Microsoft's charm offensive is actually working (a little)

Technically Incorrect: Four new ads from Microsoft feature Cortana and are human and amusing. Is this one more step toward a new, more-likable Microsoft?

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Who is this hairy man in her kitchen? Microsoft/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Redemption moves us more than mere success.

The knowledge that once someone wasn't too likable and now has worked their way beneath our pores is uplifting and glorious.

It's something Microsoft seems to be working hard at.

Ever since Satya Nadella became CEO, the company's rather chilly, defensive countenance has vanished. In its place has been a peculiar serenity and a startling willingness to acknowledge others.

Suddenly, Microsoft thought nothing of featuring MacBooks on its Facebook page. Suddenly, ads that told people they'd be college failures if they used an iPad dissipated into the ether.

The new Microsoft not only wants to play with others, it wants to amuse others too.

The tech giant has just released some new ads for Lumia. The star is Cortana. And, though the ads are by no means revolutionary, they just might raise a chuckle or two. This would be known as progress.

The idea behind the campaign is simple. If you don't let Cortana remind you of the things you need to do, you might just make a mess.

In one, a woman arrives home to find a strange, hairy man in the kitchen. This is not her husband. However, it's her husband's fault. If only he'd told Cortana to remind his wife that he'd let the plumber in.

In another, startup employees are doing what startup employees normally do: behave like 3-year-olds and not work.

Suddenly men in suits come by. Oh, if only someone had told Cortana to remind them that those myopic, grasping people known as investors were in town.

A third features a children's birthday party. Dad forgot to get a cake and tries to get away with a ham. Yes, a ham.

The last features a local weather man whose timekeeping might be less accurate than even his weather forecasts.

Not for a second am I suggesting that these are the greatest ads ever made. But here's Microsoft embracing a touch of wit and humanity, as well as a refreshing simplicity.

It's like Rob Lowe. I used to think he had obnoxious tendencies. Now he seems quite likable and funny (save in those DirectTV ads).



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