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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

September 26, 2008 at 9:25 AM

Operating system startup alleges Microsoft Windows campaign steps on trademark

Kara Swisher at All Things Digital has a scoop on G.ho.st, a cloud based operating system start up, alleging that Microsoft’s new ad campaign has stomped on its “No Walls” pending trademark. G.ho.st is short for global hosted operating system.

Microsoft dismissed the Israeli company’s concerns in a statement to Swisher, saying G.ho.st does not have any pending applications and even if it did, it wouldn’t prevent others from using “No Walls” in advertising copy. But it’s another bump in the road for the $300 million Windows ad campaign with tag lines “Imagine No Walls” and “Windows: Life without Walls.”

I’ve encountered several people who still don’t believe the switch last week from ads featuring Jerry Seinfeld (which were loudly panned in some quarters of the Web) to the current “I’m a PC”/”Life without Walls” portion of the campaign was planned. People think the Seinfeld ads were pulled abruptly because of negative response. Microsoft execs, however, telegraphed this move in interviews weeks ahead of time.

Also last week, it was revealed that Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the ad shop behind the Windows campaign, did at least some of their work on a Mac.

Should G.ho.st’s trademark challenge go anywhere, I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the meeting where the ad wizards explain why they chose a tag line so close to that of an emerging operating system competitor.

As for the “Life without Walls” tag line, several of you wrote in comments and e-mails variations on this arm-chair criticism: “It’s been said before, but in a ‘world without walls,’ who needs Windows?”

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