Microsoft has unleashed a new Windows 8 ad, and this time there's no question about which big rival the company is gunning for.
The spot, called "Windows 8: Less talking, more doing," depicts Apple's iPad and an Asus VivoTab Smart tablet running Windows 8. Immediately, the contrast between the iPad's static, icon-packed screen and Windows 8's self-updating Live Tiles is emphasized.
Siri laments, "Sorry, I don't update like that."
As the market leader in computing slates, Apple clearly makes a big target. However, Microsoft's latest ad indicates that the company is beginning to heed the calls of analysts, many of whom have come away unimpressed with Windows 8's impact on PC and mobile device sales.
The ad is also notable for pitting a non-Windows RT tablet against the iPad. Asus' VivoTab Smart tablet runs the full version of Windows 8 on a dual-core Intel Atom processor.
IDC Research Director Tom Mainelli attributed Surface's tepid sales to the Windows RT version that runs on chips based on ARM's microarchitecture. "Microsoft's decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far," said Mainelli in a statement.
"Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8," added Mainelli.
Microsoft's ad clearly focuses on Windows 8 by drawing a sharper distinction between its operating system and Apple's iOS. And it uses one of the iPad's most recognizable features, Siri, to make its case.
In a glaring knock against the iPad's limited multitasking capabilities, Siri says, "I'm sorry, I can only do one thing at a time," as the VivoTab Smart user "snaps" Outlook and drills down the contact list as a video runs alongside.
Siri follows up by saying, "I guess PowerPoint isn't one of those things." Meanwhile, the user deftly manipulates PowerPoint on the Windows 8 tablet. Unsurprisingly, the iPad experience falls short. It should be noted that Microsoft has not released native Office apps for iOS, a $2.5 billion missed opportunity, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt.
Toward the end of the video, Siri gives up and suggests that the user join her in playing the beginner piano melody "Chopsticks," a clear riff on an early iPad Mini commercial.
Microsoft isn't only relying on jabs and not-so-subtle humor to stick it to the iPad. The company is also competing on price.
On May 7, Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller announced that her company had sold 100 million Windows 8 licenses. Asserting that the shift to mobile hadn't caught Microsoft off-guard, she added that the company planned to keep the momentum going with lower-cost devices. "These new PCs are hitting the market now and into the back-to-school season, and they are more affordable than ever," she said.
Before the video ends, the 64GB Windows 8 tablet is shown to have a price tag of $449 versus $699 for a comparable iPad.