Recently, Microsoft quietly pulled its "Can Your Palm Do That?" advertisements after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged the company with deceptive advertising. The ads, which purport to show the benefits of Microsoft's Pocket PC platform when compared to market leader Palm OS, apparently stretched the truth a bit, in that some of the Pocket PC's touted capabilities are actually expensive add-ons, just as they are on most Palm OS-based devices. In one ad, Microsoft suggested that wireless Internet access is available only on the Pocket PC. In fact, it's available on both platforms, at added cost, and one Palm model actually includes the feature out of the box--a feature that isn't offered on any Pocket PC devices. Yesterday, Microsoft had no comment about the charges, but rumors are already circulating that the company intends to settle the case with the FTC.
The revelation comes at a vulnerable time for the company, which is now mounting its antitrust trial appeal; Microsoft is arguing that the company doesn't unfairly leverage its monopoly OS power to illegally gain entry in other markets. Not coincidentally, this week, a Web browser usage study revealed that Internet Explorer (IE) has climbed to record market share; IE is at the center of the antitrust appeal. Microsoft's share of the handheld market isn't so rosy, however, and the company says it's simply trying to bring competition to the market, which will ultimately give consumers more features and lower prices.
In related news, Microsoft recently unleashed its revamped advertising campaign for the Pocket PC, which doesn't mention the Palm OS but does tout wireless Internet capabilities