Microsoft sings praises of Surface Pro 3 over MacBook Air

The software giant's latest video spot tries to spread some good cheer about its Surface Pro 3 tablet.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

YouTube/Microsoft/screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Microsoft wants you to buy a Surface Pro 3 instead of an Apple MacBook Air, and it's putting its own spin on a favorite holiday song to convince you.

Dubbed "Surface Pro 3 - Winter Wonderland," a video spot released on Sunday touts what Microsoft considers to be the tablet's most competitive features in a takeoff on the holiday classic "Winter Wonderland." The song definitely won't win a Grammy for best performance and may strike a lot of people as cheesy, so be forewarned before you watch the spot.

Microsoft clearly sees Apple's MacBook Air as a key rival to its Surface tablet. In the video ad, Microsoft plays up several features of the Surface Pro 3 , including its power, its pen-writing prowess, its kickstand, its touchscreen, its ability to function with or without a keyboard and its USB port. The spot ends with the tagline: "The tablet that can replace your laptop."

This isn't the first time Microsoft has challenged the MacBook Air in an ad. In August, Microsoft pitted the Surface against the MacBook Air in a series of three spots -- one comparing their key features, another touting the Surface's touchscreen and a third playing up the power of the Surface.

The crux of the ad is that Microsoft sees its Surface Pro 3 as a more versatile device than a MacBook Air as it can double as both a tablet and a laptop. Many people seem to already be buying into that message. For its first quarter, which ended September 30, Microsoft said that the new tablet helped boost overall Surface sales to $908 million, up 127 percent from the same quarter last year.

But the MacBook Air is no slouch in sales either.

In the wake of a still sluggish PC market, Apple continues to score well with its Mac lineup. Reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter results on October 20, Apple revealed that its Mac unit outshined the iPad business as the company's second largest moneymaker behind the iPhone. The company saw particular strength in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, thanks to growth in emerging markets and "great demand" during the back-to-school season, said Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri in October.

Will the new ad persuade potential MacBook buyers to opt for a Surface Pro 3?

Consumers who want a touchscreen device that can double as a laptop and tablet may be swayed. But the Surface runs Windows 8, which may be a turnoff for some. Hardcore Apple fans are unlikely to take the bait. Price itself likely won't play a major role as the Surface Pro 3 starts at $799, while the MacBook Air starts at $899.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.