Microsoft targets Apple MacBook Air in new ads

Microsoft says its Surface Pro 3 is a better option for people who want a laptop replacement and the freedom to go mobile.

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Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 Sarah Tew/CNET

Microsoft has seemingly decided that the best way to take on Apple is to go straight at the iPad maker.

In a new set of ads released this weekend, Microsoft compared its Surface Pro 3 and to Apple's MacBook Air, claiming its tablet goes above and beyond what customers can expect from Apple's slim laptop.

The main thrust of the commercials centers on power. The devices come with similar specs, but Microsoft believes the addition of a touchscreen in its Surface is enough to make the tablet a better value than the MacBook Air. Microsoft notes in one of the commercials, the Surface tablet "runs Office, full Adobe Photoshop and it's got a touchscreen."

Microsoft has been taking the fight to Apple over the last several weeks. Before launching ads against the MacBook Air, Microsoft compared its Cortana virtual personal assistant to Apple's Siri. In a video spot last month, Microsoft showed Cortana on a Lumia 635 able to perform more tasks than Siri on an iPhone 5S. Based on this latest group of ads, Microsoft's marketing machine must believe that the best way to get attention is to take on Apple head on -- a strategy few companies take.

Regardless of what company Microsoft decides to compete with, the Redmond, Wash.- based software giant has made clear that it believes the Surface Pro 3 is the perfect bridge between tablets and laptops. While the device starts at $799, the highest-end option goes for $1,949. That model comes with an Intel Core i7, a 12-inch 2,160x1,440-pixel resolution display, and 512GB of onboard storage.

When customers head to the Microsoft Store to check out the Surface Pro 3, they will see a chart that compares the "Surface Pro 3 vs. MacBook Air." Microsoft argues the Surface Pro 3 is "substantially thinner and lighter" than the MacBook Air and touts the Surface's touchscreen and detachable keyboard. It's worth noting, the MacBook Air -- which starts at an 11-inch display -- comes in at $899 and tops out at $1,199. Microsoft is right in saying the MacBook Air's specs don't quite match the Surface Pro 3's higher-end options, but there is a major price difference to contend with.

Microsoft is in the middle of a cultural rebirth where its CEO Satya Nadella wants to put mobile and the cloud first. Part of that strategy is to pitch mobile devices like the Surface as laptop replacements. It's still too soon to determine how that strategy might work.

CNET has contacted both Apple and Microsoft for comment. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via AppleInsider)

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