An effective new series of Microsoft ads has entered new territory for the software giant: The new ads directly address Apple and its Mac computers, and hit the competition right where it hurts. The first ad, which debuted two weeks ago, attacks the high price of Macs. And in a second ad, which appeared late last week, Microsoft goes after the lack of choice one faces outside the traditional PC market as well as the "tax" one pays to purchase the Apple brand.

That the ads are effective isn't open to debate. Simply observe the Mac community's outsized outrage, as if pointing out real-world deficiencies in their platform of choice isn't an obvious tactic. And let's face it: Macs really are more expensive than PCs. They also offer much less choice and are more about appearances than functionality.

The first ad, starring "Lauren," skewered the Mac's high price. In that ad, Lauren explained that she wanted to find a 17" laptop for less than $1,000. She was able to find a decked-out HP PC for just $699, after briefly stopping by the Apple Store, only to discover that the lowest-priced 17" MacBook Pro costs a whopping $2,800, four times the cost of the PC she purchased. "I guess I'm just not cool enough for a Mac," she says, after discovering the true cost of such machines.

In the second ad, "Giampaolo" is looking for a laptop with big performance, portability, and battery life. How about that Mac, Giampaolo? "Macs are about aesthetics more than they are about the computing power," he says. "I don't want to pay for the brand. I want to pay for the computer." He grabs a $1,099 PC laptop. That's almost $1,000 cheaper than the least-expensive MacBook Pro.

Apple backers, of course, are tripping all over each other to discredit the ads. But then, these people have always been more concerned about image than reality. The real news here isn't the claims made in the ads—they're indisputably true, of course—but rather that Microsoft is finally naming Apple specifically as a competitor. Even the previous set of well regarded "I'm a PC" ads never mentioned the Apple or Mac brands specifically, instead focusing on the diversity of the PC world. But now, finally, the gloves are off, and Microsoft—after years of silence—is addressing the very real problems that face potential Mac converts. The company says that it has several more ads in the series that will air in the days ahead.

Bravo, I say. It's about time