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The World Famous staff on Chromebook: No deal (scroogled.com)
63 points by philipdlang 1515 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 82 comments

What the fuck is wrong with Microsoft's marketing departments?

I'm to understand that Pawn Shops won't exchange the used Chromebook you bought for your mom but then decided to, what, steal back so you could put it in hock in order to scrape together enough cash to get a bus to Hollywood where you'll wait tables for six years whilst failing audition after audition before finally being shat out the butt end of the porn industry?

I bet the Chromebook doesn't even make people dance in board meetings like the Surface apparently does.

The ad says she got it "as a gift from my mom", but your point still stands.

Ah. She kind of swallowed the "from." Thought she said "for my mom."

"The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don't mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their products." Steve Jobs

I wouldn't quote Jobs in scenarios like this, given that he pulled a pretty similar thing with the whole Flash thing: a misinformation campaing with the sole purpose of attacking the competition with fallacies and sketchy arguments.

He was right about Flash--Adobe never did get it running well on mobile devices, despite trying very hard to do so on Android.

Flash runs reasonably well on Android considering development for it stopped at v11.1.

The bigger problem for Flash on Android is the vast amount of content that expects mouse interactions. Small click areas and hover events are nearly impossible to interact with on a phone.

Has there ever been such a low ball PR campaign by such a large company? It's seriously hard to think of any major company that's come out with such sleazy tactics as this against a direct competitor. Can you ever imagine Google or Apple running direct to consumer ads referring to Microsoft as "Microshaft" or some other slogan? Even on Reddit, things such as "M$" usually result in a torrent of down votes.

It's a fascinating strategy, and I'm kind of scared what it will mean if it works: can you imagine an all out war with every company doing this? I hope Google has the self control and patience not to return fire.

It didn't use a silly name for their competitor, but Apple's "I'm a PC" ads are one recent example of pointed negative advertising targeting a specific competitor (and using kind of silly stereotyping of "PC users" to do so): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfv6Ah_MVJU

There's a huge difference, though, which is that Apple pulled it off. The "I'm a PC" ads might have been barbed, but they were also funny, and managed to keep it upbeat. Whereas this "Scroogled" campaign just comes across as sullen and petulant.

Scalzi's Law: The failure mode of "clever" is "asshole".

That I definitely agree with.

Another of Apple's very-negative ads, the famous "1984" anti-IBM ad, is a good example of that. Analogizing your competitor to a dystopian totalitarian regime risks coming across as shrill and over-the-top, but Apple managed to pull it off.

That one's an interesting case, too, though. It didn't really come out and say any of that; it just let the viewer fill in the blanks. Case in point: In 1984 everyone interpreted it as obviously being about IBM. When it was re-issued in 2004, everyone interpreted it as obviously being about Microsoft.

Compare again with "Scroogled", which quite literally consists of little more than a pile of long-winded lecturing. Seriously, sitting through one of those ads transports me back to my sophomore history class. The one where the teacher had no shortage of. . . opinions.

The "PC" in those adds was not a user. It was the computer. Those ads don't make fun of or otherwise characterize PC users in any way shape or form.

I know that's what they were officially personifying, but I interpreted them as having a PC vs. Mac user undertone. TV ads generally aim for that kind of implication, trying to make people identify with the kinds of people who own X versus the kinds of people who own Y (see also: beer ads).

As far as I remember, that ad campaign backfired pretty hard when Microsoft released it's own "I'm a PC" ad.

IMHO that was the best ad Microsoft ever made. It was an obvious counter to the stereotype, but it made Apple users look like snobs, and Apple shut down its own campaign shortly after that ad.

As for the "scroogled", I think it mostly makes the impression that Microsoft is scared. I'm not sure if this campaign actually keeps more people from buying chromebooks than it does inform people that Google makes laptops.

Apple had a whole TV campaign with Justin Long mocking Microsoft. It was pretty successful I recall.

This is a matter of taste of course, but I found those Apple ads somewhat playful and amusing. Perhaps I didn't see them all and some were harsher?

But this Microsoft campaign just feels like a political attack ad, bitter and cynical. I'm disappointed in Microsoft for doing it, and I think it's just going to help Google by making Microsoft look bad.

Also, the Apple ads weren't pretending to be an independent party - it was clear to any naif who was footing the bills for the ad.

I tend to agree with you, but there are some differences:

A) Most of the "Mac vs PC" ads focused on showcasing ways Apple products were superior to Microsoft ones [1]. This isn't universally true though [2]. Regardless, that strategy is better than showing people break dance with your tablets.

B) The "Scroogled" campaign has a different, more aggressive tone to it. The whimsical background music in the Apple ads don't come across as forcefully as the term "Scroogled" does. I suspect this tone is more off-putting.

[1] See some of the ads here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5z0Ia5jDt4 [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DWLyrljLDk

What about the "Internet Exploder"(that term is true). Microsoft has taken it's fare share of insulting and I don't believe calling things "Scroogled" made by Google are far from the truth. It is funny because it is true, they are using some great coding, marketing and anything else under the sun to screw us or at least the competition (we as consumers will pay soon enough). We all know this. They have great products, but that is NOT a typical laptop, it is a glorified Search Engine. I personally have insulted Microsoft products a lot in my time, but you have to admit, they are getting scroogled by many of these hyped up minimalist products, that do not offer half of what a PC, MAC or *nix (Ubuntu/Mint) can give you.

"If you use Microsoft, then you're a clueless dork" is just as aggressive as this campaign. It did at least use a bit more whimsy, though.

The apple guy ads were much more classy. This is embarrasing.

I always remember them as the ads with John Hodgman.

They hired a political strategist for these anti-Google campaign. No wonder they are so gross.

Unfortunately, they're working: Microsoft wouldn't still be doing these after 2 years if they weren't.

EDIT: More info on the effectiveness of the ads (tl;dr: yes, they're changing perception) http://adage.com/article/digital/microsoft-s-google-bashing-...

Not sure if you're being sarcastic or not... Microsoft will stick to a plan for years, even when it's not working.

Yep. You can Bing search numerous examples.

The justice system showed Microsoft that the world no longer works on the basis of fairness. It's exactly as if Ford were a monopoly for not making their steering wheels removable from their cars.

Having been given a massive finger by "the people," Microsoft turned into a cynical company that no longer tries to play fair or to play with dignity.

http://www.scroogled.com/Home says "stop Google reading your email". The same page links to http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-live/microsoft-se..., which says, in part:

we may occasionally use automated means to isolate information from email, chats, or photos in order to help detect and protect against spam and malware, or to improve the services with new features that makes them easier to use. When processing your content, Microsoft takes steps to help preserve your privacy.

That document links to http://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/default.mspx, which says:

We use the information we collect to provide the services you request. Our services may include the display of personalized content and advertising.

Pot. Kettle. Black.

> Pot. Kettle. Black.

My favorite variation of that is, "Pot, meet Kettle."

I'm pretty sure the Scroogled campaign is really just brilliant marketing orchestrated by Google to make Microsoft look bad.

No, in that case scroogled.com would require a Google+ account.

ha, good one.

I was kinda sad when I did a whois and found that it actually was on the Microsoft nameservers [1]. Really expected better out of Redmond.. shame on them.

[1] http://reports.internic.net/cgi/whois?whois_nic=scroogled.co...

Either way, it works in favour of Google to the detriment of MS.

They just don't Get It. I'm typing this on a Chromebook right now - the 14" HP one. It's cheap, it's light, it's pleasant to use. That's the value prop. Microsoft claims you can get the same with Windows, so the very first thing I did was check the specs and reviews for the models they tout. Are they really that comparable?

* Approximately same price, same screen size and resolution, same processor and memory.

* Four pounds vs. three. Oops, not so light any more.

* Battery life (according to reviews) is around three hours, vs. this Chromebook going all day.

* Typical Windows suspend/resume times, vs. true instant-on for the Chromebook. It's actually disconcerting to have everything right there before I've even sat back on the sofa.

* Typical Windows upgrade/maintenance cycle (and malware), vs. no worries on the Chromebook.

I have other laptops that I use when I need to do more serious work. One of them even runs Windows, though mostly as a host for a Linux VM. But at this price point there's nothing running Windows that can match the overall Chromebook experience. Until there is, sleazy marketing stunts like this only make it obvious that they're desperate.

> (and malware)

Has this really been a problem since XP SP2? Maybe I haven't been using my windows machine enough, but I honestly can't remember having any malware issues in quite a few years.

That really depends on what version of windows was out when you grew out of your early teens. It is still around, absolutely, but I feel like the typical hn reader browses wisely enough to never encounter it.

Neither have I. But just the other night I visited my friends house and had a look at his kids pc.

(And some windows pcs even come preloaded with mcafee scareware that will be showing pop ups and eventually block your Internet access.)

I haven't seen any either, in my own light/infrequent usage. OTOH, my mother gets this crap all the time.

Just a heads up:

Google is basically subsidizing Chromebooks at this point. An Acer C720 costs as much as a Kindle and is very close to some sort of price floor ($199), yet it comes with $120 worth of Drive storage (100GB @ $5 x 24 months) and some other stuff.

You can blow away ChromeOS and use these as a regular PC laptop. 1/5 the price of an 11" Macbook Air yet comparable in many ways. I feel like they are giving them away to buy market share.

> 1/5 the price of an 11" Macbook Air yet comparable in many ways.

Comparable in some ways, yeah, but from the specs, it looks to me like there are more differences than similarities: the C270 is a bit thicker and heavier, the CPU is way slower, you get 16GB of storage instead of 128GB, 2GB of RAM instead of 4GB, the display is lackluster (according to reviews), the camera is lower resolution, there's no keyboard backlight... and so on.

That said, it's still an incredible value for the money.

You actually get 4GB of RAM on the $249 model and it takes an SD card (11" air doesn't). It is ever so slightly thicker and heavier, yes; 0.75 inches – 2.76 lbs/1.25kg vs 0.68 inches - 2.38lbs/1.08 kg.

Close enough you couldn't tell them apart in a backpack. Certainly not as well built and precious but then again you can treat it like a disposable Kindle, throw it around, even if you destroy 4 you're still ahead.

> the display is lackluster

This is putting it very nicely. It has low contrast, and really poor viewing angles in terms of legibility and color. It's plenty bright enough though. Now if only I could get f.lux on it...

$120 of Drive storage doesn't cost Google anything near $120, though.

It costs them something and the margins Acer makes are somewhere between 2% and negative 2%, on $249 SKUs...

It's only got a 16GB drive. You might be able to run another OS, but you won't be able to install many apps, or store much data.

Just checked: Windows requires 20GB storage for a 64-bit processor, so you couldn't even install it on this box.

As a marketing person this makes me cringe for my industry, expecially in the tech world where we are not always the most popular department. Microsoft should be able to attract great marketing talent so I don't understand why they keep putting out this quality of advertising.

Clearly the ad budget is there to have options and talented people work on their briefs. Having a dig at competitors is fine now and again. I once did very cheap video that poked fun at Google that went a little viral/popular but it was done in fun, as much mocking ourself, not like this. And I cant believe one marketing team in MS has produced this steady stream of flops over the years. It makes me wonder what environment they have that creates this output.

A year or so ago I considered writing to them looking for work as I feel they are in a great position to stop being the bad guys and let other companies take that mantle. The need to be brave and approach the market in an open honest format. On top of which they often have good tech that doesn't get explained correctly and falls by the wayside. But doing marketing like this, they'd be better doing nothing.

Pawn Broker: Moral Bankruptcy

Reality TV Star: Moral Bankruptcy

Microsoft Shill: Moral Bankruptcy

In hockey, that's called a hat trick.

I got to Scroogled.com and thought it was some anti-google site cobbled together by a cranky blogger out looking for some corporate interest representing 'the man' to pick on. I can't believe it was assembled by the marketing department of one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

I think the actual ad is at least a bit clever, but this 'scroogled!' catchword and in particular this absurd website they came up with just makes the whole thing nauseating.

> I got to Scroogled.com and thought it was some anti-google site cobbled together by a cranky blogger out looking for some corporate interest representing 'the man' to pick on.

Funny you should say that ... There used to be a site called scroogle.org which was kind of like that, allowing "anonymous" searches by scraping Google while advertising gold and libertarianism on the side.

Whoever greenlighted this needs to be made to jump around yelling 'developers!' for an hour as punishment. It's woeful and tacky.

One of their "Chromebook Can'ts" is called Document Incompatibility [1]. It's definitely Google's fault that Microsoft uses a proprietary format to lock-out everyone else.

[1]: http://www.scroogled.com/chromebook/OSCants

OpenXML is a proprietary format?

That seems like a stretch to me.

I guess Microsoft hired one of the folks who wrote Sarah Palin's talking points. 'Not a real PC' ? What is a 'real' PC?

Most of those 'negative' things could be said of an iPad.

Screw... pled?

and a majority of those things would be true for the Microsoft Surface RT device as well.


The iPad and Surface RT have native apps that work offline. The iPad runs iTunes. Surface RT tablets run Office. Both run Office365. The iPad runs iWork, a good alternative to Office for many. Surface RT tablets run Windows.

I think that covers all the things that were listed in the video.

Scrapple your iPad and buy a Surface at these now Microsoft-ic prices.

Good idea, except I don't have an iPad.


This reminds me of last year when Microsoft tried to get #DroidRage trending on Twitter, and large part of the community responded with #WindowsRage[1]. I hope offensive advertising campaigns like this one continue to work against them in some way.

I have no issues with Microsoft products - it is purely this kind of advertising is that makes me anti-Microsoft. The whole Scroogled campaign is an embarrassment.


Microsoft are doing great work elsewhere, why tarnish it with this campaign?

That's almost as bad as the political attack ads I see these days...

I'm surprised they didn't mention Larry Page's former friends or love interests.

That is absolutely disgusting, Microsoft.

I gladly typed this on my arch linux laptop.

Christ, that is sad. It's just sad.

This is going to backfire.

All it will take is one Kickstarter campaign to fund an anti-Microsoft ad (and isn't that a tempting target), and a site to aggregate all the entries. The media will do the rest..

I'd bet they would get professional entries from major advertising houses, just because of the media exposure it would be bound to get.

This is a terrible campaign as many have pointed out and makes Microsoft come across as a little hysterical and rabid (not to mention a tad hypocritical).

Just to be clear, I have no love for either Microsoft or Google. But the irony is that many of the points that Microsoft are trying to put across about ChromeOS are actually legitimate concerns for many users.

For example, you cannot print in ChromeOS when offline and only a limited number of printers are available through Google's cloud print service.

Offline mode is important to many users who may have patchy or non-existent internet access at times.

Apps that run in the browser are still limited compared to their desktop equivalents. This isn't an issue for everyone, but what Microsoft fails to persuade in its copy is how much more capable desktop apps are. And maybe for some users they would be happier with the desktop equivalent rather than the limited web version. (They could have demonstrated this easily by showing some simple but attractive documents or tasks that are impossible to recreate in Google's web apps).

And then, of course, there are the privacy implications of signing into ChromeOS to do anything. Just what does Google track and record? Do they record every print job you send through it's cloud printing service? Do they track your activity in their web apps? I know many users simply don't care, but for me the privacy implications are horrendous. If you're always signed into ChromeOS, Google knows how often you're online, where you browse, how often you use certain apps - basically everything you do on the Chromebook.

Of course, Microsoft are no better on the privacy front, but they don't have the online reach of Google. Windows 8.1 requires signing into the OS with an email address (but it can be bypassed quite easily), and when you're using a desktop app you're not generally being tracked. In other words, you can have pretty good privacy on a desktop system. Can the same be said for ChromeOS?

I make my living on MS products and while they are better at things lately, this is just an embarrassment.

"lately" ? They've been around for what, 30 years ? Do you know what kind of shame it is to only "lately" get better at things ? They should be prosecuted for fraud for selling an OS that just gets rooted, 10 years strong, by a few lines of malformed javascript.

This is quite common in markets where there are only two or three competitors: instead of focusing on showing why your product is good, you simply bash the competition.

Pepsi vs Coca-Cola is a great example. Elections in countries with only two parties is another perfect example of this.

It's been happening for a while and it will continue, since it yields results:

The ones educated enough limit themselves to a "sigh. seriously?" and keep on using what they know it's best for them.

Then there's the target market: the ignorant masses, who will fall to these strategies, prove them useful and validate them as good marketing strategies.

The funny thing here is that there's a similiar thread every 24 hours and people always react like this is something new, and like the company in turn is super evil for doing it.

I've had a chromebook (the Samsung model) for the past 4 months I've been travelling around the world. It has proved to be a practical, light (1 kg) and powerful little computer. Using crouton, I've installed lubuntu so that I can have Linux and ChromeOS running at the same time. I've been able to work coding Clojure, installed GIMP and Inkscape, watched movies and I could have installed Open Office but I didn't really seem to need it. Maybe the chromebook hasn't found a market yet, but I think it's the most practical computer I've owned. I think I would prefer a Macbook Air but the price is 4+ times the one for a Chromebook, which might well be worth it but I don't have the money for now :P.

Cringeworthy, and about a year and a half too late to even seize on pop-culture relevance.

I am generally positive towards Microsoft, but this scroogled crap just makes me cringe.

I find it interesting that Microsoft claims in this clip that a laptop isn’t a laptop if it doesn’t run Apple iTunes.

Personally, I can’t stand iTunes on Windows, but hey, clearly Microsoft knows what consumers want.

-1 for the Pawn Stars folks. That's a real bummer.

Best I can do is -.75. I'm not trying to beat you up I think it's a really fair deal. In recent years the market has taken a major hit and -.75 is really the best I can do.

Can't help chuckling as I happily read this on an HP Chromebook 11 because I'm taking a break after the Windows machine died during Windows update.

At least I have a machine to work on while I spend the next six hours reinstalling and patching Windows.

Serious question - do you need a google+ account for a chromebook?

Perhaps they can use the money to buy acting lessons

They are very tacky, the same way I felt about Apples "Im a PC" ads.

how is this getting upvoted? A stupid ad, made to look like it's not an ad, WTF? This needs to get off HN and find its home on Fark or something.

Hello Microsoft... From Acer C710 Chromebook....

But can it play Battletoads?

Tacky, much?

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