Brad Brooks, vice president of Windows Consumer Product Marketing at Microsoft, has gone on the offensive against Vista bashers, Apple and Linux as he personally "draws a line in the sand" and starts fighting for Windows Vista.

During Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in July Brooks told the attendees: "Today we're making a statement. We're going to do things differently. We're going to tell our story - the real Windows Vista story."

Now Brooks has attacked Apple, talking about an "Apple tax" 20 times in an interview on CNET.

He states that Mac buyers face hidden costs if they try to add Windows to their Mac.

"There's a technology tax - Apple still doesn't have HDMI, doesn't have Blu-ray offerings, doesn't have e-SATA external disk drives that work at twice the speed of FireWire. And so you've got all of these things that are truly taxes.

"You know, that's the crazy part about it. If people want a Windows experience, then start with a machine that was built for the Windows experience. There's no question, if you look at it, and go to Apple's Web site today, their No. 1 selling feature that they're telling students as to why buy a Mac is because it does run Windows, and that you can get Office when you're running it in Boot Camp or Parallels. But, then you're just paying that tax again.

"I don't personally believe that customers really know that a copy of Parallels is going to cost them $80, or that when they really look at what they're going to have to pay in terms of another $200 for a (full boxed copy of Windows), that they're going to pay for another $149 for MobileMe to put on there, Internet services, which they can basically get all the same functionality when they have Windows and Windows Live working together.

"People really don't understand the Apple tax because it's never been explained to them. We have not done it, and certainly Apple is not going to explain their own tax to their customers."

Brooks agreed that this latest attack on Apple is similar to a 2004 campaign Microsoft waged on "Different audience, but very much the same approach. ... You know what, we're not afraid of the truth; we just don't feel like the truth has been told. And this is another case around getting the facts where we don't feel like the truth has necessarily been exposed."

Brooks also backed up Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who recently described Microsoft Office for Mac as not a full version of Office.

"If you define different as meaning lacking several of the features and choices that come in the latest version of Office, yes, it is different. ... In the latest version of Office 2007 there's a number of features, usability improvements, enhancements that are universally liked by our users, and really differentiate the product as being the next generation of productivity suites. Those are things that just don't come with the Mac versions."

In a recent interview with PC Mag Español Ballmer lashed out at Apple: "You know, they like to act like Macs are lightweight, there are much lighter weight PC notebooks. Macs - do they have the best battery power? Of course they don't have the best battery power. Macs tend to have nice screens, but can you get nicer screens for a PC? Of course. Do Macs work in business? No, they do not."

"PCs are better than Macs, continued Ballmer. "That is not something that can be debated. 32 out of every 33 times, somebody buys a PC instead of a Mac. I'm not saying that there are not some things that people like about Macs, apparently there are. But have you ever seen a cheap Mac? No."