Tuesday, October 15, 2002

WSJ.com - Microsoft Removes 'Switch' Ad "Microsoft Corp. on Monday pulled a breezy advertisement purportedly by a free-lance writer who switched to using Windows software from rival Macintosh, amid questions about whether the woman actually exists. An employee at a public relations company hired by Microsoft, Valerie G. Mallinson of Shoreline, Wash., later acknowledged she was Microsoft's mysterious convert, and Microsoft confirmed it. Microsoft's effort was an apparent response to a popular national campaign by Apple Computer Corp. featuring names, photographs and testimonials from customers who began using Macintosh technology because of frustration with Windows. In Microsoft's ad volley, an unidentified woman wrote that she jumped to Windows after eight years as a loyal Macintosh user and boasted that the "process of switching was as easy as the marketing hype had promised." Trouble erupted after amateur sleuths at a popular technology Web site, Slashdot.org, noticed that a photograph showing the woman with a cup of coffee was a stock image available for purchase elsewhere on the Internet."

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