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Angry outburst against frienemy was met with much criticism

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Google Inc. (GOOG) have an interesting relationship.  On the one hand Microsoft languishes with small market shares in the search and smartphone markets, dreaming of being Google.  It's actively sued Google over smartphone patents, and has milked billions in licensing settlements from Android phonemakers.  It's also pushed for tough antitrust actions against Google.  On the other hand, Google still relies on Microsoft Windows for much of its ad revenue, an awkward relationship.

The frienemy's relationship devolved somewhat when Microsoft launched a nasty attack on its search rival accusing Google of "Scroogling" customers.  The ads take issue with Google's scanning of Gmail emails for behavioral marketing, and also tactics involved with Google Shopping.

But this week Microsoft Senior Online Services Director Stefan Weitz told public radio and TV station KQED that the ad campaign "is about finished".  The website and catchphrase will remain active, but the print, web, and television ads will die off.

The online services executive revealed that Microsoft hatched the campaign after a Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (at the University of Connecticut) revealed that people were unaware of the extent of Google's online behavioral monitoring including "reading" (anonymously) emails in Gmail.

He effectively admits, though, that the campaign did not have a major impact, commenting that using Google search is "a habit... it's like smoking. It's hard to get folks to stop doing it."

Here's a few of Microsoft's "Scroogled" ads:

Some of our readers responded positively to the campaign.  Echoing Mr. Weitz's comments tayb writes:

This campaign is not going to convince me to stop using gmail but I do hope it convinces google to stop scanning my emails. I do consider this an invasion of privacy even if I use adblock and never see the ads.

Others were quite upset at Microsoft.  Reclaimer77 writes:

Microsoft is grasping at straws here in this pathetic attempt. Bing is hemorrhaging money to the tune of $1+ billion a year, and they have NO answer to Google's services.

I use a Gmail account and I'm hard pressed to see how my privacy is at stake. I never get spam mails, Gmail has one of the best spam filters I've ever seen. And I never have targeted adds shoved down my throat.

As usual they collect ANONYMOUS data that helps them make add revenue, so we can all enjoy their services free. I think that's a pretty good deal if you ask me.

Also Microsoft is being dishonest in the extreme. They do the exact same thing with their free Hotmail service! It's morally wrong to be this hypocritical in order to smear a competitor.

Ultimately extremely negative advertising campaigns -- including Scroogle can be effective (see "Get a Mac"), but also have the tendency to backfire.  A recent article by Adage discusses some recent consumer market attack ads and their relative successes.

Source: KQED

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Reclaimer is wrong
By InsGadget on 3/4/2013 3:56:09 PM , Rating: 1
MS does not scan your emails for ads. They scan them to provide other services to the user, but not for ads.

Facts are good. Especially the true kind.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Reclaimer77 on 3/4/2013 5:40:19 PM , Rating: 5
I thought the issue was user privacy? Whether MS is scanning your emails for add revenue, or for "services" revenue, the argument of hypocrisy against Google doesn't change. Microsoft is doing the same thing as Google, which was my point.

Either you've missed the point entirely, or you're arguing semantics.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Nekrik on 3/4/2013 6:26:06 PM , Rating: 2
What he is refuting is your comment that "Microsoft is doing the same thing as Google...". They are not doing so in the same manner and the data they do collect they are not using in the same way. Your assertion of "Microsoft is doing the same thing as Google" is conjecture (at least I believe that is their point).

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By schmandel on 3/4/2013 10:22:43 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like splitting hairs. If you let a service provider host your data without a contractually enforceable confidentiality agreement, you should expect that this data will be used six ways from Sunday.

I'm not surprised MSFT pulled the campaign, it came off pretty lame and more than a little whiny as well. The first time I saw it was in a doctor's waiting room and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of heckling it drew, everyone in the room shared a moment of agreement regarding a common annoyance.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By InsGadget on 3/4/2013 11:34:09 PM , Rating: 1
No I got your point. It was wrong, in that MS does not provide targeted ads based on email content. They scan emails to help the user.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By MadMan007 on 3/5/2013 7:00:28 AM , Rating: 2
One could argue that targeted ads versus generic ads also help the user.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 9:42:14 AM , Rating: 3
Help the user? So let me get this straight, Google is wrong and evil for scanning mail data to make add revenue. But Microsoft is benevolent and "helpful" when they make revenue by steering you to certain services?

This is absurd, it's beyond splitting hairs! The point is both companies are providing "free" services by scanning your mails to make a profit. You keep saying you get my point, but I still don't think you do.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By InsGadget on 3/5/2013 2:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
I never said Google's practice of targeting ads was wrong or evil. I merely pointed out that your contention that both MS and Google were doing exactly the same thing is wrong. I did not give an opinion on if either company's approach is right or wrong. Just that your facts were not true.

Once again, not giving an opinion here, just giving facts. If you want my opinion, I don't think this is a big deal. And MS does not "steer you to certain services". The services I mentioned are helpful things that both Google and MS provide.

"All email services scan your email. They do this routinely to provide such popular features as spam filtering, virus detection, search, spellchecking, forwarding, auto-responding, flagging urgent messages, converting incoming email into mobile phone text messages, automatic saving and sorting into folders, converting text URLs to clickable links, and reading messages to the blind."

Google provides these services as well as MS, but then they go the extra step of scanning the emails for targeted ads. Do I think this is wrong? Not necessarily. I use gmail and I've never had a problem with this practice.

I was merely saying that your quoted text in the article was wrong, and is wrong. You may think I'm splitting hairs and that may be annoying to you, but it annoys me when people throw "facts" around on the internet that aren't in fact true. I like truth, so I can make honest opinions that aren't biased.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By InsGadget on 3/5/2013 3:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
I would like to point that there is one practice of Google's that I'm not a fan of. Google allows online sellers to pay for a higher position for certain search terms in Google's Shopping service. Bing does not allow this, and I have noticed more helpful shopping searches as a result with Bing vs. Google.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 6:07:02 PM , Rating: 2
Again, just to be clear, you're less interested in the context of this issue, and more about nitpicking for "factual" reasons. Which have no bearing on the actual conflict between Google and MS.

Reclaimer isn't "wrong", you've just moved the goalposts.

I merely pointed out that your contention that both MS and Google were doing exactly the same thing is wrong.

Wrong. They ARE! They are both scanning your data to provide you with something, in order to make profits. I can't put it any more simply than that.

Get it or go away, either way I'm done with this semantic drivel.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By InsGadget on 3/5/2013 10:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
I care about facts. Sorry if that offends you.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Trisped on 3/5/2013 3:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
They scan emails to help the user.
Either scanning is bad or it isn't, you and Microsoft cannot have it both ways. Oh and yeah, Microsoft scans emails to target ads, just not with their Outlook email service.

RE: Reclaimer is wrong
By Trisped on 3/5/2013 3:35:12 PM , Rating: 3
I have caught Microsoft scanning my emails to deliver ads.

It does not take much to realize that you were not getting any "insert ad type here" ads until you started getting email from "insert ad type here" company.

The important facts are not that they scan my emails, it is how they do it (key word collections) and if they slam other for doing it. I do not know what process Microsoft uses to scan my emails, but I do know that they do it and they slam Google for doing it. Google, on the other hand, clearly indicates how they scan (key word collections). Do I care how many times the word "Cat" or "Android" shows up in my email?

So yes, facts are good, but some facts are more important then others, like the fact that Microsoft's new Outlook email service is different then their Hotmail service which would scan your emails, and the fact that Microsoft's new Outlook email service looks a lot like Gmail (color pallet).
Oh, and there is that pesky fact that a fact must be true to be a fact (by definition).

By Ramstark on 3/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Really??
By dsx724 on 3/4/2013 1:51:29 PM , Rating: 1
I think we are being trolled.

RE: Really??
By Ammohunt on 3/4/2013 1:51:48 PM , Rating: 2
He included tayb's comments as well why are you just singling out Reclaimer77? Who exactly has the agenda here?

Personally i think its interesting to quote commenter's in articles not sure if its genius or desperation.

RE: Really??
By theapparition on 3/4/2013 2:10:54 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed completely.

Reclaimer77 has a position that he stands up for, and some dislike that. But some people take any opportunity to discredit any of his opinions, regardless of the content. Even if he's 100% correct on a topic, there will be those who still try to debate him, just out of spite.

One thing is for certain. Reclaimer77 had contributed far more to this site than the pathetic attempt by the OP at slamming him. I don't agree with everything he says, but I respect him for saying it.

RE: Really??
By nikon133 on 3/4/2013 3:15:24 PM , Rating: 2
That is trye, but I don't think that this specific post of his was best argument presented against MS campaign. What does Bing's success - or lack of it - has to do with Google and MS scanning or not our emails?

RE: Really??
By Mitch101 on 3/4/13, Rating: 0
RE: Really??
By BillyBatson on 3/5/2013 12:34:46 AM , Rating: 1
SEVERE desperation. I don't care who's comment they included. Then even if I agree with most of what reclaimer said it's delivery is definitely not worthy of making it into an article. And finally including a DT contributors comments in a DT article is sketchy especially if many of their readers already don't have a high opinion of the commenter therefor invalidating the comment even if it were an intelligent one.
I'm guessing either it was something DT wanted to try out or it's just another 3 line DT article with a lot of added fluff, fluff has to come from somewhere even if it's deep inside the writers rectums.

RE: Really??
By wifiwolf on 3/5/2013 5:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
I thought the same, but if you were writing an article about this and wanted to use the same statement like: "Someone at DT commented that MS does the same as Google", correct journalism says you should cite your source.
Yes, it looks sketchy, but how would you do it?

RE: Really??
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/5/2013 12:57:47 PM , Rating: 1
And finally including a DT contributors comments in a DT article is sketchy especially if many of their readers already don't have a high opinion of the commenter therefor invalidating the comment even if it were an intelligent one.
Who gives a fuck what you or others think of him? I am sure he doesn't give 2 shits about your opinion of him.

RE: Really??
By BillyBatson on 3/8/2013 5:28:27 PM , Rating: 2
And I don't care what you think either, especially if you sound as unintelligent as you do. Keep cursing it really gets your point across.

RE: Really??
By kleinma on 3/4/2013 1:52:14 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, that was just sad.... quoting a known DT troll...

RE: Really??
By Pirks on 3/5/2013 2:46:56 AM , Rating: 3
That's because Mick is just as dumb as Reclaimer. Mick stated that RIM will be sold in 2012, Reclaimer stated that EVs are no more than toys for the rich. Seems like two idiots have found each other. Sweethearts my ass LOL :)))

RE: Really??
By Jeffk464 on 3/4/2013 2:40:18 PM , Rating: 1
The only search engine that prevents snooping is ixquick. MS is not different when it comes to this stuff.

RE: Really??
By GotThumbs on 3/4/2013 3:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Reclaimers opinion is a legitimate one and I for one am glad it was included....and I believe was appropriate and a rational opinion that helps balance those of the idiots who what free stuff, but don't understand that NOTHING is free.

When you use services for free....they have to be supported through revenues in some way. Would the millions who use FB still use the service if they had to pay a monthly fee?

I'm sure many would choose the "FREE" path even if FB offered an ad free experience for 15.00 Mo.

RE: Really??
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 9:45:25 AM , Rating: 1
First off, I take offense at you labeling me a "troll".

Secondly, I was a surprised as anyone to see my name in the article. I mean, yeah, it's kind of cool to see the staff acknowledge how awesome I am, and how much time I've devoted to the substance of the discussions here :)

Do you owe him something? What's your relationship with him? Mmm...

AHAHA! Come on, be serious.

By p05esto on 3/4/2013 3:01:29 PM , Rating: 2
I like Bing a lot better than Google, especially the image search is light years better. and is also so much cleaner and polished than it's not even close. People need to wake up and at least TRY the competition. I expect more from fellow techies to be honest.

RE: yup
By nikon133 on 3/4/2013 3:12:34 PM , Rating: 2
It is a bit of pain in the back to switch email service. You must inform all your mates, and then change all the online services that do depend on your email in any way (Steam, Origin...).

I do prefer Hotmail and especially to Gmail. I'm using both, but Gmail "evolved" into email address I give when I don't really want to give my email address, and is hardly ever being checked. is my primary email address. But have I decided to make Gmail my primary address, there's slim chance I'd be switching everything to now.

RE: yup
By Pirks on 3/5/2013 2:57:14 AM , Rating: 1
It is a bit of pain in the back to switch email service
No it's not. You setup email forwarding so that all gmail traffic goes to your address and also use online inbox migration service like this: - voila, done in 1 day, never looking back! Also read this for full details:

RE: yup
By MadMan007 on 3/5/2013 7:05:47 AM , Rating: 3
Receiving forwarded emails and actively using an email service are two entirely different things. If all you do is read emails then great, but if I reply to a forwarded email the new email address is the 'sender'. That causes all sorts of confusion, not to mention that it will raise a red flag with places which use your email address as part of ID verification.

It also doesn't do anything about the issue of scanning emails.

RE: yup
By Pirks on 3/5/2013 12:39:54 PM , Rating: 2
doesn't do anything about the issue of scanning emails
For, they specifically list "not showing personalized ads" as a feature present in Outlook, but not Hotmail. So what issue are you talking about then? The issue of you not knowing how works eh? ;)

RE: yup
By nikon133 on 3/5/2013 3:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Yah I know you can forward, but in that case you are still using old email provider, right? And lots of people still send you emails to that one (even if you reply from new one) because they already have it in their contacts.

Early 2012 I moved from local email (they're using using Yahoo mail actually) to Hotmail, and later on upgraded to "Outlook". I still have Xtra mailbox because they are my IP, so I get mailbox for free anyway. I'm not using it... but I'm still receiving emails from friends and relatives. Regardless of how many times I told some to change my email address to

Some people simply can't be bothered.

RE: yup
By Cheesew1z69 on 3/5/2013 12:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
You have said this before about the image search and what it does, Google does the SAME THING. It's NO better.

What the heck?
By Netscorer on 3/4/2013 3:14:15 PM , Rating: 2
On the other hand, Google still relies on Microsoft Windows for much of its ad revenue, an awkward relationship.

This is as much BS, as I've ever seen. Google does not care what OS users run on their desktop as long as they will go to Google to do their searches. Let's say tomorrow, magically all Windows desktops crash and users need to migrate to a constellation of niche OS. Would Google even notice it?

RE: What the heck?
By inteli722 on 3/4/2013 6:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
The point of that statement is that since a majority of computers are running Windows right now, Google relies on Windows for a lot of its ad revenue, because that's what a majority of users will be accessing Google on. Yes, Google doesn't care, but that doesn't mean that the statement's not true.

RE: What the heck?
By drycrust3 on 3/5/2013 1:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with Netscorer. The reason Google is able to be used so easily, and with browsers other than Internet Explorer, is because of legal constraints placed upon Microsoft, not because Microsoft thought Google was a great search engine and Windows users would like to access it.

RE: What the heck?
By schmandel on 3/4/2013 10:32:28 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, because if it wasn't for Windows people wouldn't be able to access the internet.

Windopia: A condition of acute technological nearsightedness resulting from a person's sole acquaintance to computing being through Microsoft Windows. Often accompanied by magical thinking regarding all products and pitches the company offers.

By nafhan on 3/4/2013 3:53:28 PM , Rating: 2
MS and Google and Apple and any other webmail provider that provides indexed search are scanning your email.

Gmail and Hotmail show ads based on this info does not. All three are engaging in this evil activity colloquially known as "scanning your email". In other words, the same privacy concern exists on these and most other webmail providers. Ads are a separate issue that may be worthy of concern in some cases.

By InsGadget on 3/4/2013 5:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I can tell, MS does not scan your emails for ads. They scan them for other services, not for ads though.

Personally I think Gmail's personalized ads aren't that big a deal and the Scroogled ad campaign is overwrought, but the basic message is true.

By nafhan on 3/5/2013 11:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
For, they specifically list "not showing personalized ads" as a feature present in Outlook, but not Hotmail.

Also, I don't think anyone is alleging that Google or MS are providing third parties with the contents of the emails they are scanning. In other words, the privacy implications of scanning to create a search index are the same whether or not that info is also used to serve ads.

By bug77 on 3/4/2013 2:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know what's the fuss (other then Microsoft's desperation to stay in the spotlight). I've been with gmail since beta and Google has been upfront with their intention of scanning the content of email trying to serve relevant ads.
I mean, hello!, your email are flying all over the internet unsecured and in Europe ISPs are required to store them for months. And your problem is Google may find out you've just uploaded your holiday photos?

RE: Fail
By Jeffk464 on 3/4/2013 2:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
not many ways around having your email stored since its stored in the cloud anyways.

Imma call my momma
By tayb on 3/4/2013 4:05:05 PM , Rating: 4
I'm famous.

bad avertising
By synapse46 on 3/4/2013 3:33:00 PM , Rating: 2
I think any time you mention the competition in advertising you're digging yourself a hole, no matter how negative the advertising is. Bad or not, it is spreading the awareness of the competition on your own dime. ALso, negative advertising may leave a bad image for some current supports.

The bigger issue
By earlmo on 3/5/2013 1:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
is why Microsoft can't come up with decent names. "Scroogled". Really? No wonder I've never heard of this before. Did the marketing wizards who came up with "zune" work on this one?

Here's a better one: "g'ogled"

Your welcome.

Turns out this was false:
"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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