"The point is that this is the role Apple has reduced Windows to in this advertising campaign. Windows is regular. The default. The norm. Mac OS X and the software that runs on it is special. It is something that the Mac can never lose and which the PC can never have."
..."has reduced Windows to"? Quite the opposite - this is exactly what Microsoft wants...that Windows is the regular, the default, the norm. From business perspective, this is even better than to be so-called "special".
One thing that really amused me is how charity-friendly the ads seemed. It really seemed a stark contrast to the clinically white sets of the Apple ads and the total personal focus of their characters.
That's why there's such an inconsistency between the views that I see here and the views that I'm finding on all of the (Apple-leaning) blogs that I read daily. It's not because Mac users like to just blatantly bias themselves against Microsoft. It's because I think that Apple users have a much more sterile attitude towards the products that they use. They care only about how powerful their computers are, how beautiful they look, and how quickly they can get their work done. It's like the commenter said here a long time ago. Picture Dell running an ad like Apple does, with a Dell computer revolving in a white space. It's preposterous. They couldn't get away with it.
So Microsoft runs these ads. The reaction I've seen overwhelmingly here is that they're doing a great job of making Microsoft seem like a likable everyday company, and that that's a brilliant ad campaign. The Apple users, on the other hand, think that Microsoft is admitting inferiority by doing this, and that the fact that they're not directly attacking Apple's product (or promoting their own) is a sign of absolute, terrible weakness. It's a difference in mindsets. Personally, I agree with the Apple side's mindset, because I dislike ads that don't actively push their product. I consider that dishonest. That said, this site's making me realize just who those ads are being aimed at.
It's funny that you mentioned charity. I always saw Apple as a very Objectivist company in terms of their attitude towards their products, and Microsoft as the obvious mass-market opponents that get depicted in Ayn Rand novels. A big part of that difference is always that the villains in Rand support charity quite publicly and the Rand characters focus only on one thing: their work.
It doesn't make me want to support Microsoft any more than I have to, but I don't think the ads are "jaw-droppingly bad."
Apple's got the advantage that it can sell features, like video chat. Microsoft has to sell an operating system (even if they include video chat software, they can't guarantee there will be a camera for it).
I think this is how they've developed the popular notion of "should I upgrade to a mac this time around?"
He's excused for being an Apple blogger by the fact that he's interesting and a good writer. If you don't want to read him, then don't.
Yeah, when that happens you know you have a problem with the person analyzing the ad, or the ad itself...