Microsoft Takes on M1 MacBook Pro in New Surface Ad

Posted on January 25, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface, Mac and macOS with 112 Comments

Microsoft not so subtly mocks the new M1-based MacBook pro in a video ad that designed to look like it was made by a typical YouTube vlogger.

“Today we have the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 and the MacBook Pro,” the video’s young host announces upfront as if introducing a non-biased product comparison instead of an advertisement.

And you can tell things are going to go off in a certain direction when the first topic discussed is touch and pen, two features that are central to Surface Pro and missing from the MacBook Pro. Well, mostly.

“Surface comes with a pen,” the host incorrectly notes: Actually, Surface Pro 7 does not come with a Surface Pen, a fact that is mentioned in tiny type in a disclaimer as he speaks. “Mac gave me this little bar,” he says, noting the MBP’s Touch Bar, “but … why can’t they just give me a whole touchscreen?”

Another Surface Pro advantage cited in the ad is its removable keyboard, while “you’re just stuck with what you got” with the Mac. But the MacBook Pro keyboard and touchpad come with the computer. With Surface Pro 7, you need to buy a Type Cover separately at an additional cost, just as with Surface Pen.

Surface Pro also has the “power to run all your apps,” where apparently the Mac does not, and “it is a much better gaming device.” I’m not sure I’d call either a gaming device of any kind other than casual, but whatever.

And then there’s the price. According to the ad, the MacBook Pro costs $1299, while the Microsoft Surface Pro, which normally costs a crossed-out $1130, can now be had for just $890 on sale. Hm. Looking at the Surface website, I can see that all Surface Pro models except for the base Core i3 model are now on sale, and so I assume the $890 quoted in the ad is the Core i5/8 GB/128 GB model, normally $899.99, but now on sale for $699.99, plus a Signature Type Cover, which is also on sale, now for $119.99. Add $63.99 for Surface Pen, and you land right at $883.97.

As the disclaimer notes in tiny type, this offer is good through January 31 on select Surface Pro 7 PCs.

Where you land on this comparison will depend on your needs and experience. But having used both of these devices, I’d honestly prefer the MacBook Pro (or the less expensive MacBook Air, which is just $999): It has a bigger display, a better keyboard and touchpad, and double the disk space. And Apple’s M1 chipset has proven to be a compatibility and performance champ for the most part. I do prefer Windows to macOS, but the Surface Pro is a bit too small and constrained for my needs.

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Comments (112)

112 responses to “Microsoft Takes on M1 MacBook Pro in New Surface Ad”

  1. rsfarris

    I feel like a better comparison is the iPad Pro with folio and Apple Pencil. They'd do better trying to compete there--full mouse support, full Windows applications, etc. The MacBook Pro has its problems, but it feels like a different category of device at this point. Maybe the Surface Book or Surface Laptop would be better there? I don't know, but this just feels like those weird Justin Long Mac commercials from the 2000s.

    • ikjadoon

      In reply to rsfarris:

      Agreed. I think Microsoft realized head-on fights, Surface Laptop 3 will actually not look too favourable in battery life, performance, and price.

      Note how this SP7 ad completely depends on a six-day sale by Microsoft. After the sale is over, the MacBook Pro seems to walk away with it, especially on storage pricing (hard to believe but true).

      Compared to SL3, Microsoft would only notch wins for touchscreens, ports, and Windows x86 compatibility. And they're shy to mention ports as they only have 1 USB-C port and 1 USB-A port, which to Microsoft's eye is apparently not good enough?

  2. dallasnorth40

    Great ad! Loved it.

    Well done, Microsoft.

    Keep it up!

  3. hrlngrv

    It must be so frustrating for MSFT that no one working for them, at least at management level, seems to have any clue how Apple can get its faithful to shell out so much money for Apple hardware but neither MSFT nor its captive OEMs can do so in anywhere near comparable numbers of units.

    If it were just about price, Macs would have died off more than a decade ago.

    If it's about ineffable Appleness, then MSFT has no hope of comprehending much less duplicating it.

    ADDED: it must be even worse that there are millions, perhaps even tens of millions willing to buy Windows and Office licenses to run the Windows version of Office on Macs, indicating that the Windows version of Office may be necessary, so Windows may be necessary, but those Mac users would otherwise want to minimize their exposure to Windows and perhaps also to all things MSFT.

    • james.h.robinson

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      It might have been frustrating with Ballmer was in charge, but Nadella has taken Microsoft on a different path.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to hrlngrv:


      The Apple MacOS current market share really supports your comments.

    • b6gd

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      I have owned both Mac's and PC's since 2007. Before that I was a Windows person only. I got my first Mac from work, because we had to support Mac customers as well as Windows customers. (SMB consultant at the time).

      When I first got my Mac, I learned it and while I thought it was fine computer/OS I was still a Windows person. And like you I thought of the die hard Mac fans as cult like, all about the "ineffable Appleness". Steve Jobs hyped it all up as well.

      Well 14 years later, and I have had an iPhone since the 3G came out an iPad since the iPad 2, two watches now, Apple TV's (3 of them?), Air Pods and Power Beats Pro, Apple Music family sub and a few Home Pods and I realize its not about "ineffable Appleness". If you add in what my wife and kids have...yikes we have a lot of Apple products.

      Most of the Apple products I have bought is because they are, for me, simply better than other products and they tend to work and work better than competing products. I have tried Android phones (ran the MDM team at nation wide bank for a time) lots of them but invariably they have shortcomings of sorts that I just do not see in the iPhone. The iPhone is not perfect but that this point there is no way I would use an Android based product. Same for tablets, smart watches and wireless headsets, for me the Apple product is better in all of those categories.

      The reason I have went things like Apple Music, Apple TV and even Home pods is that once you reach a "critical mass" of Apple products their eco system is second to none, especially if you have a family that has Apple products. So many little things just work together. iMessage on a Mac is a huge thing when everyone you know uses iMessage. Air Pods effortlessly move from iPhone, to iPad, to Mac, to Apple TV. My watch unlocks my Mac's, can answer my phone calls, texts, MFA prompts from many vendors, open my garage door.

      Microsoft's eco system is broken, lacking key pieces (phone, a true tablet) and honestly these days all of the Microsoft products I use daily (Windows 10, Teams, Office 365 etc) just seem unfinished and lack polish. Teams keeps piling on features but bugs never get fixed. Is Microsoft bringing back the Win32 OneNote or pushing forward with the UWP version??? Is Outlook going away on all platforms to be replaced with some PWA type of Outlook or is that just a rumor? Unfinished.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to b6gd:

        Microsoft's eco system is broken, lacking key pieces (phone, a true tablet)

        MSFT tried, and the market resounding replied NO! If fixing Windows/MSFT eco system requires phones running an OS with some relationship to Windows and/or MSFT, then Windows will remain broken. And if MSFT can't flog phones using a Windows-related OS, it's not going to sell any pure tablets either.

        It was bad enough in 2012 when Windows RT and Surface RT debuted to overcome the lead iOS/iPhone/iPad already had then. It'd be a quest for the God Emperor of All Fools for MSFT to try again in 2021.

        That ship has sailed, capsized, foundered, and the hull & cargo insurance has already been paid off. Nothing new on the horizon until iOS and Android both make fatal mistakes which MSFT could exploit. Don't hold your breath.

    • illuminated

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Some at MSFT may be frustrated. Apple can do anything but I cannot imagine Microsoft building their own PCs that use their own CPUs with integrated RAM and run their own OS that is not licensed to run on non-MS hardware.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to illuminated:

        MSFT established its business on a parasitical model: it sold OSes which all PC OEMs had to provide because PC buyers wanted to use the application software made for those OSes. Part of MSFT's problem is that some financial measures, profit margin to renenue, ROE, look outstanding for a nearly software-only company. Adding services hasn't changed that materially. Going into hardware in a big way would fundamentally change things.

        There's also legal issues. Windows having 85-90% of the PC OS market, 25-30% of the server OS market, and less than 10% of the OS market for all other types of computing devices is legally acceptable. Add 25% or more of the PC hardware market, and antitrust concerns become unavoidable.

        If MSFT attempts Apple's business model, MSFT would be begging to be broken up into many separate (as in completely different personnel, no financial interrelationships) companies.

        MSFT's continuing existence in its current corporate structure requires a vibrant set of OEMs selling at least 95% of the devices running MSFT OSes. Antitrust also forecloses MSFT from going toe-to-toe with Intel and AMD. Except, perhaps, for true tablets, but there's squat all chance Nadella is going to accept the risk for a US$ 10-figure investment in such hardware unless there were the prospect of US$ 11-figure or higher revenues within 5 years.

        • mog0

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          I'm genuinely confused.

          Are you are saying MS had a parasitic model because people had to buy the OS in order to use the software built on the platform they created but Apple don't have a parasitic model despite their main selling point being you get to use the software that others have built on top of their platform AND Apple take a 30% cut of all REVENUE from these 3rd party devs?

          Regardless of my opinions of the merits of the two companies, I'm just trying to understand your argument.

          It seems to me that the basic model is fundamentally the same but with the extra revenue cut in Apple's business model.

  4. markbyrn

    How sad that MSFT still pretends the Surface is competing with Mac to avoid offending it's Windows PC competitors.

  5. crp0908

    In reply to spiderman2:

    I agree with you. But Surface fanboys are almost just as annoying.

  6. derekaw

    This advert compares an Apple with a potato. It’s silly.

  7. jblank46

    LOL. Valid points about macOS and that silly touch bar but they won't dare compare it to a Surface Pro X though. Hopefully SQ3 + x64 emulation is something worth talking about.

  8. VancouverNinja

    Boom! And the Apple bubble goes Pop!

    This ad simply nailed it - too little for way too much money.

    Kudos to MS for standing up for their products. I hope we see more of this.

  9. will

    Yes and which one works on your lap for long periods of time?

    Why not compare the Surface Laptop to the MacBook and the iPad to the Surface Pro?

  10. curtisspendlove

    In reply to bkkcanuck:

    Yup. As mentioned, I’m amazed at what the Microsoft engineers pull off with regard to Windows.

    But that is the conundrum. All the cruft from legacy Windows is what slows it down, but without that there is little reason to use Windows.

    :: shrug ::

    I’m of the opinion they need two different versions of Windows. But they have tried variations of that so many times I’m not sure what the market will actually welcome.

    At this point, I’m not sure most people are even interested in a “lightweight desktop”.

    If you don’t have to do “traditionally desktop” things, then why run a desktop / laptop at all? (Again, I’m talking about casual users like my Dad, not the majority of us tech nerds that read this site.)

  11. Greg Green

    In reply to VancouverNinja:

    You’re not familiar with the apple lineup. While their top end is ridiculously priced and can be beaten by windows PCs at half the price, the bottom end is reasonably priced. Not budget by any stretch of the imagination, but reasonable.

    right now the M1 chips are running equal or better with much higher priced apple intel hardware. The apple chips are on a much steeper performance improvement slope than intel chips so as these chips progress they will be running equal to or better than similar priced windows hardware.

    im a cheapskate (and mostly a windows guy) when it comes to buying hardware but my next built pc will be the M1 iMac. Just because the chip is so damn impressive.

    • caribbeanblue

      In reply to Greg Green:

      You’re right. VancouverNinja just straight up doesn’t know how these new M1 Macs compare against premium Windows ultrabooks in the same price category. As Linus mentioned in his M1 Macbook review, the $999 Macbook Air is $200 more expensive than the 6-core AMD version of the HP Envy x360, but in return you get a stiffer chassis a more comfortable keyboard a MILES better trackpad a more color accurate screen a higher quality webcam higher quality speakers and 8 cores vs. 6 cores. I think I’d pay $200 extra for that. As for the $1299 Macbook Pro, it’s $100 more expensive than the base model Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 at promo but that base model comes with a dual core Core i3... The i7 version costs more than the M1 MBP...

  12. Greg Green

    In reply to bkkcanuck:

    I wish windows would come out with a stripped own os as a base and have other items either as purchasable packages or free downloads. This would appeal to businesses, gamers and power users.

  13. curtisspendlove

    In reply to VancouverNinja:

    You are absolutely right - the people who have been suckered into paying 50% more to Apple to receive a lesser PC. Hopefully this will help them avoid the Apple trap.


    I think the M1 is probably, literally, a better device technically speaking.

    All other factors are opinion. Your opinion is that Windows is a better OS.

    I think, again, technically speaking macOS is a superior OS (runs a better kernel, and has better performance on lesser specs).

    I’m still amazed at Microsoft’s engineers being able to make it run on all the variety of hardware out there.

    But, in that regard, Linux runs on an even broader variety of hardware, and is also arguable more technically superior to Windows.

    Preferences are fine. But when one submits preference as fact, it just sounds silly.

    Also, I’d suggest that the M1 MacBook Air is a perfectly fine comparison to a Surface Pro 7...and the Air is far more price equivalent. (So your 50% more cost argument is also flawed.)

  14. angusmatheson

    This is a good ad. Clever use of the word pro in each product to make them seem comparable. The format was also good. The problem is that the surface pro and M1 MacBook Pro aren’t really comparable. And to make it worse there are 1 to 1 comparisons that could be made. The screen size of a surface pro is most like a iPad Air. iPad Air uses pen. Can come part from keyboard. I think the iPad Air is a better “gaming” machine than the surface pro if you like casual games and neither is up to AAA games. The base model with folio cover and outrageously expensive pen goes from $599 alone to $907 total, not quite the surface pro 7 sale price but much closer. If Microsoft wanted to make a fair comparison I think the surface laptop 3 would have been the right one vs the M1 MacBook Air. And I would say they are’s about equal in the things he stated - both can play casual games. Windows has touch screen - which I personally don’t think is so useful on a clamshell. I guess the real comparison for the M1 MacBook Pro would be the surface book 2. Although in truths, I bet most people would look at a fully stocked Surface laptop 3 over surface book 2. But at least the surface book 2 has a bunch of bells and whistles that the MacBook pro doesn’t have - touch screen comes off to be a tablet, discrete graphics card in the base. But the fact there are better comparisons doesn’t matter. This ad makes a point and shows some things that the surface pro does. For some reason the best selling surface is the surface pro and not the excellent surface laptop. An ad promoting the surface pro is smart and using the more expensive MacBook Pro with its useless touch bar makes a good straw dog. Having lived though the terrible click/dancing surface ads and the dogs flying planes, this is at least a very good ad even if a little deceptive. Don Draper would be proud.

  15. Saarek

    Genuine question, because I'm really intrigued here. Why is it that many people want a touch screen on their PC's?

    I ask because reading the comments others obviously see value in it that I do not.

    For general computer tasks I can't think of anything that would be faster with a touch screen than by using a keyboard combination or my Mac's trackpad and the thought of fingerprints all over my computer screen just goes through me, I'd absolutely hate that with a passion!

    From what I can tell many like the idea of having a real computer that they can turn into a tablet, but then you just end up with a computer that's not as good as a normal computer and a tablet that's not an iPad and is therefore a bit crap. Let's face it, there is the iPad and then there is everything else when it comes to tablets.

    • spoonman

      In reply to Saarek:

      I'm kind of with you in that I don't see big value in having a touchscreen in a traditional laptop form factor. I don't see myself using a laptop in a way where my finger would be jumping between the touchpad and the screen very much. I'm sure there would be, as Paul says, surprising use cases when actually owning such a device, and a lot of people seem to really want Apple to release a MacBook with a full touch screen. So maybe there is something to that.

      I do however really enjoy the Surface Pro form factor as it allows me to have one device that meets my needs. At the office I'm connected to an external screen and a mouse and a (Apple Magic) keyboard through bluetooth, and at home I can relax on the couch and use my SP4 as a tablet browsing the web or other content consumption. The 'tablet experience' of Windows 10 gets blasted a lot, and I don't quite agree with that. Obviously iOS is the refined "true" tablet OS with a huge selection of tablet-optimized apps, but for my personal use I've found Windows 10 in tablet mode to be just fine.

    • Paul Thurrott

      The way this works is, having a touchscreen doesn't hurt you if you think you don't need it. But most are surprised that they find themselves using it alongside more traditional PC interactions. You may not "need" it, especially on a traditional laptop, but it's nice to have, and on more versatile PCs, like convertibles and tablets, it's even better.
      • chef

        In reply to paul-thurrott:

        My wife needed a new laptop a bout a year ago or so. She really wanted a touch screen because "It will make it easier to use". Fast forward a year, and the only time she remembers that it has a touch screen is when she grabs at it to tilt the display a little, and the page scrolls, or pops a window forward, or more often than not, closes the app.

        It's fun to listen to her tell me how touch screen laptops are the stupidest idea ever.

  16. 2ilent8cho

    When everyone compares their product to yours you know you have nailed it.

    I know the Surface is disliked device in our organisation, the few users who have them could not make it even through a 1 hour meeting on a full battery when they were fully charged and they were only 2 to 3 years old!. By comparison the 2013 MacBook Air's we are currently refreshing with M1 Pro's still last 3 to 4 hours on battery and have been used for at least 8 hours every day almost since 2013 so had a hammering. I will actually be sad if the Touch Bar goes, I really like it, though I know it has split users down the middle its either love or hate it.

  17. justme

    I think the Surface Pro is a great piece of kit. I'd take one every day over a MacBook Pro. This ad, however, is just so much awful. Gaming device? For what, Solitaire? Put some kind of real graphics into this thing and then come talk to me.

    Paul is correct in pointing out what most of us here already know - Microsoft isn't giving you a keyboard and pen - you are buying them at discount prices. About 5 seconds in, you are told in a 3 second tiny print disclaimer that Pen and Keyboard are sold separately, even though the implications of the ad are not that at all.

    Just so much awful.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to JustMe:

      Hey JustMe,

      Actually if you simply look at the still photo at the top of this article it clearly states the pen and keyboard are included.

      • justme

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        If you watch the ad, note the disclaimer that comes up about 5 seconds in - the pen and keyboard are sold separately (as Paul points out).

      • Paul Thurrott

        Which they're not. You have to buy them separately. The sale price noted onscreen is roughly correct for all three things together---Surface, Pen, Type Cover---but only for a few more days. Because this is a sale, not the normal pricing on any of those components.
  18. jimchamplin

    Gaming device. LOL

    I got an Acer Nitro 5 with a Ryzen 4600H and a GeForce GTX 1650 for under $700.

    So... Why can't they put a real video card in these things?

  19. jwpear

    I like the feel of the ad--we need to rekindle the rivalry--but I got a good chuckle when he mentioned it being a better gaming device. It's such a BS ad.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to jwpear:

      There are many ways to hype a feature - Apple is the master of promoting devices that are not the best in their class. Windows devices have the best PC games - you can take exception with which ones would work the best on a Surface Pro but it cannot be argued that Windows PCs are superior for their depth and types of games than MacOS PCs.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yep. Some of this is just indefensible.
  20. coolpatent

    The Surface Pro is a great device (the hinge and keyboard are its best features) but sadly it really hasn't been updated since the Surface Pro 3 form factor. It sorely needs a modern form factor with a larger display area and smaller bezels. I really want to get a new one but I won't unless and until it gets updated. The Surface Pro X is an intriguing step in that direction but is a non-starter until it has an ARM processor that's in the same class as the M1 processor. Until then, this ad is irrelevant for me.

  21. nbplopes

    Let the party begin. Intel is buying Macs for reviewers to compare with. MS is slashing prices showing the path to OEM stardom is lower margins.

    I don’t see a positive hand from a engineering stand point here. Wish I am mistaken. This is going to be an interesting two years.

    PS: I would wait a bit longer, I suspect prices will go down a tad further.

    PS: If their best engineering hand is more ports or something that it’s neither a good laptop or good tablet but anything in between ... don’t think such a hand will hold for long.

  22. djross95

    This ad is a complete embarrassment, and MS should be ashamed for running it. There's almost nothing about it that's honest, aside from the fact that the Surface has a touch screen. They should fire their ad agency and start over.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I feel like there are benefits one could focus on here that would be more honest. Even the pricing thing is tough. Yeah, it's cheaper now... because it's temporarily on sale. And it's not cheaper than a MacBook Air, which is the more obvious comparison.
    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to djross95:


      That's the most defensive post yet. Look the Surface Pro is the better option - simply a better offering at a better price.

      • Paul Thurrott

        Maybe instead of believing in absolutes, we can simply believe that one is the better option for some and the other for others. Looking at sales/marketshare, however, we can easily see that Apple is one of the world's biggest makers of personal computers and Microsoft is not.
        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Yes Paul I am not disputing that. What I am debating is the constant drone of MacOS superiority and hardware superiority of these devices. How dare Microsoft claim their product is better? In the marketing of products Microsoft has every right to compare itself against Mac and their perceived advantages just like Apple has done in the past. In my opinion Microsoft has not done enough of calling out the differences and they should continue to do so.

          • Paul Thurrott

            There's no problem with Microsoft advertising its products. And a head-to-head comparison can be either brave, if done honestly, or cowardly. In this case, the correct machine to compare it to is the MacBook Air that costs $999. That price is less expensive than the Surface usually. And it's much less expensive than the MBP used in the ad. And that MacBook Air has some important benefits over Surface Pro. That Apple has made untruthful ads in the past, as it did with Mac vs. PC, doesn't excuse Microsoft doing it now.
    • james.h.robinson

      In reply to djross95:

      What's "dishonest" about it?

      • djross95

        In reply to james.h.robinson: Read the other comments. It's only cheaper because it's temporarily on sale, the keyboard and pen are NOT included, it's not a gaming machine at all, and they're comparing it to the wrong Mac. Aside from those things, it's a dandy ad. /s

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to djross95:

          Pen and Keyboard are included in the special pricing - just look at the photo at the top of this article it states it clearly on the bottom of the photo.

          The Surface Pro is less expensive even without the deal and that takes into account the cost of the pen and keyboard included, with a full touchscreen.

          It is a Windows PC and it can play Windows games there is nothing wrong with Microsoft pointing that out.

  23. waethorn

    Absolutely no kid is asking for a Surface Pro.

    "Surface Pro also has the “power to run all your apps”

    Except iOS apps. You know, the original "apps", because Apple was the one to coin that term. The new Macs get that part right.

    • james.h.robinson

      In reply to Waethorn:

      You think Apple was the first one to coin the term "apps?" Wow.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Yup that all anyone wants is to run a bunch of mobile phone apps on their PC - what a joke that is.

      • angusmatheson

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        I think letting the surface pro run Android apps might make it a much better tablet. I hear that android apps aren’t great even on android tablets, but this might give some synergy for the android tablet app ecosystem too.

        • waethorn

          In reply to Angusmatheson:

          Android tablets are dead unless you ask Samsung. At a local Costco, they only sell the cheaper A and E series Samsung Android tablets, which are also horribly underpowered and use out-of-date Android versions that aren't getting upgrades. The S series can't be found anywhere. As such, most ISV's aren't making their software for tablet form factors. Convertible Chromebooks hasn't seemed to fix that situation either.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to Waethorn:

            Android owns the single-purpose tablet market. Do you believe the tablets on the back of airline seats on some airlines are iPads? How much of a market is that? Enough for IDC to show iPads/iOS to account for less than 30% of 2020 tablet shipments (thru 3rd quarter). Does Apple get the lion's share of tablet profits? Probably.

            • curtisspendlove

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              Does Apple get the lion's share of tablet profits? Probably.

              And that is all Apple cares about. Profit. They don’t care that they aren’t (and I’m willing to bet they never want to be) the top seller of anything.

              That would just feed fuel into the anti-competition fire.

              • hrlngrv

                In reply to curtisspendlove:

                And that is all Apple cares about. Profit.

                As someone who believes in the inherent correctness of classical microeconomics, no business should prioritize anything else subject only to the constraint of adhering to all laws to which they're subject.

                Who cares about unit sales when doubling such would reduce aggregate profitability? Does Ferrari care they sell fewer cars than Toyota?

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Some Mac buyers/users do, in fact, buy and use Windows and the Windows version of Office. Why would they then buy Macs rather than PCs? Perhaps because they've drunk the Cupertino Kool-Aid. Or perhaps because the Windows version of Office is necessary, but that's the ONLY piece of Windows software which is necessary for them, and otherwise they want as little to do with Windows as possible.

        That said, I agree that apps ain't for me, probably not for most PC users, but there are a lot of people who do seem to want to use iPhone/iPad apps, and the lingering, pathetic existence of the MSFT Store shows that even MSFT (though perhaps not all its fans) understands that such software is appealing even if MSFT and its developer partners have no clue how to make such apps appealing under Windows.

        • b6gd

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Nobody I know with a Mac uses boot camp or a Windows VM any more. 5 years ago maybe, but not anymore.

          Apple apparently knows this since the M1 no longer support’s these options.

          Yes some tech types are ruining WOA with VM software but who cares? No one wants a Surface X and WOA let alone a emulated version of that setup.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to b6gd:

            Frequent Excel user-to-user support forums as I do. Still quite a few more advanced Excel users using the Windows version of Excel on Macs. So Office. So Windows. Why? Check out the travesty of a VBA IDE MSFT inflicts on the Mac version, no Power BI, no Power Query, other absent features in the Mac version.

            OTOH, I agree that without Excel or Access from Office, there's far less need for most people to use Windows. Disclaimer: I use no Adobe software; I have no familiarity with anything from Adobe other than Acrobat (full and Reader). A great deal of older, 3rd party Win32 software runs acceptably under wine under Linux.

            Thus, from my perspective, Office, more specifically, Excel, is the main reason to use Windows. Very little else doesn't have macOS equivalents (as opposed to less functional software bearing the same name) or run under wine.

          • waethorn

            In reply to b6gd:

            I use Parallels Desktop on the last Intel MacBook Air with Windows 10, mostly just for a couple tools and Quick Assist. I could do fine with an ARM64 version on the new edition of Parallels Desktop coming for ARM-based Mac's, but it's not available yet. If that doesn't work out, I would buy a cheap micro-desktop to run Windows on and just RDP into it. I think later this year I might replace the MacBook Air with an ARM iMac since I mostly work from a desk and the 13" screen is a bit small. I just recently ordered a new iPad (not Air or Pro) with a trade-in from an Air 2 from a few years back that someone I know didn't want. I'll end up replacing mobile tasks from the MacBook with that unit because all of the things I do on the MacBook are available as iOS apps too.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to hrlngrv:

          Only devs or people coding that talk in the same way you do about the store. Users could care less about the store.

      • ikjadoon

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        That's hilarious as a significant chunk of Windows 10 development effort was used (and mostly wasted) to bring Android apps to Windows 10. Looks like Microsoft & Apple both agree on that!

        Project Astoria (dead), Project Astoria redux (dying?), etc. Windows & Android are still integrating some years behind MacOS & iOS/iPadOS, unfortunately.

        Clearly, Microsoft is very interested in bringing a "bunch of mobile phone apps on their PC."

      • bhofer

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        I seem to remember people wondering who would want to run phone apps on the iPad back in the day...and look how popular they have become now. If done right, a developer can write a single app to run on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac. (It's not just a scaled up app to fit the screen.) That is very attractive to developers who normally may not have developed for the Mac. Consumers benefit as well since they can purchase the app once and use it on all their devices.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to bhofer:

          Yes apps on the ipad as they were not available. Now how many iPads gather dust....

          Devs are losing huge amounts of revenue already by not developing on the platform with 85% of the market. Dumb actually.

          • curtisspendlove

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            Devs are losing huge amounts of revenue already by not developing on the platform with 85% of the market. Dumb actually.

            Market share doesn’t correspond to app sales. I’m curious as to which platform you’re referring to by 85%.

            I’m assuming you mean Windows. But making money selling software in Windows pretty much doesn’t work in the modern world.

            If you are a business, with a vertical market W32 app, sure. But those are usually pretty big apps and difficult for any random small team of peeps to bring to market and profit from.

            If you’re talking Android, it’s well-known that iOS users spend considerably more on average than Android users.

            But ultimately it is hard making a living solely from any consumer-facing software nowadays (one main reason you see all the apps and services moving to subscriptions “monthly-recurring revenue”.

            • Paul Thurrott

              Right. This where Apple kills Microsoft, in engagement. The Windows 10 user base is big, but it's not actively seeking new apps and content all the time like iOS users. It's just a different kind of thing. (I suspect the Mac user base is more similar to Windows than iOS in that way as well.)
              • curtisspendlove

                In reply to paul-thurrott:

                (I suspect the Mac user base is more similar to Windows than iOS in that way as well.)

                The Mac user base is somewhere in between, but yes it’s far closer to the Windows side of the spectrum than the iOS side.

                A few small teams have done a pretty good job being successful with some decent app suites. Most Mac consumer -level users are far more willing to buy apps than most Windows users.

                But these companies are also finding it harder. And more and more are moving toward subscriptions.

                (I’m pretty sure this is a huge factor in blurring the lines between the iOS and Mac ecosystems.)

                As a whole, consumers are just less and less likely, as time marches on, to pay for software.

                Business, of course, is a different story. And I’ve heard a lot of folks in the Linux community suggesting that the proverbial “Year of the Linux Desktop” is nigh-er than ever.

                But again, Linux is not without cost as soon as the deployment isn’t “in a household”. The costs of retraining users, not having a clear path to complain when things aren’t working right, etc mount up pretty quickly.

                I think Microsoft still has a pretty huge leg up in that competition. And I don’t think Mac will ever make that headway. (I’d think Linux is a much more likely option than Macs to replace Windows on business desktops.)

          • Paul Thurrott

            Now you believe that iPads are "gathering dust"? Come on.
          • hrlngrv

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            Devs are losing huge amounts of revenue already by not developing on the platform with 85% of the market. Dumb actually.


            After MSFT itself, Adobe, Oracle, Siemens, SAP, IBM, and perhaps the SAS Institute, how many Windows ISVs remain who have revenues from either Win32 software or UWP Store apps generating US$100 million annually? With the apocryphal 1.5 billion PC users in the world, shouldn't there be more than 10 such companies worldwide?

            Are there tens of millions of home PC users just dying to pay US$49.50 for commercial software to replace freeware and open source software?

      • waethorn

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Jokes on you: a kid would rather have a Mac if they can use their iOS apps and games on it over a Windows PC with integrated video that can only play the same class of games, but far fewer of them considering how weak the Windows Store is.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Waethorn:

          Lol! The world of PC gaming is absolutely not about iOS games.

          • Greg Green

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            No, but the world of gaming revenue is about mobile. NewZoo says 2020 gaming, as of Nov 2020, was

            49% mobile, $86b, up 25% yoy, ($75b smartphone, $11b tablet)

            29% console, $51b, up 21%

            22% pc, $37b, up 7%.

            if 10% of smartphone gaming revenue is iPhone and 90% of tablet gaming revenue is iPad then iOS gaming revenue is half of pc gaming revenue, but twice as big as Surface revenue.

            If xbox gaming revenue is a third of console revenue then iOS gaming revenue equals Xbox gaming revenue.

            Since apple users tend to spend 4x on apps than android users these iOS numbers are probably underestimates. iOS gaming is big.

    • basic sandbox

      In reply to Waethorn:

      Today's kids don't care about PC or Mac apps. Most kids do their work using the browser. Today's kids mostly game with consoles. The kids I talk to don't care about PC vs. Mac.

      Kids do want iPhones though.

    • ebockelman

      In reply to Waethorn:

      I wish the M1 Macs got running iOS apps right. They don't. I'm sure they will get there, but right now it's a bit of a mess.

  24. prebengh

    Apparently they didn’t bother to use the Macbook Pro M1 with a separate ESC key

  25. JerryH

    I saw the ad just yesterday and thought - wow, as disingenuous as those "I'm a PC", "I'm a Mac" ads from several years back. For example, no mention of "with this stupid kickstand thing, if you use it on your lap it will fall off fairly often". Like you, I thought "gaming device?" Yeah, sure it is. Just another marketing thing - just like all other companies ads it is full of half-truths and lies.

  26. crunchyfrog

    The Surface line is good but the M1 MacBook Pro can literally run circles around the Surface Pro with far better battery life. Who is this ad even for, what demographic are they after?

    • james.h.robinson

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      People who need Windows compatibility?

      • james.h.robinson

        In reply to james.h.robinson:

        The majority of people who work for enterprises? The people who need "real" MS Excel with Power Query? The people who use Power BI? The people who use engineering software like SolidWorks or chemistry software? Should I continue?

        • Jeffsters

          In reply to james.h.robinson:

          Sorry, you obviously don’t work in a real “enterprise” environment. Those who use the above are a VERY VERY small segment of enterprise users. VERY VERY small. -sign me Senior Director of Technology at a Fortune 5

      • ikjadoon

        In reply to james.h.robinson:

        That's the issue. Who is this ad targeting? You replied, people who need Windows compatibility."

        Why would people who need Windows compatibility....look at a comparison between an M1 MacBook Pro and a Surface Pro 7? Bootcamp is dead, virtualization is WoA-only, etc. They're obviously going to have to buy the Surface Pro 7, no matter what.

        This ad is aimless and meaningless. Microsoft really does not understand its core markets: consumers don't love the idea of Windows on tablet form factors. Laptops outsell these tablets every single day and there's been next to zero uptake by the industry for tablet vs tablet competition.

      • crunchyfrog

        In reply to james.h.robinson: Well...yes. Those users are already looking at Windows devices. This ad seems to want to pull people away from Mac. Why not just have a competent ad announcing how great Surface Pro is and it's now on sale?

        • waethorn

          In reply to crunchyfrog:

          No kid will pick a Surface Pro for gaming. If they pick a MacBook, it's probably because they've seen the media capabilities that come out of the box and want to use it to make YouTube videos or other crap because other YouTubers use them.

          This is, once again, an example of Microsoft's marketing division being clueless about their target audience.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to crunchyfrog:

          Cause Apple is telling consumers with how amazing their PCs are when in fact you are simply getting a lot less for a heck of a lot more. It does need to be called out - the biggest point is the price difference and versatility that the Pro brings to a user.

        • james.h.robinson

          In reply to crunchyfrog:

          Because MS does not want to offend its OEM partners.

    • djross95

      In reply to crunchyfrog: People without a brain, apparently.

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to djross95:

        People without a brain, apparently.

        Which describes anyone who buys hardware based on brand rather than capabilities for price.

      • waethorn

        In reply to VancouverNinja:

        Wow. You're obviously not reading benchmarks.

        • Paul Thurrott

          To be fair, no one should be relying on benchmarks, ever.
          • waethorn

            In reply to paul-thurrott:

            If you're making YouTube videos and running mobile apps, the M1 slaughters a Core i3 and even Core i5 systems (both in fanless and active-cooled scenarios) for tasks like rendering video in iMovie or Final Cut Pro. You can capture high-resolution video from either the screen, a webcam, or an HDMI capture device with just the QuickTime Player on a Mac and take it into iMovie, which comes with it. Green-screen support is already included. Plus, the M1 can still run a huge swath of macOS software at faster speeds than the previous Intel Macs. You can't run Android apps at full speed on Windows because the only option you have is run under a janky emulation environment like Bluestacks, and the Windows Store sucks for mobile apps and games. A Core i3 with integrated graphics won't even run a majority of triple-A titles on the Windows Store, and the rest of the games and software sucks. I would say that Windows on ARM would be a disappointment, but it's entirely expected.

        • VancouverNinja

          In reply to Waethorn:

          It doesn't matter which feature is the fastest on an Apple PC. It is a MacOS machine. That is the first major problem, and the biggest, next is the cost for the equipment - not worth it for a majority of users. Also the lack of touchscreen is beyond unreasonable today - talk about keeping users in the 90's so they can sell another product line (iPads). They are not in the same league as a Surface offering.

          • Paul Thurrott

            That's true, they're not in the same league at all. As a business, the Mac is over 5x as big as Surface from a revenue perspective. And unlike Surface, the Mac is one of the best-selling personal computer brands in the world.
          • angusmatheson

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            If you asked me with a Windows machine if I could spend $100 on a touch screen or $100 on more RAM I’d take that. Or a $100 doe better CPU. Or a $100 for bigger or faster SSD. Touch screens add to the price of the PC, and for a clamshell I really don’t think they are worth the added cost. Basically any other use of that money improves day to day use of a clamp shell laptop more.

          • hrlngrv

            In reply to VancouverNinja:

            not worth it for a majority of users

            Indeed, which is why Mac sales make up less than 5% of the microcomputer market in terms of units sold.

            Yet somehow MSFT and MSFT fans are absolutely fixated on Macs. Profit envy?

            • VancouverNinja

              In reply to hrlngrv:

              Not at all. Who cares about how much they make - its pushing the myth of a better OS, radically overcharging to get the lesser OS, purposefully limiting their over priced hardware to get their customers to buy other devices. Apple's PC market share decline has come about due to the limitations of their offerings based on their retail pricing. M1 chip means nothing to a user at all; full desktop apps are in decline from this ignorance and it is not good overall.

        • hrlngrv

          In reply to Waethorn:

          You're obviously not reading benchmarks.

          Why abandon comfy bubbles of alternative facts?

  27. crunchyfrog

    Microsoft's marketing department reminds me of the kids on the playground that can't think of anything intelligent to say so they just call each other, 'stupid'. Apple, of course can and will completely ignore these feints and will continue to outsell Surface by multiples.

    This ad is so disingenuous and just plain deceptive, it really should be pulled and forgotten.

    • VancouverNinja

      In reply to crunchyfrog:

      Oh Deceptive. That's an interesting take - it is simply stating the facts. You shouldn't be upset when the Apple myth is blown apart by reality. Hucking a PC with MacOS and no touchscreen for $1300 is gross.

  28. Chris_Kez

    In keeping with the spirit of the ad, I’ll borrow a phrase from the kids... cringe.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      Got a problem with the words the middle-aged make teen-to-20-something actors say?

      MSFT's spin on GM's This is not your father's Oldsmobile ad campaign. Likely to work every bit as well.

  29. jonahemery

    The design of Surface Pro 7 is so dated. I recently bought one and the bezels were too large, the screen too small. I'm totally willing to have a thicker Surface Pro that looks like the X.