Microsoft was forced to edit one of its Laptop Hunter ads after Apple’s legal team highlighted the presence of an erroneous reference to the MacBook’s price in it. In the original ad, the protagonist, Lauren, who was shown scouring for a notebook under $1700 with her mother, disdainfully rejected a MacBook Pro due to its $2000 price tag. Even her mother backed her decision to reject the MacBook.
Apple drew Microsoft’s attention to the recent drop in MacBook prices, which rendered the reference to its starting price inaccurate. Microsoft has not only made the necessary edits but also pulled down the original version from video sharing websites like Youtube after receiving a phone call from Apple. The new ad features no direct reference to MacBook’s price, though the protagonist still fails to justify its price.
“We slightly adjusted the ads to reflect the updated pricing of the Mac laptop shown in the TV advertisement,” a Microsoft spokeswoman said in a statement. She further added that the focus of the campaign has remained intact.
Some Apple iTunes users who have AVG installed were in for a bit of surprise last weekend when the antivirus app alerted them to the presence of a Trojan in their music software and blocked it from loading. If you're one of those users, rest assured it was a false positive.
"Unfortunately, a recent virus database update resulted in iTunes being detected as a Trojan by AVG security products," the company explained in a statement. "We can confirm that it was a false alarm. AVG immediately released a new virus database update (definition file 270.13.29/2260) that corrected this issue."
The update came just five hours after the false positive was first reported and was "automatically released to all users by 5:30AM CET," AVG says. Prior to the update, AVG had placed several iTunes DLL files in quarantine, which prevented the music service from working.
If for some reason iTunes still isn't working after applying the update, AVG suggests restoring the deleted iTunes files from the AVG Virus Vault. To do this:
Open the AVG user interface
Choose "Virus Vault" option from the "History" menu
Locate the iTunes file that was incorrectly removed and select it (one click)
Palm managed to re-enable iTunes sync on the Pre barely days after Apple had managed to block it using iTunes update 8.2.1. The said update had ephemerally pulled the plug on the ability of non-Apple devices to sync with iTunes by rejecting all Vendor IDs apart from Apple’s.
Palm soon responded with an ingenious solution, the legality of which may be probed in coming days. Palm chose the WebOs 1.1 update and some USB trickery to deliver its riposte. The WebOs 1.1 update changes the USB Vendor ID associated with the Palm Pre to the one assigned to Apple. This hoodwinks iTunes into treating the Pre just like a legitimate Apple device.
“Palm believes that openness and interoperability offer better experiences for users by allowing them the freedom to use the content they own without interference across devices and services, so on behalf of consumers, we have notified the USB Implementers Forum of what we believe is improper use of the Vendor ID number by another member.” Palm told AllThingsD.
Nobody knows what to expect from Microsoft's branded retail stores scheduled to roll out sometime this fall, but the company's been making some very interesting moves, the latest of which includes hiring George Blankenship to help with the launch. If that name sounds at all familiar, it's because Blankenship is a former Apple executive who also helped launch Apple's retail presence back in 2001.
Microsoft so far has declined to say what Blankenship's exact role will be, but given the success of Apple's store fronts, it's probably a safe bet he'll perform some of the same tasks as before, including helping to select the best locations.
"We're doing stuff and we're in the game and continuing to take some these hard market-share opportunities head on and compete because it's a test of will," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer.
During Turner's Worldwide Partner Conference keynote earlier this month, the CEO said the first Microsoft store will open right next to an Apple store.
The new estimate will certainly please Apple, for it alone is expected to ship 3 million units. The very report further says that the penetration rate of all-in-one PCs – computers with the monitor and CPU bundled together in one console – will rise to 5% this year, 9% in 2009, and 12% in 2012.
A few days ago Microsoft revealed that Apple’s lawyers had contacted them regarding the laptop hunter ads, and that they requested the entire campaign be pulled from airwaves. To most non Microsoft sized companies this would be a serious threat, but so far the boys in Redmond are undeterred by Apple’s legal posturing and are actually trying to use it to their advantage. Apple’s primary complaint is that some of the ads feature out of date comparison information that changed when Apple refreshed its hardware lineup and dropped its prices at WWDC in June.
The inconsistencies are fairly minor and ultimately don’t change the message they were trying to deliver, but do you believe Apple would ever actually try to sue Microsoft? Cnet speculated that any type of legal action would only harm Apples reputation, and would help to give Microsoft the creditability it needs to keep winning back the hearts and minds of the value conscious consumers. Pulling advertisements because the claims are no longer accurate isn’t unprecedented, but would it harm Apple’s case more than it would help if they pressed the issue?
The Apple App Store for the iPhone/iPod Touch has proved to be a huge hit and forced the introduction of similar services on rival mobile platforms. However, Vic Gundotra, vp of engineering at Google, believes such app stores will not have much of an impact in the future. He expects mobile web browsers to be more than equipped to deliver all kinds of content in the future.
“Many, many applications can be delivered through the browser and what that does for our costs is stunning,” Gundotra said at the Mobilebeat Conference in San Francisco. Palm’s Michael Abbot seconded his opinion and cited the introduction of HTML5 standards, which has made it easier for web apps to make use of a phone’s hardware, as a portent of things to follow.
In the movie Braveheart, there's a pivotal scene involving Mel Gibson and a Scottish battalion where, as William Wallace, he tries to muster some courage from his ragtag company. Face painted blue and half-hysterical, he rallies them with a memorable speech about freedom and love of country. Then, the army proceeds to completely destroy the foreign oppressor in a fight to the bitter end.
In some ways, the current war on smartphone devices could be just as pivotal...and bloody. Companies such as Palm and Nokia have everything to lose if their platforms do not thoroughly crush the competition. Meanwhile, Apple has taken a strong lead with the iPhone, and BlackBerry devices do not appear to be losing any momentum, at least in the business sector. Google has entered the fight with their Android OS, attracting legions of developers to the platform in record time.
All of these operating systems support touch control, rudimentary multi-tasking, rich media, desktop-like Web browsing, and advanced messaging. Yet, only one OS is superior and will ultimately emerge as the victor. It might seem like Apple has already had their Braveheart moment, and maybe there is room for several companies at the top of the pile, but if Windows has taught us anything, it's that a single operating system can become so dominant that every other desktop OS becomes inconsequential. Developers lock into a platform, users get accustomed to it, and that OS wins the war.
We set out to put the major contenders to the test and find out which could become the most dominant. Really, it's too early to call Apple the victor, even though it would be easy to do so with 50,000 apps available and over a million iPhone users. As any technology analyst can tell you, there are actually significantly more Nokia and BlackBerry phones in use today than the iPhone, especially in Europe. The surprise is that the OS that seems to be winning the battle (the iPhone) may not eventually win the OS war in the long run.
Apparently it's all fun and games poking fun at the competition until someone turns the table and slaps you across the face with a reality check. Just ask Apple, who threw the first volley before going on a marketing blitz with Justin Long-in-tooth. According to Kevin Turner, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer, Apple's lawyers were none too pleased with Microsoft's Laptop Hunter ads and wanted the software maker to stop airing them.
"You know why I know they're working? Because two weeks ago we got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey -- this is a true story -- saying, 'Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.' They took like $100 off or something," Turner said during his Worldwide Partner Conference keynote. "It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business."
In case you've somehow managed to miss them, Microsoft's Laptop Hunter ads feature regular people challenged to find a laptop that fits their needs at a certain price point, and if they can find one, Microsoft will pay for it. In every commercial, an appropriate MacBook ends up being out of the price range. You can view all of them here. And if you're an Apple fan, here's your link.
As promised earlier this year, Microsoft plans to roll out several Microsoft-branded retail store fronts, but up until now, Microsoft wasn't saying where or when. Keven Turner, Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer, answered both of those questions during his Worldwide Partner Conference keynote on July 15.
According to Turner, the first store will open this fall and take residence right next to an Apple store. How's that for a new neighbor?
"As we progress on our retail strategy there will be scenarios where we have stores in proximity to Apple," Microsoft said a statement to CNet. "We are on track to open stores in the Fall timeframe. Beyond that we have no additional details."
Location aside, Turner insists Microsoft wouldn't be imitating Apple, which goes in line with Microsoft previously saying the stores would focus more on building the company's consumer brand than with distribution.