Perhaps it was the sight of Justin Long and John Hodgman, dragging their jokes behind them, that made Microsoft feel a little bolder.
Yes, now that the "Get a Mac" campaign seems to have been retired by Apple, Microsoft has launched a touching attempt to reverse some of Apple's sweet and amusing put-downs.
Microsoft's new creation is a site called "PC versus Mac". Yet if you're looking for a joke or two as you weigh up your options, you will have to search very, very hard. There are no images of bespectacled gray-bearded men in loose Levi's. There are no stray comments about antennas or fanboys.
The site is a very anodyne affair. Garlanded with an image of a presumably perplexed woman who is, perhaps, worrying whether she is cool enough to buy a Mac, it offers straight comparisons of facts and entirely unbiased opinions.
You might not have been aware, but "Macs might spoil your fun." Not because they cost so much that you won't be able to afford a restaurant dinner for the next six months, but because, the site says, "there are some things you simply can't do out of the box with a Mac like watch, pause, rewind, and record TV like a DVR."
Macs are just dull, it seems. "You can't get a Mac that ships with a Blu-ray player, TV tuner, Memory Stick reader, or built-in 3G wireless. You can with PCs running Windows 7." And just try connecting your Mac with an Xbox 360. That's a lot more difficult than connecting Naomi Campbell to a blood diamond.
The site goes on to offer other areas in which Macs are allegedly inferior: simplicity, working hard, sharing, compatibility ("Macs might not like your PC stuff." Really? Why would that be?) and choice.
It's a most edifying presentation. Or it would be if the site was designed to be slightly more engaging than a leaflet advertising a local beauty parlor that came through my Mom's letter box in 1981.
Microsoft took Apple's criticism on the chin and in many areas below that for a very long time. Many PC lovers wished that the company would have fought back. However, now that it does, one does get the impression that this is like a mouse sticking its nose out of a very small hole, still fearing there are large feral cats nearby.
Some might find humor in the site's suggestion that one of the major differences between Macs and PCs is that "Macs can take time to learn." But this dry presentation might impress those of a nerdy bent rather more than the general public.
They're emotional, you see. They prefer laughter. Or at least a love story.