Motorola Says You're All iSheep

Does anyone else remember when Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) and Motorola were partners? Those days are over, Fool.

The company that helped usher in the PowerPC chip, and that once sold Mac clones, is now the enemy thanks to an ad promoting Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI  ) forthcoming Xoom tablet, aired during Sunday's Super Bowl:

Notice the white outfits, blank stares, and iPod ear buds surrounding a Xoom-wielding protagonist who just so happens to be reading George Orwell's 1984, surely in reference to the "1984" ad that kicked off the original Mac rebellion more than a quarter-century ago. Now, it's Mr. Moto kicking the hornet's nest by calling Mac addicts iSheep.

It's a bold strategy that adds context to Moto's premium pricing of the Xoom.

The mockery is marketing. After earlier reports of Best Buy selling the tab for more than $700, Mashable this week published a screenshot of a store flyer showing the Xoom selling for $799.99. Mr. Moto doesn't just want iPad owners to switch, but to upgrade to a pricier device.

Will it work? Similar strategies have worked in the past. Apple's vicious mockery of the PC experience in its "I'm a Mac" advertising has helped the Mac maker steal away market share from Windows alternatives, at Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) expense.

Yet I have doubts Moto will succeed. Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) Honeycomb OS showed extremely well during last month's Consumer Electronics Show, but we've yet to see how users react to the system once they take it home and play with it. We don't know if users love the Honeycomb experience the way Mac users love the Mac OS experience.

Let's also remember that Google and Apple are targeting different audiences with their tabs. Android is more customizable than the iOS. There will always be power users who want more features, and there will always be easygoing users who want a simple, elegant design. These are Apple's core customers, and they're unlikely to be moved by mockery -- no matter how clever it may be.

Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think about Xoom, Honeycomb, the iPad, and Moto's marketing mockery using the comments box below. You can also rate Motorola Mobility in Motley Fool CAPS.

Interested in more info on the stocks mentioned in this story? Add Apple, Best Buy, Google, Motorola Mobility or Microsoft to your watchlist.

Best Buy, Google, and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Best Buy are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended subscribers purchase a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Best Buy, Google, Microsoft, and Apple, in which it has also written puts. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy sometimes counts sheep to get a good night's rest.


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