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Microsoft's new ads: Buy our Apple-like family

For the first time, Microsoft is using TV ads to get people to buy into a whole Microsoft ecosystem. Where might the company have got that idea?

Microsoft isn't half as bad as it sometimes makes itself out to be.

Within its many bosoms there hide fine, even innovative, products. It's just that somehow, some of those products--like Xbox and Kinect--have been kept a little separate. So that you don't think they're from the big, bad wolfish Microsoft.

Now, the wolf wants you to believe that he really is Red Riding Hood. He really is a cute little pet for all the family to pet and play with. And he has so many fangs to his teeth. You know, like Apple. Microsoft really does have an ecosystem. In some ways, it's even more far-reaching than Apple's. It's just that Microsoft has never made its ecosystem so friendly.

Hark, then, new ads from Microsoft that try to sell you on using the whole Microsoft ecosystem. All in one evening, preferably.

In the first ad, which launched last night, there's a dad making himself look like he's totally forgotten the mortgage is under water while he's enjoying Dance Central 2 on an Xbox 360/Kinect combo.

Before you know it, film of his performance wafts to a fine Windows PC, where, thanks to Microsoft's Windows Movie Maker (I didn't know there was one), it wafts onto the Web and completes the embarrassment--for the Dad, not for Microsoft.

"It's a great time to be a family," declares the ad. It most certainly is. Indeed, more and more young people are moving back in with their parents because, well, they don't have things like money to buy the latest Xbox 360 and Kinect.

Yes, Occupy Home Street is apparently gaining momentum.

The second ad in this new Family series offers an altogether more charming piece of casting. A lovely nerdy boy with glasses tries to explain to his parents why the family should have a dog. Because he is a lovely nerdy boy, he gets out his Windows PC and makes a PowerPoint presentation.

This is modern family life. Although, as I recall, on Modern Family daddy coveted an iPad.

Microsoft continues its valiant (if highly belated) attempt to inculcate itself into human emotive systems. These ads are pleasant, noble efforts. Microsoft ought to have more pride in its whole, wide-ranging collection of artifacts.

The thing with the concept of family, though, is that it's getting a little outdated. For I am told by demographers that a mere 22 percent of U.S. households are headed by married couples with children younger than 18.

I blame technology myself.