Back in May, my crystal ball twitched with wonderment
at the idea that Microsoft might be feeling a frisson of excitement
that Apple had decided to make an ad in response to Redmond's "Laptop
I suggested that Microsoft executives would be dancing with fair glee and abandon.
It seems that, for once, my crystal ball may not have been full of Bay Area fog.
The revelation that Apple's lawyers
allegedly called Microsoft to complain about the Laptop Hunters ads has
brought much needed amusement to those who have not seen humor in quite
Indeed, Friday, AdAge began to speculate as to whether Apple might become a Microsoft Hunter and drop a little lawsuit on Redmond's charmers.
The report quoted Michael McSunas, an attorney at Chambliss, Bahner
and Stophel, who said that legally Apple "would have a leg to stand on."
McSunas continued: "If, indeed, you now can buy a MacBook for under
$1,000, then [the 'Laptop Hunters' campaign] would be inaccurate and
But grinding your teeth and filing suit are two different things.
So McSunas speculated: "Apple seems to have this sort of cool
image; I'd be surprised if they'd file suit on something like this...It
would be bad publicity and only make people talk about Microsoft being
Does having "this sort of cool image" really preclude Apple from
suing or at least doing a little more than wearing black and looking
There is precedent for ads being taken off air when the claims
within them were no longer accurate. Chrysler, McSunas pointed out,
persuaded Ford to remove an ad for its Freestar minivan in 2004.
But the truth is that in any kind of legal action, the PR is more important than the actual legal action.
If there is one area (and, of course, there are more) in which Apple
is extremely talented, it is the area of making people feel exactly
what the company wants them to feel.
If the company thought there might be PR value in publicly
upbraiding Microsoft, you can be sure that it will lay the groundwork
meticulously before delivering a nasty two-fingered jab just below the
It is one thing your lawyer calling Microsoft and telling the
company to knock it off. It is something slightly different (and a lot
more fun) when Redmond tries to make PR capital from your phone call.
Will Apple file suit? Unlikely. But will it let it all just bubble away like a virus on a cheap PC? Somehow, I doubt it.