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Microsoft goes Moneyball to pummel iPad yet again

In its latest anti-iPad ad, Microsoft gives us two baseball scouts. One can multitask on his tablet. The other has an iPad.

Brand symbolism at work. Microsoft/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I had always imagined that most baseball scouts were wizened veterans who had seen it all.

I had also imagined they would rather use a handkerchief than a tablet. Perhaps I've watched too many baseball movies.

Microsoft, on the other hand, would have you believe that modern scouts are all clutching their tablets to simultaneously talk to their bosses and view players' stats.

In its latest pitch to suggest that the iPad is the Houston Astros, Redmond offers two baseball scouts desperate for good pitching.

They are both in deep, tablet-based conversation with their general managers. Only one, though, has a Windows tablet. So only one can look up the pitcher's stats and stare at the boss's two disbelieving eyes.

You know how this one ends. The iPad strikes out.

I will leave others to decide just how realistic this scenario might be. I prefer to focus on the fascinating casting.

In the first ads of this series, Microsoft used Siri to insert its saber.

Now here are two men who represent each brand.

Microsoft man is well fed, tall, and is happy to wear some color in his outfit. He's middle-aged but still sharp.

Apple man, on the other hand, is something of a short schlub. He wears a dung-colored cap and a shirt that marks a fairly low-point even for, I imagine, Tommy Bahama.

Here is a man who, very probably, has little hair and a lot of problems.

What can Microsoft possibly be suggesting?

Personally, I would love to see more Windows 8 devices in the real world. The software certainly has its own distinct identity, which is more than I can say for some.

So I hope I don't deflate too many souls (and baseball fans), by offering the words of's Bob Bowman, speaking earlier this year at AllThingsD.

Walt Mossberg asked Bowman to describe the split between iOS, Android, and "other."

"There's no other. It's iOS and Android. The 'other' is less than a percentage point," he said.

More tall, well fed scouts needed.