I thought Microsoft's Scroogled campaign couldn't get any more bizarre when it unveiled official Scroogled merchandise last week. Turns out I was wrong.
Microsoft released its latest Scroogled ad this week targeting Google's line of Chromebook computers, and it brought Rick from Pawn Stars along for the ride. The basic gist of the ad is that Chromebooks are not a suitable replacement for a Windows laptop and that the connected nature of Chromebooks ensures that Google can siphon more data from you to sell to advertisers.
Check out the ad in all of its embarrassing glory below:
If that's not enough for you, Microsoft also released an extended version of the ad. This one features more footage of Rick saying that he would be scroogled by simply buying a Chromebook:
Now that the ads are out of the way, let's dive into what these ads get right and wrong. For Microsoft's sake, let's start with what's right. It's true that a Chromebook is not as good as Windows laptop. A Windows-based laptop can do a lot more than a Chromebook in terms of native applications and many don't require an Internet connection.
That's about all Microsoft got right, however, as it incorrectly states that a Chromebook is "a brick" when its offline. It even uses the example of programs like iTunes and Microsoft Office as the kinds of applications that can be run offline whereas things like Google Drive can not. That's an incorrect statement though as Google Drive can sync all your data offline for use when you don't have access to a reliable Internet connection. It is true that Google Drive must be set to Offline Mode while the computer is online, but it shouldn't be a problem outside of unexpected outages.
At the end of the ad, Microsoft also points out that you can get a Windows laptop for as low as $249. That's the same price as a Chromebook and represents an incredible value. The only problem is that Chromebooks are designed to be affordable, supported by generous subsidies from Google and are generally fast and reliable. A $249 Windows laptop is going to be built out of inferior parts, perform sluggishly and probably die through regular use within a year. For a decently built Windows laptop with similar performance to a Chromebook in terms of speed, you're looking at a $450 investment.
On a final note, Microsoft still seems to not recognize the irony of these ads. Microsoft berates Google for making money off of targeted ad revenue, but it's not innocent in the selling of personal data either. In fat, it could be argued that Microsoft is worse as it was the first major tech company to work with the NSA through its PRISM program. It also reportedly opened up back doors in Skype for law enforcement officials to listen in on conversations. It's great that Microsoft puts such an emphasis on user privacy in it ads, but its actions make the company seem hypocritical.
So, maybe next time before Microsoft points out the splinter in Google's eye, it should examine the plank in its own.[Image: ScroogledTruth/YouTube]