Apple continues to bash Microsoft with 'Bake Sale' ad

Third in series of new ads takes rival to task using $10 million cupcake

Apple continued to bash Microsoft's US$300 million Windows advertising campaign Wednesday with another television ad that knocked its rival's renewed Vista marketing effort.

Like the two ads Apple debuted last week, the newest -- dubbed "Bake Sale" -- pointedly refers to Microsoft's makeover. Ads in Apple's long-running "Get a Mac" campaign typically diss Vista directly by focusing on a single perceived problem in the operating system.

In the new ad, the character of "PC," played by humorist John Hodgman, says he is holding a bake sale because, "the marketing guys decided to run a big, expensive ad campaign rather than use that money to fix Vista."

When "Mac," played by actor Justin Long, asks PC why he has been forced to raise money by selling pies and cupcakes, PC replies: "Since my problems don't seem to be a priority for them, I'm taking matters into my own hands...a bake sale."

Mac then buys a cupcake, and at PC's urging, takes a bite after asking its price. "[That will be] $10 million," says PC. "Now you have to pay me because you had a bite."

Microsoft launched its Windows campaign more than a month ago with ads featuring comedian Jerry Seinfeld and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, then followed them with several new spots on the theme "Windows. Life without walls." In some of those advertisements, a real Microsoft engineer who resembles Hodgman introduces himself with the line: "Hello, I'm a PC, and I've been made into a stereotype."

Microsoft's ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, used Macs to produce some of the promotional material for the campaign, examinations of the metadata of several images showed last month.

According to Gartner, Macs accounted for nearly 10 percent of all US computer sales in the quarter that ended September 30. Microsoft's Windows operating system, meanwhile, continues to command the bulk the operating system market. In September, Windows had a 90.3 percent share of the OS market, according to data from Net Applications.

Vista accounted for about one-fifth of the overall Windows market, Net Applications reported.

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Gregg Keizer

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