au.

alex-serpo.jpg

Let's not pretend. Bill Gates isn't like everyone else. This is a man who wrote his own operating system in his early twenties. Bill Gates makes Stephen Hawking look like a man with hobbies.

So when Microsoft's most iconic man decided to make television commercials with one of America's original comedians, everyone cried foul when they didn't get more beer ad-style humour. But just because the ad doesn't contain a swimming tongue or a tea party, that doesn't mean it's not funny.

You just have to understand that a man who finds Turing Machines fascinating probably has a strange sense of humour. Bill's humour is subtly ironic. This is the man whose company gives away free Blue Screen of Death screensavers, and makes jokes about the fact that Bill is really still the kid in school nobody wants to be friends with.

So when Jerry Seinfeld finds Bill in a discount shoe store, this is Bill playing on his own stereotypes. He wants you to see him as a penny pinching geek, and wants you to laugh at him for it. You should. It's painfully ironic and subtly funny.

It's popular to bash on Microsoft and Bill knows it. He was once the world's richest man and there is no disputing his genius. He brutally crushed competition to dominate the software market. Now he's inviting you to laugh at his weaknesses. Empathise with him a little. You should, it'll make you feel better.

Who do you agree with, Munir or Alex? How do you like the advert? How do you think it compares to Apple's advertising campaign? Have your say in Talkback below.

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