Depending on how closely you have followed the news about Microsoft's plan to launch marketing campaigns attempting to "heal" the tarnished image you have most likely by now seen the new "I'm a PC or Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfield commercials. Apple has been running it's "I'm a Mac and I'm a PC" commercials for a couple years now and is linked to one of the many things that has caused Microsoft's consumer brand appeal to drop according to recent polls. Of course Microsoft would not sit back and let Apple continue to make them look silly but the real question was what would they do.
Apple's direct attack at PC was brilliant and put Microsoft in a difficult position because they couldn't duplicate the attack. It was one of those whoever struck first wins because if the other duplicates the attack they look like a copy cat. Interestingly I liken what Microsoft is doing and should continue to do to heal its image to what the Presidential candidates should do with their messages. Which is don't attack your opponent but talk about what you bring to the table. Microsoft's had for too long depended on the fact that they were the "default" operating systems and that consumers didn't really have much choice on using their products. That is no longer true and consumers are beginning to wake up to the fact that they do have a choice on what computer meets their needs as consumers. This has put Microsoft into a position where innovation must return to the central driving force for their company. They need to actually begin to start creating things consumer want and will consciously choose rather then be snuck into their hands with the purchase of their PC.
This again, as competition in any market does, will lead to innovations in consumer hardware, software and services and thus the consumer wins. We want Microsoft to remain competitive and innovate on its offering so that Apple will finally have a worthy competitor.
Microsoft is taking baby steps toward the right future and their new branding campaign is done quite well in my opinion to soften their image. I advise them to continue to send the message of what they bring to the table for consumers and keep pushing what consumers can do on their platform that is relevant to their lives.