Microsoft's new TV ad whacks Apple over prices

It 'picked Apple's weakest point,' says analyst.

But Baker cautioned against equating value and price. "The woman's wasn't looking at the different value propositions, she was looking at the price," he said. "Some people are confusing the two."

"I think it's very effective, but not necessarily fair," added Gottheil. "If you demand a 17-in. screen and only have $1,000, you're absolutely going to end up with a Windows machine."

Gottheil pointed out that in years past, such a pitch would not have meant much, because the entry level price gap between Windows PCs and Macs was much smaller than it is now. "The entry point has separated over the years," he noted.

Apple, however, stresses value, and in a way deferred value, when it touts its systems at the prices it charges, Gottheil added. "The 'It just works' kind of idea is a perfect example," he said "Apple's saying that over the long haul, you'll spend less time hassling with a Mac. But with the economy like it is, price has to be part of the equation.

"For sure, Apple has erected a number of barriers at the lowest prices," said Gottheil. "Microsoft's picked Apple's weakest point to attack."

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