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Microsoft airbrushes anti-Apple ad

Cartwheels out of Jobsian threat

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Bowing to pressure from Apple's legal department - and that pesky imperative known as "the truth" - Microsoft has edited one of its Laptop Hunter ads to reflect Apple's new MacBook pricing.

As The Reg reported last week, Microsoft COO Kevin Turner was applauded by attendees at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference when he related a phone call from Apple legal complaining that the ad was inaccurate.

In Turner's mind, that call was proof that the Laptop Hunter series was getting under Apple's skin. "It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business," he said, "I did cartwheels down the hallway."

Apparently, he cartwheeled right into Microsoft's own legal department, and apparently, they advised him that Apple had a point. The ad - featuring a pert law student and her doting mom - was incorrect.

In its original version - which has now been removed from both Microsoft's own website and YouTube - the ad showed the young cutie, Lauren, briefly examining a 15-inch, 2.4GB MacBook Pro. The camera zeroed in on the 'Book's price tag, which read $1,999.

Problem: That MacBook Pro was discontinued in early June and replaced by a 2.53GHz model for $1,699. At the same time, a new 13-inch, 2.26GHz MacBook Pro was added to the line for $1,199.

In the original, Lauren says to mom Sue, "This Mac is $2,000, and that's before adding anything." Mom's response: "Why would you pay twice the price?" Lauren's snappy riposte: "I wouldn't."

In the new version, that price tag is nowhere to be seen, and the witty Lauren-Sue repartee is replaced by Lauren merely saying, "It seems like you're paying a lot for the brand."

AdAge quotes a Microsoft spokeswoman as saying about the change, "We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement. This does not change the focus of the campaign, which is to showcase the value and choice of the PC."

The Reg is reminded of the old Soviet Union's propensity for airbrushing photos to removing offending members of its leadership after they had been purged.

"$1,999 price tag? What $1,999 price tag?" ®

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