Last week, Newsweek sat down to interview Bill Gates for the launch of Vista.  He was asked about all of the typical questions regarding Vista like security, upgrading, and whether or not he was satisfied with the outcome of Vista. The one part that caught my eye was when he was asked how he felt about the infamous “Get a Mac” campaign that Apple has started with the most recent commercial showing the PC going in for surgery. This of course is in regards to upgrading to Vista.

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Everybody takes the commercials differently. Some look at them and can’t help but laugh, others get infuriated over the serious jabs and sometimes untruthful lies that fill the commercial. One of the first things you’ll notice in any of the commercials is that the Apple is portrayed as a “cool stud” and the PC is portrayed as a “geeky dud.” This is the first thing Bill addresses. He was asked by Newsweek:

Are you bugged by the Apple commercial where John Hodgman is the PC, and he has to undergo surgery to get Vista?

I’ve never seen it. I don’t think the over 90 percent of the [population] who use Windows PCs think of themselves as dullards, or the kind of klutzes that somebody is trying to say they are.

How about the implication that you need surgery to upgrade?

Well, certainly we’ve done a better job letting you upgrade on the hardware than our competitors have done. You can choose to buy a new machine, or you can choose to do an upgrade. And I don’t know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don’t even get it. What are they trying to say? Does honesty matter in these things, or if you’re really cool, that means you get to be a lying person whenever you feel like it? There’s not even the slightest shred of truth to it.

And finally, the last and probably the most interesting question addressed some of the features in Vista which are very similar to those in the Mac.

In many of the Vista reviews, even the positive ones, people note that some Vista features are already in the Mac operating system.

You can go through and look at who showed any of these things first, if you care about the facts. If you just want to say, “Steve Jobs invented the world, and then the rest of us came along,” that’s fine. If you’re interested, [Vista development chief] Jim Allchin will be glad to educate you feature by feature what the truth is. I mean, it’s fascinating, maybe we shouldn’t have showed so publicly the stuff we were doing, because we knew how long the new security base was going to take us to get done. Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine. So, yes, it took us longer, and they had what we were doing, user interface-wise. Let’s be realistic, who came up with [the] file, edit, view, help [menu bar]? Do you want to go back to the original Mac and think about where those interface concepts came from?

Now, perhaps I’m just under-educated with the Mac, but I haven’t heard about that many exploits. Every single day? Clearly hackers/attackers go after vulnerabilities in PCs because that’s where the market share is, but every single day a total exploit is found for a Mac? I’ve always heard people say that you’d never need an Anti-virus for Linux, simply because the general population is not using it, therefore creating viruses would be a waste of time. It’s a similar situation for Apple as well (although they definitely have more of the market share than Linux), but obviously, if what Bill Gates said is true, perhaps Apple needs to take a good look at their security.

There’s been quite the collection of these “Get a Mac” ads.  You can find clips of all of them here. And, if you’re interested in reading the entire interview with Bill Gates, you can find that here.