Microsoft has followed up the introduction of its Surface Pro 3 tablet/laptop hybrid with a series of ads that directly target the Apple MacBook Air laptop.

Taking on Apple's popular laptop/notebook are three ads -- the first, which Microsoft calls "Crowded," hypes the Surface Pro 3's nolo contendere advantages, namely, the touch screen, the pen, and the stand-alone tablet capability.

Next up is "Head to Head," in which Microsoft compares features and specs -- basically claiming the Surface Pro 3 can match the MacBook Air in computing power, and exceed it in unmatched features such as the removable touch screen.

The third member of the troika is "Power," an ad that claims the Surface Pro 3 can run the same powerful applications, can multitask, is just as fast and includes the same peripheral ports as the MacBook Air.

The Surface Pro 3, available to the tablet-loving world since May, sports a detachable keyboard (at additional cost), a 12-inch touch screen with a 2160 x 1440 pixel display and includes a pen. It is available with 4 GB or 8 GB of RAM, 64-512 GB of solid state flash memory, and is powered by Intel Haswell dual-core processors.

Retail price ranges from $799 for an Intel i3 with 64 GB storage, up to $1,949 for 512 GB run by an Intel i7 processor. These prices do not include the keyboard/type cover, which adds another $130 to any model. Since Microsoft is basing its latest ads on the keyboard/tablet combo, let's say that the retail price span starts at $930, escalates to $2,080. Comparably speaking, the Apple MacBook Air ranges from $900 to $1,749.

Screen real estate and resolution is a point of difference between the Apple and Microsoft products. Apple offers 11-inch and 13.3-inch screens, the Surface Pro 3 is available in any screen size you want, as long as what you want is 12 inches. Screen resolution is squarely in Microsoft's corner, with a Retina-like 2160 x 1440 pixels per inch (PPI), whereas the MacBook Air does not offer a Retina display (probably adds too much weight and cost for the MacBook Air's mission), and maxes out at 1440 x 900 PPI.

Microsoft seems to be treading lightly on pushing the concept the Surface Pro 3 is simultaneously a replacement for the iPad Air. In tablet form, sans keyboard, the Surface Pro 3 is considerably heavier and larger and more unwieldy to carry/hold than the iPad Air. In addition, the iPad Air maintains a huge advantage over the Surface Pro 3 in the number of third-party applications that are available to enhance its functionality.

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