After Microsoft released its wonderful “I’m a PC” advertisements, I wondered what was next for Apple. After all, it’s ingenuous and libelous “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ads were instantly rendered moot by Microsoft’s more human and humble ads. How could Apple respond and not look like a bunch of arrogant jerks.

Answer: They can’t. And they won’t. It’s in their DNA.

So they’ve responded with a new “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad that is both ingenuous and libelous, and once again they come off looking like a bunch of arrogant jerks. And get this: The ad is about … Microsoft advertising. This ad says so much about Apple (and so little about Microsoft) that I actually laughed out loud the first time I saw it online (and not for the reasons Apple was hoping).

It’s official. Apple has jumped the shark.

Here’s why. In this pathetic ad, Apple is actually criticizing Microsoft for spending dramatically more money on advertising than on “fixing problems with Vista.” That this is demonstrably untrue never bothers Apple, so we can just skip over that nicety immediately. The charge, obviously, is that Microsoft can make Windows Vista look good by advertising it, not fixing it.

Irony/hypocrisy alert: For the past two years, Apple has been spending money on advertising designed to make Windows Vista look bad, while not spending money fixing the many problems in their own products. I’m looking at you Leopard, MobileMe, and iPhone 3G. And don’t get me started on the style over substance of the new Macbooks.

Irony/hypocrisy alert 2: The ad comes less than a week after Apple introduced its incredibly expensive new laptops into the worst economic conditions in almost 100 years. And as the Wall Street Journal noted this morning, they did so even though the “average price [of a Mac was already] more than twice as high as computers based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system.” So much for the computer for the rest of us.

Why is this a problem? Apple fans will argue that Apple makes better products and doesn’t compete with low-end Windows machines. Fair enough, if true. But then why is Apple advertising incessantly into the consumer market? Why don’t its ads just rise above the garbage out there as their products supposedly do? It’s because Apple can’t help themselves. They want it both ways: To be arrogant jerks and schoolyard bullies and then, when confronted, claim, hey, it’s OK. Because we’re the little guy. See, it’s cute. It’s all in good fun.

Uh-huh.

Put more simply, after being exposed as the charlatans they are, Apple responded, as always, in their usual arrogant and libelous fashion. I can see why so many people look up to these guys.

And before anyone complains about the use of the word libelous, look it up. That’s exactly what these ads are.

You can see the new ad here.