Google gets it. Microsoft does not.
There are many reasons to take this position, but the two companies' outdoor advertising in London is enough for me.
Google's ads focus on real people doing real things with the company's technology. Microsoft's...well, I'm not really sure what Microsoft's ads are supposed to do other than make people feel like they somehow are responsible for Windows.
Is that a good thing?
Here is an ad I saw in the Pimlico Tube station this morning for Google Chrome:
And here's a Microsoft ad similar to several that I saw at Victoria Station this morning:
Microsoft seems to want to be the everyman of operating systems. Google seems to want to just help people get their work and browsing done efficiently. At least, those are the messages I take from their respective advertising campaigns.
As a consumer, I know what to do with Google's message. I have no idea what to do with Microsoft's, except perhaps feel proud (or ashamed, as the case may be).
Microsoft still, while Google gets out of the way so that users can experience the Web. It's perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Google is the one growing and innovating strongly, while Microsoft keeps milking businesses first launched decades ago.