Daniel Eran Dilger
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Why Microsoft chose Family Guy to sell Windows 7

Daniel Eran Dilger

Remember when Microsoft paid Jerry Seinfeld $10 million to lend some credibility to Bill Gates as a regular person? That was a decade after Seinfeld went off the air, after a decade of seasons that regularly featured Macs in the background. Clearly, Seinfeld as a character was not a Windows user. This explains why Microsoft went after “Family Guy” …the company is not a quick study, and clearly doesn’t watch these shows.


1 The Mad Hatter { 10.27.09 at 10:24 pm }

As I’ve said many times before. Microsoft is incompetent at marketing. They always have been. Remember the MSD butterfly bouncing around that poor kids apartment. The poor bastard wearing the custom was probably mortified.

Or how about the Windows 95 “Start me up” campaign. Yeah, the Stones, well they are a huge chunk of pop culture. The song had nothing to do with computers, and there’s no link of any sort, unlike the music used for CSI where the words “Who the hell are you” ring true when they have an unidentified body to deal with.

So Microsoft blows it again. They hire Seinfeld, who is portrayed as not using Windows, and they he and Bill Gates get into a discussion about cheap shoes. Right, where in there is the reason Windows Vista/Seven is going to be useful to us? What’s it’s value proposition?

And now they consider Family Guy. The show is funny, in a pimply faced teen sort of way. But the shows entire reason d’etre is trashing things. It would have been really funny if they trashed Windows, and everyone of the Griffin family got Macs. It could have been really funny if they trashed Macs, and the entire family got Windows PCs, but hell, who would believe that?

A long time ago Daniel wrote an article titled The Egregious Incompetence of Palm, he needs to follow it up with one titled The Egregious Incompetence of Microsoft.

2 x23 { 10.28.09 at 1:04 am }

Microsoft pulled sponsorship of the Seth MacFarlane special.


3 x23 { 10.28.09 at 1:05 am }

oh. ha. didn’t scroll down long enough to see the article where that was mentioned. my bad.

4 paolo { 10.28.09 at 3:15 am }

just to add a few “bad decision, marketing ineptitude” examples, let’s see if those XBOX ad or IE8 ad or XBOX360 have been seen everywhere, or if they are just local ads. (not to mention the Office XP one -I found that funny, though maybe inappropriate for american culture- or the Songsmith one)
NOTE: I would rate them 12+ (puking, very badly live&death dealing)

5 paolo { 10.28.09 at 3:21 am }

I forgot to say that the <a href ="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oGFogwcx-E&quot; Songsmith ad features a Mac (with stickers all over it in a bad attempt to masquerade it). Oh, come on!

6 luisd { 10.28.09 at 6:10 am }

Funny clip!

What I am really surprised about is not to have seen yet any articles from Daniel predicting Windows 7 adoption and its future. Given Dan’s past performance (that is, well informed bashing), am I correct to assume that Dan hasn’t found yet any real problems with Windows 7 future, and that its adoption rate will actually be as predicted by the pundits?

If there is a recent piece by Dan with this info, and I have missed it, please let me know.

7 kerryb { 10.28.09 at 7:26 am }

My best friend has been to the Seinfelds apartment in NY and yes he and his wife use Macs.

I wonder if the “Windows” 7 pitch from the Family Guy special will ever be leaked, I would love to see it.

8 The Mad Hatter { 10.28.09 at 7:30 am }


When was Windows 7 released? OK, now that gives Daniel 5 days to get a copy, try it, and write an article. Think a little.

And of course there’s the question of does he need to? Windows Seven is Vista, with some modifications to make the more objectionable issues (UAC) less obtrusive. We already know it will sell. MIcrosoft will force the OEMS to install it whether they want to or not.

Did you know about DELL OS? Dell (and the other computer OEMS) have been watching Apple, the only OEM that doesn’t use Windows, and they are jealous. But Microsoft has a stranglehold on them. Still Dell, and the others, are working on their own operating systems. They’ve seen how easy it is to through together a Linux or BSD distro. A lot of them are put together by teams of 2 or 3 people, and are practically works of art (a href=”http://moonos.co.cc”>Moon OS for example.

Don’t you think a major OEM with greater resources could match this? Or buy the Distro. Some of them are put out by companies like Red Hat used to be (small), and could be bought. Or even better yet, sign a contract with the team building the distro. You pay their wages for X number of years, they do your hardware testing, and build you a custom drop in solution. And if they happen to live in Turkey, or some place like that, the costs are further reduced…

Microsoft is aware of this. And quite frankly they are scared shitless by the concept. They know that they don’t deliver any real value to the end user, or to the computer OEMS. They only hope that they have is that the computer OEMS don’t realize how bad things have gotten, and dump them.

9 luisd { 10.28.09 at 7:32 am }

Precisely! And that is why I would like to see a piece by Daniel with all that information together. The release date of Win 7 is irrelevant, though.

Cheers mate!

10 ChuckO { 10.28.09 at 9:43 am }

I gotta say I liked the Seinfeld and Gates embedded with the family commercial. I especially liked the way Bill and Jerry were realistically unpleasant. It didn’t make me want Vista anymore but nothing would. Marketing only works with bad products you haven’t been burned by n number of times before. Marketing was never going to make up for the fact that Vista sucked and on top of that had a ridiculous versioning/price structure. It isn’t 1995 anymore nobody thinks their kids will be relegated to a lifetime of menial work if they don’t have a windows/office box in the house anymore. The opposite is probably true where a lot of people would want their kids learning Mac and doing creative stuff for a living and not stuck in a miserable job barfing out spreadsheets in excel.

11 TheMacAdvocate { 10.28.09 at 12:45 pm }

Microsoft is as adept at representing its value as it is at creating it.

12 sprockkets { 10.28.09 at 1:43 pm }
13 luisd { 10.28.09 at 2:10 pm }

Thanks sprockkets

14 sprockkets { 10.28.09 at 2:50 pm }

I just read it again, love it love it!!!

15 ChuckO { 10.28.09 at 3:53 pm }

This is my favorite part, explaining why pundit’s are wrong: “This line of reasoning, as is the case with most talking points, only makes sense if you don’t stop to think about why it makes no sense at all. “

16 sprockkets { 10.28.09 at 10:55 pm }

Acutally, another point about why he doesn’t need to start looking at win7 now because its been free for download for months. It isn’t like the RTM version is going to be earth shattering different.

Well, I bet though it has a new startup jingle and new sound effects, but that’s about it.

17 The Mad Hatter { 10.29.09 at 10:33 am }


Actually the RTM version for Vista was drastically different, so you can’t count on that. I know people who ran the Vista Pre-Release version, who upgraded to the RTM version. Apparently the RTM ran a lot slower than the Pre-Release. We’ve speculated that it’s because the Pre-Release didn’t have all the DRM turned on, but know one outside of Microsoft knows what the answer is.

18 stevelee { 10.29.09 at 10:35 pm }

I thought “Start me up was relevant to Windows. Whenever I saw that ad, I’d think of the next line, “It makes a grown man cry.”

19 sprockkets { 10.30.09 at 1:18 pm }

I agree Mad Hatter. Which was like, WTF?

20 The Mad Hatter { 11.03.09 at 11:05 am }

Microsoft admits that worms are a huge security threat (loved the gummi worms in the picture. Also it appears that Jerry Seinfeld has abandoned Windows.

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