Microsoft admits its recent anti-iPhone ads were “off the mark”

By , Sep 15, 2013

windows phone ad fly

Even though most of this week’s news cycle was dominated by Apple and its new iPhones, Microsoft managed to snag a few headlines on Friday. But it wasn’t positive press. The company was lambasted for its new series of anti-Apple ads.

The series, made up of 7 clips, was called ‘A fly on the wall in Cupertino.’ And each of the ads featured two high-level Apple executives pitching the new iPhone 5c and 5s handsets to a third character that looked an awful lot like Steve Jobs…

As you can imagine, the clips caused quite a bit of backlash, and users turned out to Microsoft’s YouTube channel in droves to let them hear about it. The company pulled the clips that day, and later offered the following statement to CNET:

“The campaign “was intended to be a lighthearted poke at our friends from Cupertino. But it was off the mark, and we’ve decided to pull it down,” a Microsoft representative told CNET.”

Here’s one of the ads in question (re-uploaded by a YouTuber):

Here’s my take: whether Microsoft intended the figure in the ads to be Steve or not, I’m not sure. But the spots, in general, just aren’t very good. It looks more like a high school drama class improv skit than the product of a professional ad agency.

Anyway, good move on Microsoft’s part taking the controversial ads down quickly. And it’s not like Apple’s marketing team hasn’t had its fair share of follies. Last summer, the company put a stop to a series of poorly-received ‘Genius’ commercials.

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  • Boss

    everybody knows the iPhone 5c looks cheap and plastic

    • Moi

      But it looks beautiful more than any other plastic phone , thanks to ios 7 trancpernty …. check out the iphone 5c video , you’ll love the way it looks and feels !

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        I certainly don’t think so, looks significantly worse than the GS4 and 3GS IMO…

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        lol, nothing looks worse than Samsung phones….i would give you that one, if you would use some actually pretty phone as example

      • Raashid

        Good for you, now take off that iTarded blind fold…

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        i dont think you understood written text…. im not saying that 5C is beautiful,or else, but Samsung phones are ugliest from all phones. HTC models looks much better for example

      • Raashid

        If pure Aluminum (metal) is considered beautiful, which I’m definite you do, ’cause that’s what the iPhone 5 is. How does pure plastic look better than partly plastic and partly metal? Besides due to iTarded reasoning?

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        lol, you are obviously trolling, because i wasn’t even talking about used materials, and I’m too tired today to fight trolls. Learn something about design(I’m designer, so i know a little bit about that already), and maybe you will understand one day why are Samsung phones ugly. End of story. Good night m8

      • Raashid

        Lol, you’re obviously iTarded, ’cause you can’t even tell that calling something beautiful by design also takes the material into consideration. Or did you get a D in your design class? ‘Cause that’ll explain your conclusions besides iTarded reasoning…

      • Nate McKelvie

        I’m not a fanboy, I’m not android fanboy. I personally like any product that’s good, I could care less who makes it. I agree that the 5c being plastic does not look good. I dislike plastic phones, it’s what I don’t like about my s4. I like the look of the htc one but dislike the phone, I love the s4 but dislike the plastic and the look of it! Personally I do like the look of my iphone 5 the best but that’s just my opinion on looks. But the way I see it there are many great phones all have their pros, all have their cons, but why fight over it? Use what you like and who cares what anyone else likes?

      • mehrab

        Its hard poly carbonate with mutiple finishing processes how many? More then samsung for sure it includes a laquer hardcoat which makes it glossy and riggid. Now in defense tell whats special about samsung plastic look and feel?

      • Dan

        imo:
        -Plastic, removable battery and microsd slot = win
        -Plastic and…. well nothing = fail

      • mehrab

        That pic is exactly ios 7 and the 5c troll. Stop trolling. The 5c is designed better and feels better then any samsung phone and ios 7 complements it very well better then wp , true apple copied nokia on that idea. On a other note lol no im not talking about samsung note phones. It has a lacquer hardcoating which is much better then the hyper glaze in quality and durability and is steel reinforced that means it is more rigged and how do you think it will have a removable battery which phone does these days tbh except samsung?

      • Singed

        How can you tell anything about the 5c feel if it’ NOT EVEN OUT?

      • mehrab

        Theverge cnet anand tech slash gear EVERY ONE ON THERE HANDS ON WAS LIKE “WOW THIS ACTUALLY FEELS RIGID AND NICE EVEN THO THE 5s is much higher quality” second off apple is amazing at design and it has multiple finishing processes including a laquer hardcoat

      • mehrab

        That body cant have a removable case lol

      • leart za jmi

        Oh look an S-voice here

      • Raashid

        Oh look, an ignoramus follower here…

      • leart za jmi

        why you let the banana boat

      • Raashid

        why you let the banana boat

        WTF? You drinking and typing?

      • Dan

        +1 for the fresh prince, I litterally laughed out loud
        I need to watch that series again sometime

      • Brandon Miranda

        It sucks that disqus won’t tell you who downvoted your comment. ‘Cuz I did.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Good, your herd master must be proud of you…

      • Brandon Miranda

        Herd master hmm? And who would that be? Your just like the guys from android authority. (No offense to them). Your eyes are closed and you refuse to let new ideas sink in.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Lol, you just described yourself, numbskull. You can’t seem to accept that your herd master’s, Apple’s, devices can be fugly, you’re the one with the closed mind. I say the GS4 and 3GS are much better looking than the 5C as they had metal frames for a premium look on the front, you get upset and downvote my comment.

        Do you even have a clue what closed mind implies? Wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t.

      • Brandon Miranda

        For the life of me I can’t recall one bad looking iPhone. The GSlll is crap. The S4 is alright and the S1 is crap aswell. The 5c is really good looking.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        There you go again…whatever, it’s your taste, not mine. Enjoy it.

      • Singed

        YOU DOWNVOTED SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET?!
        *claps slowly*
        Good boy!

      • Brandon Miranda

        Why thank you my good ‘Sr!

      • Roche

        God. You’re so brainwashed it actually pisses me off.

    • Raashid

      But fantards just can’t admit it…like always.

      • leart za jmi

        Why you care, your worst than fanboys, your a troll

      • Raashid

        Why do you care that I care? You’re worst than fanboys, you’re a hypocrite…

      • leart za jmi

        Blla blla blla

    • Frozen Bee .GFKS

      actually it does not look that cheap, but it sure do look plastic. you wanna know why? because its made of it :O

  • riyadian1

    Motherchood microsoft

  • seyss

    idiots. their software is on the same level of quality

  • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

    Doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do it again…terrible marketers.

  • Jonathan

    About time..

  • Wow

    Smdh. Can this company get anything right? Microsoft is SO lost. They have no idea what to do. Puts ads up. Takes them down. Takes Start menu out of Windows 8 Puts it back. Unveils Xbox One features. Backtracks on everything. Release Surface RT. Fails epically….Somebody help these guys PLEASE.

    • Maze

      Unfortunately so. I don’t want them to fail, competition is good, but apple is running circles around these guys.

      • Saeed Ghattas

        Competition is good when you have a good competitor. And even if there was one, i wouldn’t get a non apple device, i have all the integrations with all computers, apple tv, ipad and so on. So for me it’s apple.

      • Raashid

        Tell me you’re a shareholder in Apple and not just a marginally insane numbskull…

      • Saeed Ghattas

        No i’m not a share holder! I just believe in apple. And how things just work

      • Frozen Bee .GFKS

        don’t feed that troll

    • Omar D. Plumey

      Wait. The start menu is back? Since when? I neeeeeed it.

      • Raashid

        You’ll be disappointed to know it’s just the start button that is back (in 8.1), clicking it just takes you to the start screen

    • Jonah

      Man if disqus had a favorite feature you know I’d hit fav on this. Couldn’t agree more.

    • Vitaliy Anonymous

      I may agree with almost everything you say except for the RT part. I don’t see the reason why people dislike the RT so much. I’m not talking about the pro, but the RT.

      While the iPad is really popular because Apple has done an extremely great marketing, the Surface RT is rich feature-wise. Sure, there isn’t as much apps as the iPad has, but they are getting much more. Where else do you get Flash player support, full Office, more real multitasking.

      All I want to hear is facts, why do you dislike the RT?

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        ‘Cause it’s tough to justify its price tag (even harder to justify that of the toyPad) when you can get an Intel Atom tablet (like the Asus Vivotab Smart), which offers significantly more, for the the same price.

      • Vitaliy Anonymous

        I don’t know. For me, it is tough to justify the $499 price tag for a 16GB iPad that only offers light default apps. The only reason it MAYBE could justify the price tag is, because of the amount of apps. However, quantity does not always mean quality.
        Meanwhile, on the Surface, the $499 price tag was justifiable. The dropped down $349 is even more justifiable. In all honesty, you get much better features on the RT than the iPad. The iPad wins when it comes to accessories and developer support (more apps).

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Oh I totally agree with that, but then again, you still have the option of Intel Atom tablets with over millions of apps and accessories to make it work the way you want, all for the same original price, $499. Guess the savings of $150 may justify it to some…

      • Kurt

        I would like more apps and a larger screen in RT. There are larger screen window 8 devices so I’m ok there. It’s the app store that is lacking. and with tablets its the most important thing. I would love a Samsung tablet because of all the features, I would love a Windows 8 tablet because of all the features. But I need apps. Apple’s App Store is King. I really like tiles. I hope apps start coming because I’d switch in a heart beat. But till then, I’m sticking with crapple and their no featured tablets that look the same year after year. Zzzz

      • Benchmark Apps

        I like that you voice your opinion about Apple, which is good, but I just feel that an Android blog would be great for you, I don’t want to fight, I just think your comments are great and should be heard on a Android blog. Thanks for understanding. :)

      • Guest

        I feel an iTardsOnlyBlog would be great for you. You’ll never come across negative facts about Apple nor anything questioning what they do over there. Thanks for your understanding :)

      • Benchmark Apps

        Excuse me? I was very nice when I said it and I said that if she likes Android, an Android blog is good for her. I wasn’t being rude, It was a recommendation. So, don’t jump to conclusions. By the way, I love iTards, there better then your brainlessdroids. Let the iSheeps be iSheeps, we are proud, unlike you Android fans. Why don’t you visit an Android blog, considering the way you are talking about how your not a fan of Apple. Maybe you should think what you say before you say it, I didn’t do anything, it it was none of your buisiness.

      • Dan

        Your comment sort of came out as if you were telling him to go somewhere else. That’s not really nice. Just saying.

      • Benchmark Apps

        Yeh, I know. Thanks for make it clear. Reason why I’m not getting angry at you is because you didn’t tell me off like the Guest person, you made it clear, thanks.

        Although, I wasn’t meant to be heard like that, I thought his comments are good and should be also heard on a Android blog.

      • Mike

        Have you tried to play or use many flash games on the RT? Many don’t work…Farmville 2 on facebook along with others don’t work…MS has no answer. The new 8.1 release is supposed to fix several issues with the RT…specifically keyboard not loading properly and wrong keys displaying when something else is pressed on the keyboard. Why couldn’t they figure out a way to make the Internet Explorer sync’d…its two different apps…IE Touch and Desktop IE…so you have two completely different set of bookmarks…wtf? Office is not full office…have you loaded any spreadsheets with vbscript? Doesn’t work either.

        You asked for reasons…and those are my issues…I still like the device…hardware is very nice and has potential…but i’m pretty pissed about the flash issues…and the updates just take forever…there are so many patches when I got it…i had to let it sit for almost 4 hours to complete all the updates/reboots…it was pretty bad.

        I’m really hoping a lot of the issues are fixed with the 8.1 release.

      • Singed

        I don’t prefer the RT because I want an appstore that has more than eight apps in it.

      • Vitaliy Anonymous

        Let me disagree with you on that one. RT has around 150,000 apps there, and the majority of the popular applications, you can find there. Netflix (yep), Hulu Plus (yep), Kindle (check), Angry Birds (for sure), Evernote (most definitely).

  • Oscar Nigma

    When ever another company takes aim at other company’s in advertising, aside from specs, they just make them selves look weak.

    • Raashid

      Not always, so long as they do show the benefits of their device over the other, it’s not a sign of weakness. Here on the other hand, it’s clearly a sign of weakness; they have nothing to show in Windows Phones that is better than iPhones (with iOS 6)….

      • Oscar Nigma

        I suppose, but most times when they do they just attack the culture and the product (Samsung) which makes them look a bit desperate. But ya, these showed no windows phones or software which just makes these pointless advertising in my opinion.

  • richrich

    I like Microsoft’s make-a-step-then-admit-whoops-that-was-wrong policy. They did it with Surface and now with this ridiculous commercial. Jesus, think before you do anything. Or not, you’re obsolete anyway.

  • richrich

    also: everything Microsoft seems to do these days is “off the mark”.

  • on3simpleclick

    The iPhone 5c is a step backwards & the iPhone 5s is barely an upgrade.

    • mehrab

      How? They both are great eevices the 5s for its features and specs.
      The 5c for its affordability *on contracts* which is in every major country including china japan etc. and colors will attract more teens in and complements ios 7 beautifully they could not done it with the iphone5 green,blue,red metal,? BEsides that it has more battery and a improved front camera and preinstalled ios 7

      • Dan

        100$ less doesn’t really make it more affordable. Especially when it’s stretched out on a 2 year contract.

      • mehrab

        It actually is considering iphones last very long. There are people with iphone 3gs”s in the wild.

      • Dan

        Who cares if you have your phone a long time, it’s still just 100$ savings. That’s less than a half day’s work.

      • mehrab

        Why do you care about the 5c then? You dont like it neither are you buying it why CARE? Apples going to sell millions of them. Just wait and see.

  • Wyeth Joseph Pio Dion

    The two characters whose faces we don’t see look more like Jony Ive and Tim Cook, not Steve Jobs. Steve was balding, with grey hair. One guy is bald, the other has black hair. It definitely isn’t meant to be Steve.

  • Tom Brady

    Lot of Microsoft fanboys here

    • cd

      Microsoft blows nowadays

    • Benchmark Apps

      So true. Talking about “Guest” attacking me for a recommendation. :O

  • cd

    iPhone 5C is a girls phone Microsoft windows 8 blows, I own a windows 8 laptop the thing sucks….lol I have friends that have Samsung S4 phones to and they have many problems with them …. everyone of these tech companies are getting cheaper and cheaper…. maybe we should ban every last one of them?????

    • Tom Brady

      My windows 8 laptop is crazy too. And its like a ghost is touching the screen.

      • Benchmark Apps

        I feel the same way.

    • Benchmark Apps

      Lol, ban them.

  • cd

    and iPhone 5s has finger print sensor , do you want Apple to have your finger print???? :(

    • Moi

      Your fingerprint will be saved in your damn A7 chip and it won’t be saved in any services of apple , why do people love to talk about things they don’t know ?

    • mehrab

      The prints are stored inside the chip and is not accessible by anyone.

    • Mike

      as if the hospital you were born didn’t take your finger prints? As if the government having them means they’re safer than apple having them?

      people worried about big brother or people knowing their business are two things…very stupid for thinking that its not already out there and someone has it…and secondly must have something to hide or are just bad people and need to worry about it.

      • cd

        No dork weed its pretty bad when ” BIG BROTHER ” is asking how the finger print thing is going to be protected

  • Maze

    Personally I thought that was hilarious. No reason for all the hate. I own apple products and I’m still not blind to the humor. And in the video he says “T” for Tim cook and the other guy is clearly Jony Ivy, not Steve jobs.

  • batongxue

    time to switch BACK to iPhone!!!

  • Kamrul

    The ad wasn’t even funny or insulting, not even abit.

  • Y2J

    I don’t want to seem like a fanboy, but I really wish that instead of taking shots at other companies, Samsung, Nokia and Microsoft would just promote their own products like Apple does. I don’t ever remember seeing an Apple ad take shots at another company in recent years. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      You are 100% wrong on that. Simply google “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC ads”, and check out over 60 ads from Apple trying to trash talk Windows…

      • Y2J

        I’m pretty sure that I said “in recent years.” I don’t particularly consider 4-5 years all that recent, but okay.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        So, it’s only when Apple is doing it that it’s considered alright for others to do it? Get real numbskull, companies advertise based on how their products are performing in the market.

        Apple was the desperate one in the desktop era, hence there was significantly more bashing ads from them during that time. Microsoft/Nokia are now in that position in the mobile era, so, there’s now significantly more bashing ads from them.

      • Mike

        yeah but those ads were actually true…lol…windows constantly had blue screen of death issues. As a windows user back then I used to laugh at those because they were so true. The difference I see here though is there’s no real mention of any MS product here…its not as if they’re marketing differences or even that they have something better, they’re simply just taking shots at Apple. I actually have the Surface RT…as well as the iPad 2 and iPhone 5…the Surface is nice…but has many of the same windows issues that have plagued windows for a long time…updates take forever, it still can’t play all flash content properly even though they say it supports flash, updates take super long….did I mention it take f’ing forever to update…lol. I like the device from a hardware perspective…but apps are killing it…it just doesn’t have any. If they’d put more into getting apps instead of these dumb marketing ads…they’d have something that people would be interested in.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Yeah, and the ads describing Apple devices as years behind the competition are actually true…lol…Apple devices a so overpriced and yet are so boring without jailbreak. Simple features that have been available in dumb phones (like bluetooth file sharing) are a pipe dream to have in the official iPhone. As an iPhone user, I laugh at those ads, especially Samsung’s ’cause they are so true. As a matte of fact, soon as I lose my jailbreak on my 4S running iOS 6, I’ll gladly pick up the latest GS# Active.

        This ad here is one of their stupid ads, just like their first round of useless dancing ads showing off the sound the kickstand makes. They have other reasonable ads that really show what the iPad is lacking compared to the competition, unfortunately, those came out 8 months after the product release *facepalm*

        Regarding update cycle, takes no longer than updating apps on my iPhoen 4S. Probably ’cause I have the sense of true multitasking; windows update runs in the background while I work on other stuff. Then if it requires a restart, I can do that before I go to bed. You on the other hand, seem to be either describing Windows 98 (welcome to 2013). Or have lost the sense of true multitasking due to iOS; you do only one thing at a time thinking if your switch to something else, Windows update will freeze in memory. That’s not how true multitasking works dude, and neither is that how Windows does.

        Regarding apps, I totally agree, but then again, wouldn’t even recommend buying it in the first place. As there are Intel Atom tablets that offer significantly more than any ARM tablet can dream of in both apps and accessories, all for the same price tag.

      • Mike

        I’m not talking about the app updates @hole…I’m talking about the windows updates…that automatically download in the background and then you have to at some point reboot…which it then says installing updates for 10 minutes at which point NO you can’t do anything else it sits on the blue screen saying installing update x of x and the percentage. So stop bull crapping and playing things up to be like apple when in fact it is not. I do not have regular updates that have to be applied to any of the iOS systems on my iphones or ipads or apple tv. I’m plenty capable of multitasking and do plenty of it all day. The apps on the iphone and ipad also download and update in the background and there are plenty of apps that run in the background…so I don’t really care you’re opinion…you obviously don’t know crap.

      • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

        Yeah and that’s what I’m talking about too numbskull. Those updates take long periods just like AppStore updates when you let them pile up. In the case of Windows, you can do something simple if you have a brain, it’s called postponing updates. I’m never forced by Windows Update to restart my computer when I’m in the middle of whatever…I can just postpone it until I’m ready to go to bed. Then I shut down my computer and it updates b4 going to sleep.

        Simple as that, but unsurprisingly, it seems to be rocket science for you numbskull.

  • omrishtam

    another fail by microsoft…even the ad itself is shit

  • Macdemon

    For a company that has failed miserable in recent years, and cannot begin to compete with the iPad with its failed ‘Surface’ tablet, I think they should take a LONG hard look at themselves before mocking others.

    • Joseph

      All I’m going to say on this matter is that Surface RT has potential. If it had more and better apps and functionality, then it would be a tablet I would actually consider using. RT doesn’t fit a lot of people who use Windows, though, because of it’s restrictiveness in terms of apps. I know it’s similar to the iPad in the fact that you can’t run applications from the maker’s operating system (RT can’t run Windows programs, iOS can’t run OS X programs), but RT’s marketplace is most definitely it’s crippling aspect.

      Windows 8 tablets, however, are pretty useful, since they effectively function as an actual computer and tablet at the same time (even moreso for ones with a detachable keyboard and don’t run RT). This allows you to actually make good use out of it, since you’re not limited to it’s bad marketplace, and instead have more openness and applications, rivaling the usefulness of the apps on iOS’ app store.

      My theory is that Microsoft has run out of aspects to advertise that go head-to-head with iOS features, and can really only do RT ads that are… well, I’m not going to say like this, since not *all* of Microsoft’s Surface ads like that are sucky, but I think you get what I’m saying. They’re out of useful advertising ideas.

      At the very least, they caught their mistake with these commercials early on, and I commend them for that.

  • Fevostone

    The 5s is very nice I know coz I have the 5 LOL and the 5c well it would be nice for kids or women if the prices would lower. And I’m sure we are all a little pissed off about not getting a bigger screen :-( BUT WEN THEY DO (apple) AND WE ALL KNOW WEN THAT HAPPENS EVERYONE WILL BE GETTING A IPHONE

    • Joseph

      Except for the people that are tied into the mobile OS they chose, in terms of app purchases and device features. Other devices still offer different or more features than iOS, that cater to a person’s specific needs. So.

  • Ha lala

    those made this and whoever allowed this to be published need to get fired. like NOW.

  • MayinAusten

    For innovative solutions in iPhone
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  • Ted Forbes

    Sorry but I missed the mark, I didn’t get it “?” I couldn’t figure out what I was suppose to make out of it.

  • anonymous

    i like plastic phones better for safety, plastic is a bad conductor, metal is a good conductor, the case of an electrocution by the metallic body of phone can cause a person’s death while for plastic there is no electrocution, totally hate this aluminum vs plastic crap, apps and features is what matters the most at the end of the day,

  • cashitgadget

    Thank fully Vault Feed was the FIRST to copy these videos!

  • Byron C Mayes

    At 1:07, the guy clearly says “What I’m trying to explain to you now, T…” That would be “T” as in Tim, and Tim as in Cook.

    It’s a bad ad, but there is no disrespect to Steve Jobs.