Computex: Qualcomm Promotes Windows AI Chips With ‘I’m A Mac’ Actor

Qualcomm has used former “I’m a Mac” actor Justin Long to promote its new chips for Windows PCs, as Microsoft gears up for a major push for the alternative hardware platform.

Qualcomm’s chips are based on ARM designs, which also drive most mobile devices, and ARM’s chief executive told Reuters the company hopes to take as much as 50 percent of the PC market in a few years’ time.

Actor Long became known for the North American “Get a Mac” ad campaign from 2006 to 2009 in which he personified a laid-back Mac computer, while another actor portrayed a Windows PC that was overly focused on work tasks and prone to being infected with malware.

The ads were dubbed for use in some other countries, while in the UK the comedians Robert Webb and David Mitchell took on the roles.

Justin Long stars in a new advert for Qualcomm chips. Image credit: Qualcomm

‘Things change’

In Qualcomm’s ad, presented during a keynote speech at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, Long is initially using a Mac which bombards him with notifications about app compatibility, low disk space, battery life and other issues.

At the end of the clip he launches a web search for a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Windows computer and tells the camera, “What? Things change.”

“Yes, things do change,” said Qualcomm chief executive Cristiano Amon following the clip.

Apple launched its ARM-based M-series chips four years ago, which have received praise for their high performance and long battery life compared to the Intel chips formerly used in Macs. After the switch Intel in 2021 also used actor Long for ads poking fun at Macs.

Microsoft is now promoting ARM-based chips such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X Elite, which is to debut on 18 June for what Microsoft is calling Copilot+ PCs, also known as AI PCs.

Apple’s ‘Get a Mac’ adverts aired from 2006 to 2009. Image credit: Apple

AI PCs

The new moniker touts hardware that is tuned for AI tasks using Microsoft’s OpenAI-powered Copilot tools, consuming less power and extending battery life.

AMD similarly touted its AI-focused chips for Windows in its Computex keynote, although its chips remain based on the x86 architecture.

ARM chief executive Rene Haas told Reuters Microsoft is strongly backing the move from x86 chips from Intel and AMD to ARM-based chips and predicted the new platform could have more than 50 percent market share in five years.

“They’ve (Microsoft) gone way beyond anything they had (in developer tools) and they really picked it up in the last couple of years,” said Haa. “They are very, very much committed from a software standpoint.”

He said other chipmakers would follow Qualcomm’s lead in introducing ARM-based chips for Windows systems.

Microsoft has signed up vendors such as Asus and Dell to sell systems using the ARM-based chips.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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