The latest target in Microsoft’s ‘Scroogled’ campaign? The Chromebook

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Chromebook Scroogled

Apparently not content with a series of bizarre ads and an even more bizarre clothing line, Microsoft has fired off the latest salvo in its war against Google. This time the target isn’t in the realm of software, where Google’s tried to muscle in on its space in recent years, but Google’s hardware. More particularly, the Chromebook.

Yup, Microsoft’s decided to join the party and poke fun at a device everyone got bored of having a go at some time around mid 2012. And it’s decided to do that by bringing in presenters from the History Channel’s “Pawn Stars” and, um, lying.

As TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois notes, the pawn broker star of the ad’s claim that it’s impossible to use the Chromebook without an internet connection is just plain wrong. Sure Chromebooks work best with an internet connection (as most devices do these days), but there’s nothing stopping you working on documents, spreadsheets or playing Angry Birds if you happen to be offline for a while.

And, as Lardinois notes, that’s possibly why Microsoft is attacking the Chromebook: it’s scared. Chromebook sales have grown over the last couple of years thanks to their low prices and — while they’ll never be the stars of the PC world — they’re filling an important niche.

Additionally, the average user won’t be too concerned about the fact that you can’t play Call of Duty or Age of Empires on a Chromebook, especially given that you also can’t do either of those things on any of the sub US$250 laptops running Windows 8.

Then there’s the matter of not being able to run and install Microsoft Office apps, which would be massive problem if Google didn’t have its own suite of productivity apps that are fully compatible with Microsoft Office.

Finally, there appears to be a return to Microsoft’s baffling suspicion of the cloud. One of the key benefits of working with Google Apps is that you can access your content from anywhere and, if you’re freaked out about privacy, there are much better ways of keeping your content safe than saving it onto a hard drive. We’re also not sure that the content the average Chromebook user works on will mean that they’re really worried about that kind of thing.

The truth is, Google will probably push further and further into the niche its carved for the Chromebook and the machines will sell in ever-increasing number, no matter how much money Microsoft diverts from promoting its own products in to shaming its competitors’.

Go home Microsoft, you’re drunk.

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  • sportmac

    hey, when you’re throwing 10 billion dollars at bing (according to ballmer) to “compete” with google then you pull out all the stops! that’s a lot of money to lose just to get a foothold in search. why would they do that? because they want your data. they really really REALLY want your data. to the tune of 10 billion big ones.
    and once they get it they are not going to sit on it. they’re going to do exactly what google does with it.

  • pr0nstache

    That may very well be true, but I think any bad publicity about the invasive practices of tech companies is good publicity. It at least possibly will cause some people to think twice before blindly going along with things just for convenience. We live in a day and age where we know for a fact that agencies have purposely undermined the security of online data, why would anyone want to become even more further dependent on it? Just sheep to the slaughter.

  • ean

    Basics..don’t knock the competition just make a better product.

  • Chris

    Microsoft is desperate. Very desperate.
    Like a fish out of water and gasping for air.

    After Ballmer the next Microsoft CEO will probably be another nincompoop, and with any luck Microsoft may cease to exist by the end of the decade. A month is an eternity in the tech world, try six years and see how it goes.

  • Chris

    Hypocrisy from Microsoft. Microsoft would love to have Google’s targeted ad business, in fact, that was precisely why Microsoft had blown a fortune on aQuantive. Even the Metro tiles of Windows 8 are in fact an ad delivery system, as Xbox users had found out after *that* dashboard update.

    When that failed, Microsoft launched the Scroogled ads and portrayed itself as a champion of privacy. At best, this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. At worst, this is delusional psychological projection.

  • Hauredun

    I didnt realize google had fanboys. Now I do.

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