Gates simultaneously disputes and supports portrayal of Vista requiring hardware updates

A hearty laugh followed by a short moment of pondering followed my reading of Bill Gates’ comments in the obligatory Newsweek interview upon the release of Microsoft Vista. In the interview, Bill is asked a series of questions about the inevitable comparisons between Windows Vista and Apple’s OS X operating system, and Apple’s very pointed advertisement wherein Apple implies that “PC” (played by John Hodgman) will need major surgery to run Vista.

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Newsweek: How about the implication [in the Apple ad] that you need surgery to upgrade?
Gates:Well, certainly we’ve done a better job letting you upgrade on the hardware than our competitors have done. You can choose to buy a new machine, or you can choose to do an upgrade. And I don’t know why [Apple is] acting like itâ??s superior. I don’t even get it. What are they trying to say? Does honesty matter in these things, or if you’re really cool, that means you get to be a lying person whenever you feel like it? There’s not even the slightest shred of truth to it.

What? Has Bill taken a page from that bumbling fumble mouthed President of ours? Go back and read Gates’ response aloud; it sounds like a line from a Ben Stiller movie.

Let’s break down that response to try to decode Bill’s answer.

…we’ve done a better job letting you upgrade on the hardware than our competitors have done.

Erm. Yes sir, that’s pretty much the point of the Apple spot. Microsoft’s done a commendable job (hell, a remarkable one with the release of Vista) of “letting” their customers upgrade their hardware.

Oh, wait, maybe Bill means Microsoft’s done a better job of allowing users to update their OS on their hardware. No, that can’t be what he means; during the past five years nary a single new version of Windows for the desktop was released, yet Apple introduced exactly FIVE new OS releases.

You can choose to buy a new machine, or you can choose to do an upgrade.

Uh, yeah. Yup. That’s pretty much what the ad is saying.

It seems Bill’s agreeing with the overall premise of the ad, so what’s with the overly defensive reaction?

…I don’t know why Apple is acting like it’s superior. I don’t even get it. What are they trying to say?

Well, I think Apple’s trying to say that an existing PC will need major surgery to support Vista.

There’s not even the slightest shred of truth to it.

There isn’t? Then what the hell are you talking about, Bill?

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.

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