July 16, 2009 at 09:00 PM EDT

In round nine jillion of Microsoft vs. Apple — a battle for our hearts; a battle for our wallets — Microsoft is striking back, this time with its “Laptop Hunter” ads and, coming soon, retails stores right next to Apple stores. Suck on that, Steve Jobs’ mock turtlenecks!

Yesterday, at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, COO Kevin Turner told assembled folk that the Windows empire’s bargain-themed ads are working. He even said the Apple legal team contacted him to stop running the ads. “We got a call from the Apple legal department saying, hey — this is a true story — saying, ‘Hey, you need to stop running those ads, we lowered our prices.’ They took like $100 off or something. It was the greatest single phone call in the history that I’ve ever taken in business…. I did cartwheels down the hallway. At first I said, ‘Is this a joke? Who are you?’ Not understanding what an opportunity. And so we’re just going to keep running them and running them and running them.” (Full text of Turner’s remarks aqui.)

I’m kind of surprised it’s taken Microsoft this long to hit Apple on the price wars stuff. Leaving aside preference or style or whatever, there’s no way around the fact that Macs are more expensive than PCs. It seems like a no-brainer in these cost-conscious times to be hammering that point home, especially because pricing has never been part of Apple’s campaigns.

I find the “Laptop Hunter” ads extraordinarily irritating, so I don’t particularly relish the fact they’re not going anywhere. But I also find buying things to be quite fun, particularly if I can afford them, so if this nudges prices down across the computing board, well, count me in. What about you, PopWatchers? Is it all about the Benjamins when you’re buying a computer, or is it also about the Steves Jobs and Ballmer?

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