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Say goodbye to laser ... and, for Mac fanatics, to sanity


Here's a beautiful example of the Apple fanboy world seeing everything through Apple-colored lenses. Seriously, you people are just embarrassing yourselves now.

Yesterday, Microsoft Hardware--the tiny portion of Microsoft that makes mice, keyboards, and other PC hardware peripherals (but not, interestingly, the Zune, the Xbox 360, or hardware products of that magnitude) launched a teaser animation on its site advertising an upcoming new generation of what is clearly mice. Microsoft typically releases new versions of its keyboards, mice, and keyboard/mice combo packages every fall, so the anticipated release date, September 9, 2008, is no big surprise.

Here's how the animation progresses:

Slide 1: Coming soon: Meet the next big thing
Slide 2: Think about all the places you use your computer today...
Slide 3: The airport (image of a laptop at the airport, with a mouse next to it)
Slide 4: Your living room (image of a couple using a laptop on the rug, with a mouse next to it)
Slide 5: Your kitchen (image of a couple using a laptop on kitchen counter, with a mouse next to it)
Slide 6: Working outside on the deck (image of a couple using a laptop on the deck table, with a mouse next to it)
Slide 7: Meet the technology that will go anywhere you do
Slide 8: Microsoft brings you the World's Most Advanced...
Slide 9: Say Goodbye to laser 9.9.08 (with cool new logo)


Given the visual and textual information in this animation (and really, you should watch the animation in case it's not clear what kind of product they're touting), which of the following seems like a more reasonable assumption?

1. Microsoft is releasing a new mouse or family of mice that uses a non-laser-based pointing technology that will work on any surface.


2. Microsoft has specifically chosen September 9, 2008 in order to "spoil" an Apple event that has not actually been officially announced and that may or may not happen on that very same date.

Now, I want you to think about that one very carefully. Because, you know, it could be either. Heck, it could be both! (Cue scary music.)

OK, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. The survey says...

If you've chosen number 2, you're an idiot. But thanks for playing. Really, you're fun to have around. :)

By the way, here's the "evidence" that number two could be the correct answer:

While Apple hasn't yet officially announced any plan for an event in two weeks time, the company has alluded to an upcoming product refresh cycle, and resellers have been warned to expect scant stock of some Apple products.

Wrapped in shrouds of doubt and uncertainty, what Microsoft's planning is anybody's guess.

Anybody's guess? Really? I mean, even my kids could figure this one out.

So I asked them.

Kelly, aged 6. Mark, aged 10. What do you think this animation is about?

Mark: A mouse?

Kelly: A computer? (I mentioned to Kelly, who can't read, that Microsoft Hardware doesn't make computers but instead makes smaller things that connect to computers. She actually couldn't guess, so I told her that mice had lasers in them.) The red dot is a laser? (Dad: Yes.) A mouse?

So there you go. Two children, one of whom can't read, can readily tell what this ad is for.

And for the record: Even if Apple is holding an event for iPods or whatever or September 9, something tells me that Microsoft's announcement about mice has absolutely nothing to do with that. Obviously.

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