Microsoft's new message: PCs are cheaper

Steve Ballmer commented last week that Apple could have a harder time charging a premium for its computers in the current economic climate. He stated, "Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."

Microsoft seems to be trying to drive that point home with its latest ad, which shows a woman named Lauren shopping for a sub-$1,000, 17" laptop. After fruitlessly visiting the Apple store, Lauren ends up at Best Buy, where she settles on a $700 HP system that appears to meet her requirements. Here's the video in full:

<br/><a href="" _fcksavedurl="" target="_new" title="Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion">Video: Laptop Hunters $1000 – Lauren Gets an HP Pavilion</a>

The ad closes with, "I'm a PC and I got just what I wanted," in a jab at Apple's ad campaign.

Microsoft has a point, of course. Best Buy offers a 17" HP Pavilion dv7 with a 2.1GHz AMD Turion X2 processor, 4GB of RAM, Radeon HD 3200 integrated graphics, and Vista Home Premium x64 for only $699.99. By contrast, Apple's cheapest 17" laptop costs $2,799. The two systems have little in common beside the form factor, though: the MacBook has faster graphics, a faster processor, much longer rated battery life, a higher-resolution display, and a thinner enclosure. (Thanks to DailyTech for the link.)

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