In Apple vs. Microsoft, 'Daily Show' Is Winning

Demetri Martin, a contributor to Comedy Central's
Demetri Martin, a contributor to Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," is featured in a coming Microsoft Corp. ad campaign. (Comedy Central)
Thursday, June 8, 2006

First, Microsoft Corp. took the idea for the pull-down menu popularized by Apple Computer Inc. Now, it's taking Apple's idea for the corporate pitchman. How long before Bill Gates shows up in public in a black turtleneck?

This spring, Apple launched a flight of television commercials featuring John Hodgman, a contributor to Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Yesterday, we learned that Microsoft is kicking off a multimedia, hyper-exposure campaign to promote its upcoming Windows Vista operating system featuring Demetri Martin . . . a contributor to "The Daily Show."

At this rate, Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. may start hiring "Daily Show" viewers to star in their ads.

In the Apple ads, Hodgman, dressed as a schlumpy middle manager, portrays a PC. He looks like Gates. The other actor looks like a skinnier, younger version of Apple's Steve Jobs. He patronizes Hodgman's PC, which isn't working so well.

It's hard to imagine that Microsoft's Gates isn't exacting a little public payback on Jobs, who has made a living satirizing, prodding and poking the button-down software giant with Apple's cooler-than-thou aesthetic.

-- Frank Ahrens

© 2006 The Washington Post Company