09 June 2000

Just one day after the controversial ruling to divide the software giant in two, Microsoft is running new advertising to put its case direct to the public. A print ad runs today, June 9, and a TV spot debuts two days hence.

The newspaper ad appears in The New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Seattle Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times.

It takes the form of an open letter from Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, and president-CEO Steve Ballmer.

"It's important for people to understand that this week's ruling is not the final word in the lawsuit,” says the letter. “We are confident that the appellate courts will affirm that Microsoft's business practices and efforts to build innovative software--mostly notably our efforts to improve the Windows operating system so it works well with the Internet--have been good for consumers and thus entirely lawful."

The letter also implies that the court's ruling involved procedural issues that denied Microsoft a "fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the government's constantly shifting case." Nor did the ruling reflect the realities of the marketplace or the software industry, Microsoft claimed. Its appeal would address these issues.

The TV commercial, titled Vision, makes no reference too the anti-trust case. Instead, Gates adopts an emotive approach: "The next generation of software is being developed right here. It will understand your voice, anticipate your needs, protect your privacy and connect you to the Internet wherever you are,” he says. “It will help your children learn and give businesses new tools to succeed in the coming digital world."

Gates winds-up: "We've been writing great software for the past 25 years. It's what we're all about. It's our passion and it will always be. The best is yet to come."

The primetime spot, created by McCann-Erickson/A&L (as was the newspaper ad), will run for a week in on-network programming.

News source: Advertising Age - Daily Deadline