Microsoft flips 'Switch' campaign to help new Surface Pro 3 buyers leave MacBooks behind

​How well is the Surface Pro 3 doing? Microsoft doesn't share numbers, but apparently the third time's the charm. And if a new Microsoft initiative is any indication, those buyers are coming from an unexpected place.
Written by Ed Bott, Senior Contributing Editor

This weekend, Microsoft debuted a new website aimed at Surface Pro 3 users who are making the switch from MacBooks.

You heard that right.

The site, which is accessible via the URL microsoft.com/switch, plays it straight, without any of the competitive taunting in the company's TV ads. The how-to modules explain some basics for new Windows 8.1 users, with step-by-step instructions for moving pictures, documents, downloads, and music from Apple's universe into Surface-land. There's also a section for those who switched to Surface but have chosen to keep one foot in the Apple ecosystem with an iPhone or iPad.

The new site is the latest element in a long-running competitive marketing plan that didn't exactly play out as expected when the Surface Pro 3 debuted. In the first wave of Surface Pro 3 reviews, those from longtime MacBook users were consistently negative.

But the company has persevered, with the latest salvo being a holiday-themed TV ad set to the music of "Winter Wonderland."


So far the ad has more than 6.4 million views on YouTube, which is about 4.6 million more than Apple's current and equally ubiquitous "Huge" ad for its successful iPhone 6 line. It's also a million more views than Apple has garnered so far with its "Duo" ad, released with the iPhone 6/6 Plus launch. In fact, that new ad has been viewed more times than any video (ad or otherwise) ever uploaded to YouTube by Apple.

It's also inspired paroxysms of outrage from Mac-focused fan sites.

If Microsoft's new campaign sounds familiar, you must be old enough to remember Apple's 2002-vintage Switch campaign, which highlighted a goofy, 14-year-old, Benadryl-addled Ellen Feiss and the paper she lost when her Windows PC crashed. ("It was a really good paper.")


Apple's Switch campaign was apparently ineffective and was quickly shelved. Today, apple.com/switch leads nowhere.

But Apple hit paydirt a few years later with its "Get a Mac" ads, starring John Hodgman as a rumpled PC and Justin Long as a younger, hipper Mac. Maybe next year we can expect some "Get a Surface" ads...

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