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Microsoft agrees its painfully unfunny iPhone parody ads were 'off the mark'

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Microsoft's latest volley in its advertising war on Apple has proved more of a backfire — and now the company has officially acknowledged the misstep. Late last week, Microsoft put out a full seven ads mocking the design process behind Apple's new iPhones. The series, known as "A fly on the wall in Cupertino," showed a pair of bumbling designers pitching the gold iPhone 5S and the plastic 5C to figures apparently meant to be Tim Cook and Jony Ive. "You asked us to create the gold standard in iPhones," says one. "And it turns out... that is super hard."

Unfortunately, so is creating a good parody video. The videos were quickly lambasted for their awkward acting, low-budget production, and simple unfunniness, and Microsoft pulled them not long after. Now, it's also told CNET that it thinks they were a bad idea. The campaign "was intended to be a lighthearted poke at our friends from Cupertino," a spokesperson says. "But it was off the mark, and we've decided to pull it down."

Companies like Microsoft, Samsung, and Apple have all upped the advertising ante in recent years — Microsoft even hired former Clinton strategist Mark Penn for its campaigns — and Microsoft isn't the only one to pull ads; at least it didn't suggest that failing to buy its products was like murdering a puppy. But this does put to rest speculation that the ads had simply run their course like Microsoft's "Scroogled" TV commercials. While the original videos are gone, you can see a highlights reel mirrored below, courtesy of VaultFeed.