Microsoft tries to tempt MacBook deserters with switch tips

A four-part site offers up Windows 10 tips to people more familiar with Apple's OS X, a FAQ on the differences between a MacBook and a Surface Book -- and more.

Microsoft has again aimed its Surface line at owners of Apple's MacBook notebooks, and offered up suggestions on how the latter can ditch their hardware for Microsoft's new devices.

In a multi-part subsection of its Surface website, Microsoft pitched the ease of switching from a MacBook laptop to a Surface Book, the Redmond, Wash. company's laptop that was introduced Oct. 6 and went on sale today.

The four-part site offers up Windows 10 tips to people more familiar with Apple's OS X, a FAQ on the differences between a MacBook and a Surface Book, instructions on exporting and importing photographs and documents, details on changing calendar and email clients, and steps on how to run Apple's iTunes on the Windows 10-powered Surface Book as well as connecting an iPhone to the Microsoft notebook.

Microsoft's dump-the-Mac campaign was neither a surprise nor new.

When Microsoft's executives rolled out the Surface Book three weeks ago, they made it clear they saw Apple's MacBook Pro -- a laptop that starts at $1,299 -- as the chief competitor and best benchmark for their own $1,499-and-up laptop.

But Microsoft has also tapped into such change campaigns before: Late last year, for example, Microsoft launched a similar how-to website aimed at customers who may have been considering giving up their MacBook Air for a Surface Pro 3, the then-current tablet-slash-laptop.

Ditch-a-rival-OS efforts like Microsoft's latest have long been part of the personal computing landscape, and resemble tactics Apple itself has used in the past to convince consumers that switching from a Windows PC to a Mac was not that difficult.

macbook to surface book Microsoft

Microsoft has returned to a well-worn tactic -- show those in the other OS camp how to switch -- as it touts its new Surface Book as the swap for a MacBook Pro

Switch campaigns have been ineffective in moving large numbers of users from one platform to another simply because the basics -- the kinds of functions that these crusades tout can be done on an alternate device -- are but the tip of the iceberg. While some core applications are available on Windows and Mac -- notably Microsoft's own Office suite -- many are unique to the operating system and not easily replaceable.

Nor are users of one OS likely to give up the knowledge learned over years of experience with one operating system so that they can begin from scratch with another.

Apple's experience selling Macs has been testament to the difficulty of getting people to switch: Although Mac sales have grown at rates significantly higher than those for Windows personal computers, Apple's OS X-driven hardware remains a niche market. Earlier this month, research firms IDC and Gartner both pegged Apple's share of the global PC market at under 8%.

The Surface Book, which debuted in Microsoft's retail stores Monday, includes models that run in price from $1,499 to $3,199, and are backordered weeks, even months, when ordered online. Apple's MacBook Pro portfolio ranges from $1,299 to $2,499, with the highest-priced units sporting a larger 15-in. screen.

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