It should come as no surprise that Apple isn't a big fan of Microsoft's recent laptop-hunter ads, but some may be surprised to learn the Mac maker's lawyers reportedly called a senior Microsoft executive and demanded the ads be removed.
The topic of the TV ads, which feature prospective buyers comparing prices and features of Apple laptops and Windows-based laptops, came up at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday. Microsoft's chief operating officer, Kevin Turner (pictured), was at the conference to announce that Microsoft is planning to open its first US stores in the autumn.
The most intriguing part of Turner's speech was when he recounted a telephone call he apparently received from Apple's legal department, demanding that Microsoft remove the ads.
According to Microsoft's official transcript, Turner said: "And so we've been running these PC value ads. Just [saying to] people... 'Hey, what are you looking to spend?'. 'Oh, I'm looking to spend less than $1,000.' Well, we'll give you $1,000. Go in and look and see what you can buy. And they come out and they just show them. Those are completely unscripted commercials.
"And 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. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I've ever taken in business. (Applause.)
"I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said: 'Is this a joke? Who are you?' Not understanding what an opportunity [we had]. And so we're just going to keep running them and running them and running them."
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but it may have good reason to be upset. Since Microsoft launched the ads, which are in response to Apple's 'I'm a Mac' ads, there's evidence that the campaign may be radically altering value perceptions of PCs. According to an Advertising Age report, Microsoft's so-called 'value perception' has risen steadily since the campaign began in March, while Apple's has fallen.