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After taking a little break from the classic Mac-vs- PC wars to punch a little lower (at Samsung), Microsoft has decided to return to its old rivalry, hoping to revive slow Windows 8 and possibly Surface tablet sales with a little anti-Apple advertising.* This latest spot is a robot-future version of the cool Mac-guy-and-dorky-PC-guy campaigns that Apple used to build up its hip-cred in the aughts. But instead of getting actors to do its bidding, Microsoft used dueling tablets, creating a Siri-vs.-Windows 8 showdown to show all the useful things Microsoft's tablet can do that Apple and its not wholly beloved Siri feature cannot:

That the ad exists at all shows a little desperation on Microsoft's part. While the company has run its fair share of negative campaigns against Apple, Google, and Samsung, this is the first such effort to sell a Windows 8 tablet by bashing the other, most popular guy. As we've seen with Samsung's popular anti-fanboy ads that pushed its Samsung Galaxy S III and S IV sales into rivalry territory with Apple's dominant iPhone, a little poking can help the sales cause. But that only works if the product has some excitement behind it — and we haven't quite seen that for the Surface tablet, the sales for which have been falling well short of predictions

*This post originally called the tablet in the ad a Surface. It's in fact an ASUS VivoTab Smart PC.

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