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Microsoft, tired of bashing Apple, now says it's reinvented the laptop

Technically Incorrect: Is the Surface a tablet or a laptop or both? Microsoft finally decides in a new ad. Well, perhaps.

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

It's got a kickstand. Therefore it's a laptop. Microsoft/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

There comes a time in life when you finally decide who you really are.

For Microsoft's Surface, this has been a long time coming.

When it was launched, it was said to be "a movement." This didn't move people. One of the less dextrous ads ever created by human hands and minds certainly didn't help.

There followed a phase in which Microsoft decided to compare the Surface to the iPad. The Surface was, allegedly, for "real work."

But then it also denigrated the MacBook Air in Surface spots. So what is the Surface? A tablet that thinks it's a laptop? A tabtop?

Finally, I can reveal that the Surface Pro 3 is definitely, most definitely, a laptop.

I know this because Redmond has just released a new ad that claims it has reinvented the laptop. Indeed, it begins with the words: "How do you reinvent the laptop?"

Apparently, by having an adjustable kickstand. And running full Office. Pretty colors help too. These are all things you expect from a reinvented laptop. Oh, and then there's the pen. The pen screams laptop. Reinvented laptop, that is.

So it's a laptop. Now we know. And just as we do, some words appear, near the end of the ad: "The tablet that can replace your laptop."

Oh, it's a tablet.

It's been hard for Microsoft to establish the Surface in people's minds. That doesn't mean it's a bad product. It simply hasn't made the sort of emotional connection that a new product needs.

Microsoft has, wisely, spent a lot of money in order to present Surface through the populist medium of NFL broadcasts. But even there, the announcers began referring to it as ."

Undeterred, Microsoft has educated the NFL announcers and made sure that the word "Surface" is seen more clearly. You can also see golf announcers with the devices parked on their desks and the word "Surface" facing camera.

This ad, while deciding to stop with the Apple-bashing, is unlikely to help too much. It's prosaic. It doesn't establish an emotional connection -- one that compels people to want and be seen with a certain product.

The Surface, whether it's a tablet, a laptop or both, is a genuinely different product. What so far has not accompanied it is genuinely different advertising.