This Holiday Season, Microsoft is Putting the Scrooge in Scroogled

by Mark Stone

Earlier this year, it was reported that Microsoft was going to put an end to their Scroogled campaign, the failed attempt at convincing consumers that Google equals bad and Microsoft equals good. But here we are at the end of the year, and the campaign is still marching on.

TV and print ad buys may be decreasing, but online, Microsoft is not giving up. It seems like they are hell bent on doing everything they can to beef themselves up while tearing down the competition.

Late last month, the former king of all tech companies enlisted the aid of the dudes from the hit show Pawn Stars in their quest to rip apart the virtues of Google’s inexpensive Chromebook. If you haven’t seen this gem, it’s worth a view.

Take a look:



The list of ways in which this ad fails is extensive, but for the sake of brevity let’s just say the acting is pretty awful. I’m not sure what kind of budget they were working with, but I’ve seen better acting in my nephew’s elementary school Christmas play. Pawn Star Rick Harrison looks entirely uncomfortable getting through his lines—one of which has him uttering, "Because Chromebook applications are web-based, when you're not connected, it's pretty much a brick. It's not a real laptop. It doesn't have Windows or Office." One wonders how many takes they had to shoot before he could say it with any semblance of conviction.

About a week or so after unleashing that masterpiece on us, Ben the PC Guy ventures out to Venice beach to talk to consumers about how Chromebooks suck.

Here’s how that one goes:



Okay, definitely much better from a quality and believability standpoint. Some of their accusations don’t exactly hold up factually, but that’s not the issue that needs to be addressed about the recent turn in the Scroogled campaign.

It all boils down to this: why even bother attacking the Chromebook? It doesn’t even sell well, and going after that segment of Google’s business is like McDonald’s attacking Burger King about their undersized veggie burger.

When Microsoft went after Google’s search engine by pimping Bing, the campaign failed. From September 2012 to September 2013, Bing did gain in share but not at the expense of Google. That bump came at the expense of Yahoo.

Perhaps they came to the conclusion that changing the public’s perception about their search engine wasn’t going to happen, so they chose an easier target. But isn’t tearing down others and pumping yourself up the M.O. of the typical bully?

The low end laptop market isn’t exactly the place where Microsoft should be expending all that energy and resources. Sales of the Surface tablet have been disastrous, PC sales are down, and Windows users haven’t exactly welcomed Windows 8 with open arms.

Attack ads and campaigns may work in the world of politics, but the tech world is a little less receptive to these negative measures. I suggest that instead of wasting time trying to convince the public that their laptops, operating systems and search engine is better than the rest, Microsoft should focus their attention inward. There are a lot of things Microsoft does right: the Xbox is a great entertainment system, Windows Phone is actually pretty cool, and Windows 8—despite a mess of a user interface—is impressive from a design perspective.

They’re not going to beat Apple at the tablet or smartphone game, and they’re not going to beat Google at the search engine game. But surely the company is large enough and has the resources to create and innovate again. Imagine what they could come up with if they weren’t wasting all that negative energy.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Vancouver Development Center (VDC) is located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The centre is home to some of the best and brightest software developers from around the world. Since opening its doors in September 2007, the VDC has quickly become an intricate part of Microsoft’s global strategy for distributed software development. VDC employees play a key role in architecting systems,... more

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. As a first step to fulfilling that mission, Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a new approach to online search that took root in a Stanford University dorm room and quickly spread to information seekers around the globe. Google is now widely recognized as the world's... more

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Mark Stone

Mark Stone

Before switching careers to writing, Mark spent many years in information technologywearing several hats, including five years as an Information Security Analyst with the provincial government in Manitoba. When Mark moved to Kelowna, he began writing columns about information security and realized he had a knack for writing. Mark wrote a fiction novel, which was published in 2008, and was also... more

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