Microsoft Tries This “Funny” Thing They Heard About

Yesterday the news was all over the web: Jerry Seinfeld has been chosen as spokesman for a new Microsoft ad campaign pushing Vista. This fact strikes me as hilarious in every way except the way Microsoft probably intended.

For starters, the upcoming Seinfeld ads are clearly a response to Apple’s much-parodied, much-discussed Get a Mac campaign. For the “funny” in their campaign, Apple chose the fresh, up-and-coming humorist John Hodgman. (Remember, the Get a Mac campaign launched in May of 2006. Hodgman wasn’t unknown then, but he certainly wasn’t as widely known as he is now. Fans of The Daily Show knew him, but not many others did.) In response to this, Microsoft chooses a comedian whose hit sitcom ended in 1998. Sure, people like Seinfeld, but, 1998? For a technology company? This is the image Microsoft is going for? “Welcome back to the 90s! We miss the 90s because we didn’t seem to suck as much then!”

You’ve probably seen Seinfeld (if you’re at least 10 years old or watch reruns, that is). Do you recall what kind of computer Jerry had on his desk in his apartment all those years ago? That’s right: a Mac. He’s a known Mac user. Apple even aired a special version of its Think Different ad during the series finale of Seinfeld which showed a black-and-white clip of Jerry Seinfeld himself as the last in the series of people being honored by Apple in the ad. According to the New York Times, Jerry’s being paid $10 million to be in these ads. I guess the next message Microsoft wants to send besides “Welcome back to the 90s!” is “We can buy and sell you, no matter what your personal preferences used to be.” Apparently Microsoft thinks the only thing we all love more than a 90s sitcom star is one who is also a sellout.

Who knows, maybe the ads will really wow us all. Just like Vista.

Holding Out for Keynote Video

It’s keynote day! Today, Steve Jobs will take the stage at WWDC and announce some really exciting and interesting things. On a personal note, one interesting thing about today’s keynote will be that I won’t be able to see it live. I’ve seen just about every keynote for the last six years live, and a few in person. I hold to the belief that it’s more fun to watch via satellite than in person.

But even more strongly, I hold to the view that it’s far more interesting and important to actually view the video of the entire presentation than to simply read about it in text on a third-party website. Based on all the keynotes I’ve seen and all the third-party coverage after the fact, I’ve found that no matter how many news sites I read and how many truncated video clips I watch, there’s always something really interesting and frankly, really crucial that is missing from their reports. It’s never the same type of thing, but it always happens. People get facts wrong. People forget certain sections of an announcement. People skip a seemingly-unimportant aside made by Steve that actually says a lot more than it seems on first glance.

For those reasons I’m going off Twitter and I’m going off Google Reader until I can get some keynote video. I don’t want to hear other people’s interpretations of a keynote before I see it for myself. If you’ve never watched a full keynote, give it a shot! This might be a good one to try, even if it’s geekier than Macworld in January. (The WWDC audience is full of developers.)

If you’d like to see keynote video, go subscribe to Apple’s Keynote Podcast. That’s what I’ll be waiting to see. I really hope they post the video this afternoon or tonight rather than getting around to it on Wednesday.