While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days. As Apple and Google captured a younger, cooler demographic, the Windows maker, with its stodgy business oriented PC-compatible operating system and notoriously annoying browser, became synonymous with lameness. Remember all those highly effective Mac versus PC commercials? That PC dork (writer-performer John Hodgman) represented all things Microsoft: Slow, uptight, badly dressed. But as Apple and Google have grown up, they've lost their hip sheen. And, Microsoft's taking advantage. In this era of awesomely bad, it doesn't look so lame anymore -- especially in comparison to the other guys.
We noticed this new-found hipness when we came across the endearing Browser You Love(d) to Hate campaign. With some admirable self-awareness, Microsoft used its own bad reputation to argue that its hated Internet Explorer browser is on the verge of a comeback. Layering on the hipster-irony, Microsoft compares itself to once-passe things like PBR and mustaches, suggesting it's just another brand that's so bad, it's cool again. It also doesn't hurt that the overall look of the site matches that aesthetic. The Atlantic's own mustachio-ed tech man, Alexis Madrigal gave it his approval, calling this accompanying ad "definitely the funniest commercial Microsoft's ever put out." We agreed, finding the whole thing convincing enough to give our abandoned IE9 a try again. (We still prefer Chrome, by the way.)