January 29, 2004 4:55 PM PST

Microsoft ad campaign takes aim at rivals

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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Microsoft plans to launch a multifaceted advertising campaign this year that touts the advantages of its software over rivals, including the Linux operating system.

Earlier this year, the company kicked off a series of ads based on its "Get the Facts" campaign, which uses third-party studies to tout the cost savings and other benefits of Microsoft products over its competitors. In the next part of the campaign, set to kick off early next month, Microsoft will tout its various server software products as part of a "Windows Server System."


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The $20 million-plus print and online campaign features case studies of four well-known companies that have used Microsoft software--Toyota, Motorola, Reuters and Siemens. The ads feature an individual from one of the companies and what Microsoft's software allows them to do. For example, a Reuters information technology manager touts how Microsoft's software allowed her to update 3,000 Web servers in three hours.

The ads are part of an effort by Microsoft to pitch disparate parts of its software lineup, ranging from well-known products like Exchange and SQL Server to newer products like SharePoint Services and Live Communications Server.

The software maker has tried a similar approach with its desktop software, pitching newer products along with its mainstay Office program as part of an "Office System."

"Our key message is manageability," said Valerie Olague, director of Windows Server System marketing. "The second thing is to say, 'Hey, it's more than just the OS.'"

A third advertising push will highlight Microsoft's security efforts, touting recommendations from the software giant as well as a series of local seminars the company plans to conduct.

"It's about trying to be proactive in the security space," Olague said.

 

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