(Welcome to the World of Endless Reruns! A quarter of a century ago, As the Apple Turns (AtAT) was a daily web-based soap opera obsessively following the melodramatic ins and outs of all things Apple. Now the archives are broadcasting in syndication, so each day you can see what life was like 25 years ago when Apple was still the underdog, all in not-so-fabulous RetroVision™!)

TV-PGFebruary 4, 1998: In a dramatic shift of strategy, Cupertino floods the airwaves with new ads that actually mention a product. Meanwhile, Microsoft's Bill Gates gets a facefull in Brussels in a bizarre scenario even we couldn't dream up, and Netscape's sagging stock price takes a sharp upturn amid rumors of a buyout by Sun...
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Think Different Again (2/4/98)

How 'bout that? Apple finally did a TV commercial that continues its "Think Different" advertising campaign. And hold onto your hats-- even though it's only fifteen seconds long, it breaks two cardinal Apple ad rules; it focuses on an actual product, and it makes a direct comparison to the competition.

This long-awaited new commercial features an Intel Pentium II processor getting a piggy-back ride from a snail. The voiceover states that while some people think the Pentium II is the fastest processor in the world, the ones inside the Powermac G3's are up to twice as fast. Simple. Straightforward. And about as un-touchy-feely as it gets. If you haven't seen it, Apple's posted a 2.4 MB Quicktime version here. (We've removed our own 3MB version, because demand for the movie slowed our server down considerably, but we're proud to have beaten Apple to the punch. ;-)

When the first "Think Different" commercial aired, AtAT posted a survey to gauge viewer response to the new ad. Well, we're doing it again, primarily because the main criticisms of the first commercial (no products, no reason to buy a Mac) have been addressed. Also, we'd like to do our part in the Apple awareness campaign by compiling your opinions and comments and forwarding them to people at Apple in hopes that they'll listen when working on future ads. So head over to our Survey page to register your opinion!

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Microsoft Slapstick 98® (2/4/98)

Some days, it really seems like some benevolent deity is acting on our behalf, crafting real-life events so bizarre that even we couldn't make them up. It seems that Microsoft head guy Bill Gates was heading into a building in Brussels to meet the Prime Minister of Flanders when he was hit in the face with a cream cake, Bozo-style. There's an Associated Press story about the event, including a great photograph of Messy Bill and even Quicktime footage of the fracas.

To make things even more surreal, the "attack" was a premeditated and carefully planned conspiracy; one guy created a diversion while another threw the cake at Bill. The Belgian news agency says that four or five people were involved, and they even had a stack of cakes ready just in case the first one missed. (Don't believe any government commission who tells you it was a Lone Cakeman.) And for the final touch of zany madcap humor, Reuters suspects that Noel Godin was involved. Noel, it would appear, is a Belgian who "has made a name for himself and a lucrative business out of hurling custard pies in the faces of the rich and famous." If we at AtAT had only known that such a hobby could be lucrative, we would have taken it up years ago.

It's uncertain at this point whether or not Microsoft Europe will press charges, but we want to make one thing perfectly clear: AtAT was not involved in this monstrous attack. Not in any way, shape, or form. Scout's honor. It's just a completely unconnected random event which has bestowed a wonderful cultural icon upon our technocratic society; the Cream-Covered Gates will remind us always of the fundamental absurdity of any human's existence, no matter how rich he/she is. Or something. (We've made the photo into a screensaver.)

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More Buyout Rumors (2/4/98)

The 'net is abuzz with more buyout rumors, but for a change of pace they're not talking about Apple. This time, Sun is said to be considering a buyout of Netscape. Bloomberg News reports that Netscape's stock jumped a little this afternoon because of the takeover whisperings.

Netscape, as you know, just posted a sizeable loss at the end of its last quarter, and is laying off hundreds of employees as a result. Netscape has also announced that it is no longer going to be developing Sun's Java into its web browser, instead leaving that responsibility up to third parties. Sun, on the other hand, has been buying up companies like there's no tomorrow, and given that Netscape's only real competition in the browser market is Microsoft (who is just plain Java-antagonistic), there's sense in the idea of Sun buying Netscape to keep the idea of a pure-Java-enabled browser alive. Sun also has inroads into the corporate arena, where Netscape is trying to peddle its server software.

Typically we at AtAT are skeptical of takeover rumors (honestly!), but after the Compaq-Digital deal, anything seems possible. And a Sun-owned Netscape doesn't sound like that bad an idea, provided we Mac users still get the browser.

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Previously, on As the Apple Turns...

TV-PGFebruary 3, 1998: Rumors of big announcements that never come to pass continue to prove that you can have smoke where there's no fire. Meanwhile, Apple contemplates cutting the lifeline of the last of the cloners, and Microsoft catches a break in the latest episode of "Redmond Justice..."

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