Microsoft billed the Surface Pro 3 as the device that can replace multiple pieces of Apple kit, including the MacBook and the iPad. Its latest ad spots for its Windows 8 marquee device target the MacBook directly, invoking the classic Apple Mac vs. PC ads with their visual style but focusing more on specs. Two of them feature just two guys chatting with each other naturally (read: not at all naturally) about their respective computers, while the last is a head-to-head specs comparison montage set to EDM.
These ads, unfortunately, feel neither clever nor funny, unlike their Apple predecessors, and they really serve only to underline the problems Microsoft continues to have with positioning its new, unusual device to consumers. The fine print in one even notes that the physical keyboard is sold separately, which has been another common complaint about the tablet and its suitability to replace laptops, especially when you factor in the price.
Microsoft is smart to position these as MacBook competitors rather than iPad replacements, but these ad spots aren’t really doing much in their favor. The “Crowded” spot serves exaggerates the challenges of carrying multiple devices, and gets ridiculous when it introduces pen and paper into the mix. Pointing out the ports on the Surface Pro 3 only emphasizes that it has fewer than the MacBook Air, and the kickstand call-out sounds as if it’s the only thing the Surface can do that the Apple notebook can’t.
The Surface line was recently revealed as a huge expenditure for Microsoft, and a big blow to its bottom line. The device is impressive and well-made, but these commercials only reinforce that it has niche appeal, and that for most users, the traditional laptop is going to suit them better in most cases.