It's now hip to watch what you spend. After all, in a recession it's difficult to spend lavishly if you're not sure your job will still be there for you on Monday.

Microsoft Corp. is pushing the recession-sensitive message in its new ads that started Thursday, highlighting how PCs with the Microsoft Windows system running them are much cheaper than a computer from Apple Inc.

The ads are Microsoft's attempt to reclaim the "I'm a PC" catchphrase from Apple, according to an Associated Press story.

Unwitting people were chosen to the ad firm, posing as a market research firm, to find a computer that matched their criteria and were given budgets from $700 to $2,000. One woman, looking for a 17-inch screen speedy laptop with a comfortable keyboard for less than $1,000 walks out of an Apple store empty-handed after only finding a 13-inch screen in her price range.

"I'm just not cool enough to be a Mac person," she says later.

Microsoft says that no one it filmed chose an Apple, although some fell within their price range.

Coolness is becoming a selling point for computers, with Apple taking hold of that stand and Microsoft going with the message that it's easier on the wallet. With many things in life, buying something cool usually costs more. Microsoft's line is that if PCs are for nerds, then saving money must be for nerds too.


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