Microsoft's new campaign helps MacBook Pro owners switch to Surface Book

Microsoft sets its sight on Apple

Microsoft is using Apple's old playbook in an attempt to get MacBook loyalists to switch to a Surface Book. If you're a MacBook Pro user wooed by Microsoft's promises of a detachable screen, discrete-class graphics and a stunning machined aluminum design, Microsoft has you covered with a new campaign designed to ease the transition from MacBooks to the Surface Book.

After making comparisons against rival Apple's MacBook Pro, Microsoft is optimistic that the Surface Book's hardware and performance is irresistible to even the most devout of Apple faithfuls. Surface head Panos Panay claimed that "ounce for ounce, Surface Book is the best laptop ever created," and that the notebook delivers an impressive 30% gain in performance compared to Apple's flagship laptop.

For potential switchers, the hardware and performance is just one part of the equation. It's also about familiarity of completing certain tasks, like gestures for scrolling, and migrating important files and documents. Microsoft's campaign addresses all of this in a similar tone to Apple's 2002 switch to Mac television spots.

Leveraging the familiar

The campaign to get Mac users to switch to Surface Book isn't as glitzy as Microsoft's keynote from several weeks ago. On the main micro-site page, Microsoft is clearly positioning Surface Book as a laptop, and there isn't any mention of a touchscreen, detachable tablet form factor or even Windows 10's Continuum mode.

As a laptop, Microsoft shows Mac owners how to perform select tasks on Surface Book. Rather than right-clicking by placing two fingers on the trackpad, for example, users would just click on the right corner of the trackpad on Surface Book's keyboard. Additionally, the command key on a Mac is replaced with the Ctrl key on Windows.

Surface Book

Microsoft also highlights Windows alternatives to OS X's ecosystem. iMessage and FaceTime on a Mac are replaced by Skype on Windows. Microsoft Edge is the Surface Book equivalent of Safari for web browsing, and the Windows Store is Surface Book's answer to the Mac App Store.

Learning not to miss your Mac

In addition to finding new ways to do familiar things, Microsoft also provides guidance on how to transfer important files and documents from a Mac to a PC.

For Mac users who are tied to the iTunes ecosystem, Microsoft also provides a tutorial on downloading the PC version of iTunes and gaining access to your purchased music, movies and TV shows on your new Surface Book.

The Surface Book goes on sale today, and the device represents Microsoft's efforts at reinventing the laptop category. The biggest downside with Surface Book is perhaps its price. When fully configured, the Surface Book costs $3,200 (about £2,070, about AU$4,400). Apple's top build-to-order configuration for the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD costs $2,699 (£1,756, AU$3,722), for comparison.

In addition to Surface Book, Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, considered an iterative release, is also available starting today.

The unique advantage of Microsoft's hardware solutions is the detachable tablet, allowing you to have a single device that replaces your laptop and tablet. For business owners, this could result in savings in hardware cost and the reduction of time spent managing files between two devices. None of Apple's notebooks come with a touchscreen, and Apple doesn't offer convertible devices that run the desktop-class OS X operating system. The iPad Pro offers a convertible form factor, but that device only runs on the mobile-centric iOS.