Microsoft’s “I’m a PC” Ads - made on a Mac


Image by LuisDS via Flickr

LuisDS looked at the metadata on the video for Microsoft's new "I'm a PC" commercial and learned that it was made on Mac using Adobe Creative Suite 3. Link


  1. That’s more an issue with the advertising company, not really Microsoft. If they were to only go with companies that used Microsoft products, they wouldn’t get too far.

  2. Sounds familiar. Like when MS was telling people not to use Unix servers but MS servers:

    “A Web site sponsored by Microsoft and Unisys as a way to steer big companies away from the Unix operating system is itself powered by Unix software [FreeBSD].”>

    and some quasi-official pro-MS sites that seem to be running… uh hey…Linux/Apache! etc. as discussed briefly here:

    Could it be that MS warez ain’t as great as MS and their legions of fans claim?

    Don’t buy their line(s) of crap. The truth is out there. In a remote data center (or clouds of them). That MS doesn’t think we will ever understand how to find and expose…

  3. You know they do this intentionally to cause the ad to be spread, right? It’s like an intentional exploit of the Streisand Effect.

  4. Congratulations Aldasin for helping crt th nxt vltn f Gdwn’s Lw. Frm nw n, nstd f dgrdng rgmnts by cmprng n sd t Htlr, w cn jst thrw t mnnglss trms lk “hpstr”. This is going to greatly improve my web commenting in the future.

  5. You mean the metadata, from the SilverLight video? The video that can only be encoded using the (frankly kickass) SilverLight encoder? Written for Windows?

    While I don’t doubt that some of the jpeg images submitted by their advertising agency may have once resided on a Mac, it is quite another to say that the videos were made on a Mac. Especially when your choices are SilverLight, WMV, and MPEG. Only MPEG would have possibly been made on another architecture, but the other two would have almost positively been made in Windows.

  6. Dr. Pop,

    Don’t forget dchbg!

    I find both terms hilarious in context. If you are commenting on a gadget blog or spend a good deal of time in message boards you aren’t exactly salt-of-the-earth.

  7. pretty much all video is edited on mac’s these days. from movie trailers to commercials. its either finalcutpro or adobe premiere.

    i havent seen anyone using a window suite in awhile.

  8. Interesting. I went to Microsoft’s site, got the same picture.

    According to the screenshot here, that one is dated 2008/09/16 18:51:21

    The one I just got from Microsoft’s site, is dated 2008/09/18 16:30:08 ..and is magically CS3 Suite Windows.

    So around 4:30 Thursday, they updated the picture and made sure it was windows-originated.

    If only they’d fix their software that quickly.

  9. Microsoft’s ad strategy should focus on things they are actually better at. Like, um, being less expensive. And gaming, I guess.

    On second thought they can just say “we own most of the market so you’ll give us your money whether you like it or not, assholes.” That’s been the core of their business strategy anyway.

  10. Since Apple’s conversion to Intel x86 hardware -and the proliferation of x86 hacks to get OS X to run on generic Intel-based hardware- the differentiation between PeeCees and Macs is boiling down to more of a software argument than the hardware one that it was in the past. While Apple’s designs speak more towards furnishing a ‘lifestyle’, most of the time that you use the computer you look a the screen rather than longingly at the cool box on the desk or the floor. Unfortunately for Microsoft, their choosing of a real Microsoft employee that embodies the cliched stereotype that Apple created, has confirmed the image that Windows users -and by extension the choice of OS- are tired, boring, beige blobs. Good show fellows.

  11. Since a Mac is a PC, the ad was still made on a PC.

    /Doesn’t really get the stupid Mac/Windows debate
    //Runs all 3

  12. Yeah, if the commercial was about how much better a PC is at editing video than a Mac, this discovery would have some merit. But it isn’t, so, it doesn’t.

  13. the differentiation between PeeCees and Macs is boiling down to more of a software argument than the hardware one that it was in the past.

    It’s a design, ease of use, and frustration issue.

    At offices I’ve worked at I consistently have to pretend not to know how to troubleshoot the PC’s, otherwise I’d never get my own work done.

    I’ve never been in a Mac based office where the IT guy is on speed dial. Just sayin’.

  14. But on the other hand, this is probably the first time in a decade that a video on an MS website is offered as MPEG. So yay for that at least.

  15. do people still really care what computer other people use?

    i won’t disclose the hardware i’m on because i don’t want it to mean anything, but i run OSX and XP on this machine, and i couldn’t give two shits what anyone else uses, or what anything was made on.

    the best movie in the world could have been edited on mac and it still doesn’t give my own machine any merit beyond my own ability to use or create on it.

  16. // #28 posted by Cpt. Tim , September 19, 2008 6:08 PM

    do people still really care what computer other people use?//

    Sometimes yes. The original Intel Inside 3d animation ad was done on power pc-based mac’s. Pretty sure that production house lost the contract for the next one after that came out, or at the very least, had to buy PC’s and PC software to do it.

  17. This doesn’t mean absolutely nothing. I’m a PC user, but I also have a new iPhone 3G. And you know what? At the Apple store (at least the one in Chelsea, NYC) where I got my iPhone, they were using a fancy mobile scanner to charge the credit cars (it looks like a laser gun) and you know what? The operating system for that device is Windows Mobile… so… yes… Apple is using Windows Mobile to charge credit cars at their stores.
    You can find many of this kind of ironies everywhere, and they doesn’t mean anything.

  18. I’d say creating the video on whatever works best , but advertising your own just shows that you healthily stand up to “business is business” ;)

  19. microsoft has a video production studio in Redmond where they do a lot of in-house production for commercials and corporate videos. when I visited the place (about 10 years ago) it was almost all Macs. i hear that shortly afterwards, the head honchos cracked down and made it a PC exclusive environment, but for awhile it was a good running joke, that even microsoft didn’t trust their own software when it came to professional media making.

  20. “The operating system for that device is Windows Mobile”

    Nope, it’s not: it’s a proprietary embedded OS which might look like Windows Mobile, but it ain’t. Try again.

  21. People keep insisting that it doesn’t matter which computer the ads were created on.

    Yet MS decided to change the graphics anyway.

    Face it; it DOES matter.

  22. “If you are commenting on a gadget blog or spend a good deal of time in message boards you aren’t exactly salt-of-the-earth.”

    Yes, and you are probably prone to make ironic posts that others may take too seriously.

    pc and mac owner

  23. > #11 POSTED BY MIC_DEE , SEPTEMBER 19, 2008 4:45 PM
    > This isn’t metadata from the video but from a JPEG on their website.

    The video was obviously crafted with Final Cut Pro. You can tell by the pixels and seeing quite a few Final Cut Pros in my time.

  24. – DIMMER: “The operating system for that device is – Windows Mobile”
    – Nope, it’s not: it’s a proprietary embedded OS
    – which might look like Windows Mobile, but it
    – ain’t. Try again

    I don’t know why you said that… The device use precisely Windows Embedded CE, there is a BIG Windows logo right behind the scanner. So, I don’t have to try again.

  25. Taking on Apple in advertising is one of the stupidest marketing decisions MS could make. They’re not going to take away market share from Apple, they’re just going to waste money on the dingleberry of a strategy some account planner picked out of their butt.

    Coke never references Pepsi. Nike never references adidas. When you’re the market leader and you acknowledge the also-ran you’re just giving them free exposure.

    And Jack Daniel is 100% correct.

  26. Chances are someone screwed up but someone fixed it, still kind of a black eye for the MS PR Department… and as it has been mentioned this hasn’t been the first time… but then everyone wants to beatup on MS, and why not its fun! No Pity For The Majority!

  27. Duh. Name me one advertising creative who uses anything but mac. They don’t exist. At least, not the top companies. Everywhere I’ve worked in advertising for the past 12 years, mac or nothing. Why? Could you imagine trying to be creative on a PC? Sure, they’re great for programming, but please. Have you ever tried to use photoshop on one? It’s like trying to put a full grown pig on speed into a baby seat in a vw rabbit. While driving. With a cup of hot coffee.

    And you’re drunk.

    And you’re blind.

    But hey, if YOU like ’em, well, uhh, good for you!

  28. Actually, GRIMC (post#45), coke did reference pepsi once. remember new coke? the one that was supposed to taste more pepsi-like? the one that, well, didn’t last very long? It was because they referenced pepsi. they ceded power when there was no reason to. pepsi won that battle in the cola wars.

  29. I don’t know when we moved from being defined by our actions and person to being defined by our choice of computer, or coffee… it’s probably before our time, maybe it’s always been this way, but it’s only the outstanding human beings that find their worth in ideas, or the way they choose to act on this planet.

    Cheering about these things feels like the greatest farce we can perpetrate on ourselves. It’s like a validation that we are right and we are better than others based on something that we’re so very far removed from. It’s like saying something in another part of the world, that I had nothing to do with in any way, has made me a better person.

    I’m pointing fingers as much at me as anyone because I find joy in the victories in my metapersonality as much as anyone else.

    The funny thing is that you look at a jpg and on the surface, you won’t tell the difference and you need to dig down to get an idea of its OS origin. On the other hand, people wear a lot of their identity on their sleeve and we all get pretty similar once we dig below the surface.

  30. “I’ve never been in a Mac based office where the IT guy is on speed dial. Just sayin’.”

    Funny that, I’ve never been in a Mac based office.

    And I’ve been in a lot of offices.

  31. #38 “99.9% of all advertising is created on a Mac.”

    So we’re in agreement: Macs are a direct portal to hell. ;)

  32. #37, Spend the same amount on a PC that you do on a Mac, and you get better hardware and a better Windows performance. If you put the same hardware in a PC it will be cheaper and give you the same performance.

  33. #39: Face it; it DOES matter.

    Not in any technical manner. Only in a twisted sociological manner. People make it matter because they love to chose sides.
    This debate is ages old and has changed less than the architecture of the machines themselves. For a long time it was about RISC vs CISC processors and there Apple had the upper hand…until they each switched, then Apple’s hardware designs started giving way to PC architecture. Now Macs are just propreitatry PC’s (always avoid proprietarian systems..Open Source Mantra).
    So the arguement is no longer about superiority, it’s about preference. I find I still have to use both systems and they do their job great.
    Crashes have more to do with how well you upkeep your machines. None of my systems crash. Maybe a process here and there terminate. And for you Vista haters…learn to use it, mine works great (albeit it has a huge learning curve) even though this machine is still XP (I still have 3 licenses left, whatta ya want).

  34. I can get a powerful win/linux PC for ~$450. A 28″ monitor for another $450.

    What am I paying for when I buy a Mac?

  35. If anyone had paid attention a few months back, when MS announced its new ad agency, they did an article in Wired about how the ageny ONLY uses Apple products to produce their ads, and MS knew and didn’t care cause they threw down LOTSA cash to get the “hottest” agency in town

  36. BL8ANT: Except for when Coke reintroduced the original formula, their sales shot up to the top and has stayed there ever since.

  37. @44:

    You said:
    “The operating system for that device is – Windows Mobile”

    Then said:
    “The device use precisely Windows Embedded CE”

    How many more tries would you like? Or do you accept that the platform is (as I said) a proprietary embedded OS?

  38. Maybe this mini-story might have been a planned method to spread the Microsoft message? It’s certainly given the story and campaign slightly longer legs…

    In any case, so what? The fact that a campaign was created using a mac doesn’t hinder the campaign’s message – it just makes mac zealots look even more fanatical.

    I dislike Microsoft as much as any sane person – but the ‘mac’ branding and message is starting to look a bit nausiating.

  39. My Mac runs BeOS R4.5. I’m way more elitist than the rest of you.

    As an aside, anyone written software/administered servers for Mac versus Windows? Microsoft has the Desktop market, but they have their fingers in dozens of standards that make software development for various platforms (not necessarily even their own) easier and more effective.

    Argue all you want about the Desktop market and usability. Microsoft has flat out done more for computing before 1993 than Apple ever will.

  40. “Coke never references Pepsi.”

    That’s funny, because I was just thinking of PCs as an analog of Coke, making Mac Pepsi. :)

  41. @neverender

    While Apple’s FCP is gaining market share and generating lots of hype, the vast majority of professional film and television projects are still edited with Avid products.

    While Avid and Adobe started out as Mac only, they have been making their software run on both Windows and Apple platforms for years.

    If it weren’t for Apple’s unwillingness to compromise on hardware design, Avid wouldn’t have been forced to develop for Windows and thus start the pissing match between the two companies.

  42. I can verify from personal experience that a lot of the Microsoft advertising is created on Macs.

    Microsoft is pretty adamant about keeping Macs away from their offices (from what I’ve been told), but most of the work is done on Macs and then converted to WMV before it reaches the Microsoft people. That used to be my job.

    I can’t help but feel some sympathy for the poor guy that didn’t hide their tracks good enough and caused this whole thing. I wouldn’t have known myself. Damn tech geeks!

  43. I guess its human nature to find some group or another to differentiate yourself from and simultaneously denigrate as much as you can. In high school, it was jocks and geeks. On ski slopes, it’s skiiers vs. snowboarders. And among computer obsessives, it’s Mac vs. PC.

    While it makes for fun irony, I fail to see how this undermines the marketing campaign. I teach Adobe CS3 to businesses, and there’s nothing involved in making this ad which couldn’t be done on both platforms equally well.

    Most graphic designers and film students get trained on Macs by tradition, so that’s what they used, just like most animators and product designers get trained on PC’s by tradition.

    That’s all it is anymore– tradition.

  44. What am I paying for when I buy a Mac?

    Plug it in. Turn it on. It’s pretty, and i.m.h.o. it works, very well, and silently.

  45. I work remotely for a company very far away. I have a pc and a mac on my desk. I use the PC for one application required by my job that does not run on the mac. I do all my creative stuff, internet, photos, movies, schedules, email on the mac. I’ve used both since the late 80s.
    I saw the advertisement today for the first time, and it didn’t give me any warm fuzzy feelings about PCs. If they ported the one remaining application to the mac OS platform, I’d probably rarely ever boot the PC, if for no other reason than to avoid the noise of the Dell box. I would not miss it. I haven’t eaten at McDonalds since 1978 and I don’t miss that either, and I basically have roughly the same opinion of mcdonalds and pcs…. greasy mediocre fodder that means nothing to me. I have plenty of complaints about macs too, but logging the same number of years on both (and years ago, also on SiliconGraphics), I know what gives me less annoyance, like having a really good keyboard and not having to worry about attached viruses.
    The “I’m a PC” people in the ad would probably have a different perspective if they had the opportunity to use both systems daily on the same desk, except perhaps those genetically predisposed to masochism.

  46. “As an aside, anyone written software/administered servers for Mac versus Windows?”

    Me me me! Workgroup Server 95’s (running A/UX), CX systems running Andrew’s IBM emulation stuff, Retrospect, Compatible Systems RISCrouters, NRC switches and Multigate Manager software.

    QuickMail and Apple’s AOCE client and server.

    And Timbuktu for remote support. Standard install was MacWrite Pro, MacDraw, Resolve, FileMaker.

    We pushed some upgrades via a software whose name I cannot now remember, but for the most part just an email saying “New version of System software/xyz app ready for download, log in to Computer Services, open the folder and run the install.

    Worked great: no need to go to each computer, no need to worry about compatibility issues, no need for a huge IT staff. Microsoft makes everything so complex that you can’t let the users “do their own thing” — and boy do the IT folks love that job security.

  47. The actual videos would most likely have been edited on Avid (for windows or mac) or Final Cut Pro (mac only). And being a commercial it is likely that any number of finishing/online/fx suites might’ve been employed. It very well could have been done completely in Discreet (autodesk) Smoke. I highly doubt that Adobe premeire would have come into the picture, which is still considered a consummer editing platform by most post houses.

    And as some have mentioned, We are just talking about photos here. Most of the graphic and photo free-lancers I’ve known work with photoshop on a mac. But since photoshop is cross-platform I don’t see it says anything bad about MS. It could have just as easily been done on photoshop using vista.

  48. What kind of computers do you think Apple hardware is designed on? The chip architecture and motherboard layout engineers aren’t going to be running macs. so the argument is moot. Besides, who cares what kind of computer someone uses. It’s not the tool that’s important it’s the user of the tool that that dictates the result.

  49. Apple hardware is designed on Sun workstations at the motherboard/chip level. All design work is done on Mac workstations.

  50. #74:

    …Besides, who cares what kind of computer someone uses.

    The guys who paid for this ad campaign, to name a few.

  51. Actually, the irony isn’t that any Windows related advertising was made on a Mac.

    Remember that $150 million that fell out of the sky and kept Apple from going bankrupt, back in 1997?

    The irony is that Bill Gates owns a big enough chunk of Apple, that Microsoft can use Macs all they want, without the least bit of shame.

    But if you still want to think there is some shame in your advertising being made on a competitors product, then keep in mind that it is highly likely that early advertising for both Microsoft and Apple, was made on an Amiga.

  52. While I’m tri or quad OS myself, I do always react cautiously to folks who use Windows in their home. It just seems so silly (except for gamers I guess.)

    Thankfully I’ve dumbed up enough over Windows stuff over the past five years that I can pass any support/problem/trouble issues off to my better half, who seems to know what all this nonsense is about.

  53. “Remember that $150 million that fell out of the sky and kept Apple from going bankrupt, back in 1997?”

    You mean the $150 million that Microsoft paid to stop more lawsuits against themselves? Giving access to all Apple patents (and vice versa). Microsoft divested themselves within eight months.

    Sad as it makes me to say (as an Amiga owner back in the day) I doubt that either MS or Apple used that equipment to make their ads. Not everything is Babylon 5.

  54. Just imagine, a company Microsoft hired used a Mac to create an ad for them!
    Why, sometimes, I even bet Ford dealerships hire drivers who use German-made trucks to transport cars from the factory to the dealership!
    Somewhere in rural Alabama, a former Klansman finds himself wondering what it would be like to put his hand on Beyonce’s thigh…
    Somewhere in Maine, a cat lies down and snuggles with the family dog, despite their differences.
    It’s a strange and beautiful world, no?

  55. Are you people seriously saying you can’t do creative work on a PC? Really?? Seriously?

    A pretty box and pimped-out Unix does not a creative person make.

  56. Pity, since anything a Mac can do, a PC can do… cheaper. I grew up on Macs, but only use PCs at home. Still have a Mac at work for some reason. Maybe decades you needed a Mac for this stuff. No longer the case.

  57. MDH, you must not have attended my design school. The poor IT guy would practically be in tears. He stopped talking up Macs after a year. He actually just stopped talking, period. He was too busy. And I though Macs didn’t have to worry about viruses… Tell that to those of us who lost an entire semester’s worth of work.

  58. BL8ANT, I use Photoshop and Illustrator on PCs all freakin’ day and make plenty of money doing so. Creativity? What kind of computer I use has nothing to do with creativity. Truly creative people will agree. People who need a Mac to be “creative” are hilarious.

  59. #62

    Guess what lies below Windows Mobile? he he he :D Wikipedia is not consistent, but most summaries about each Windows Mobile version make a reference to the Windows CE version that it is based on. You’re right though, not all configurations are like an open Pocket PC to which you can load anything you want. Some might not even have a GUI. Do you own a GPS? Most are built with proprietary distributions, and good chances are that it is Windows CE underneath. Guess what? its cheaper to configure a customizable embedded OS than to come up with your own from scratch. You get either Windows CE or Linux on one of its multiple embedded incarnations.

    There have always been Apple computers at MS. MS develops the most popular productivity suite for Mac. Regarding the 150 M USD (
    “Today’s announcements underscore our continued belief in the Mac as a platform for applications and leading-edge Internet technologies. Microsoft has millions of customers who rely on Macintosh technology and they can be assured that Microsoft products for the Mac will continue to be available.” said Gates, I don’t think they fret too much about Macs being around.

    – D

  60. “I don’t think they fret too much about Macs being around.”

    Yeah, the new ad campaign clearly shows that to be true…

    @88 Renderman is a product Pixar sells to whoever wants it on Linux, Mac OS X, or Windows. Pixar is not “moving to Windows”: Pixar’s render farms are all Linux based.

    he he he.

  61. Doc Pop, that’s more combative than warranted.

    Colonel Gentleman, I don’t see any reason why discussions of gadgets have to use a cruder and more dumbed-down vocabulary than any other subject.

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