An iPod for Dorks?

5:45 PM -- The news that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) plans to offer a wireless digital music and video player to compete with the iPod reminds me of those Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) commercials in which the Macintosh and the PC are personified as a hipster and a nerd, respectively.

Madison Ave. critic Seth Stevenson, of Slate, found these ads (directed by Junebug director Phil Morrison and starring, as the PC-dork, John Hodgman, a contributor to The Daily Show and This American Life) brilliantly executed but ineffective, because they preach to the choir. If you already think Macs are cooler than PCs, you've probably already bought a Mac. If you don't, the ads won't make you go out and buy one. At least that's Stevenson's reasoning.

Personally I find the ads mildly entertaining in a hipper-than-thou kinda way (technologically ambidextrous, I use a Mac at home and a PC at the office). To be sure, they're aimed at a broad target, like the parody "If MS Designed the iPod Package" video (reportedly produced by Microsofties, BTW). But still, if I'm Steve Jobs I don't think I'm quaking in my boots over the new MS entertainment device -- even one that offers wireless downloads. Something tells me that Redmond will find a way to screw this one up.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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