Mac vs. PC; Ads and Momentum
This has been a fascinating week for Apple and Microsoft . Both have been mired in a pitched battle with each other for decades, but I can't remember a week like this one, with so much news, so much excitement, so much meat on the bone for both company's stories.
The rat-a-tat-tat of headlines have been a whip saw of who's the better bet.
Apple starts the week with enormous earnings, blockbuster, record-breaking Mac and iPhone sales, strong guidance, a record high stock price.
The company follow up a day later by choosing our set, and letting me unveil the newest member of the iMac familyand that super cool Magic Mouse.
Two days later, attention turns to Microsoft, finally releasing Windows 7, opening its first retail location, my interview with Steve Ballmerwhere we got a window into Microsoft's competition with the likes of Apple and Google , and Research in Motionand so many others. It was a fun interview. The Windows 7 release, by 45,000 global retailers and new bundles from Best Buy and Hewlett-Packard , is huge.
Apple began swiping back with a slate of new Mac versus PC ads, and these are beauties, with Windows 7 squarely in its sights. (See them here & check out the others below where you can vote on your favorite.) Once again, they are effective, biting, and maybe most importantly, they resonate.
Or would have if just hours later, Microsoft didn't release surprisingly blockbuster earnings of its own. Friday's earnings reportis driving Microsoft shares toward $30 a share, the first time investors have seen this level since April 2008. Every Microsoft unit beat expectations, but none was more surprising than Entertainment and Devices.
Forget for a second that the video games industry has been under such big pressure the last couple of quarters. But what about the stiffening competition Microsoft has been facing from Sony and Playstation and Nintendo's Wii ? Not to mention the competition offered by Apple's iPhone as such a new and compelling mobile gaming device? All for naught as far as Microsoft is concerned. Unless of course this enormous growth is from Zune HD sales, which I highly doubt, but we'll see.
While Microsoft's revenue and earnings are still below last year's fourth quarter, they suggest that business is turning around far faster than anyone thought.
And that's a good thing for all of tech, certainly not Microsoft.
And that's why these numbers might be more important than Apple's earlier this week. Apple seems to be a tech industry anomaly, and since no other company is performing so well, especially at retail, Apple's good news seems to be its own.
Microsoft though gives us a wide open window into broader tech, software, hardware, consumers, enterprise, games, online activity. And the message sent today is that recovery is here. Customers are spending again. This isn't merely about improving efficiencies. It's about the improving economy.
What a week. Microsoft is back. And watch for my First On CNBC interview with CFO Chris Liddell coming up on the top of Power Lunch.
Apple continues. As it always does. Wow, this has been fun.
But WAIT - there's more! We want more fun. Take a look at the new ads and then vote on your favorite Mac versus PC.
#1. Broken Promises
#2. Teeter Tottering
#3. PC News