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Report in the NYT claims political vet is working to drag Google's name through the mud

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) learned the hard way in the 1990s that you don't want to be on the bad side of antitrust regulators.  Now it's looking to give Google Inc. (GOOG) a little yuletide surprise -- an invitation to that cruel world.

I. Microsoft Consultant to Consumers: Don't Get "Scroogled"

According to a new report in The New York Times, Microsoft has hired a former advisor to President Bill Clinton to lead the multi-channel effort against Google.   Mark Penn, 58, is the brains behind the operation.

His first work recently aired; a commercial attack Google for (supposedly) getting inaccurate search results.  The commercial quip to consumers is "don't get scroogled".  

Meanwhile, on The Hill, Mr. Penn is looking to make sure Google gets "scroogled" by federal regulators.  He's noisily complaining to anyone who will listen about the supposedly abusive advertising behavior, which he and Microsoft claim Google uses to exclude smaller rivals like Microsoft from the search ad market.

Mr. Penn knows a thing or two about mixing facts and attacks.  He was top paid pollster for President Clinton's 1996 successful reelection bid, helping the POTUS win over certain demographic sectors like "soccer moms".  Afterwards, he kept on the Clinton train, helping with Hilary Clinton's unsuccessful, but high-profile 2008 presidential bid.  He became perhaps best known for his stinging "3 a.m" commercial, which called into question whether President Obama had what it took to lead the country.

The DC vet was only forced out of the Clinton tent after it came to light that he did some controversial side work, lobbying for the government of Colombia.  Mark Penn also raised some eyebrows after Facebook, Inc. (FB) hired him to do an underhanded attack against Google.

A former colleague of the lobbyist/advocate tells The New York Times, "Google should be prepared for everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them.  Actually, they should be prepared for the kitchen sink to be thrown at them, too."

II. Building a "SWAT Team"

Mr. Penn's assembled team in D.C. is small, but efficient.  It contains some high profile names, including a former advisor to the Chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.  The lobbyist/advertising consultant describes, "The concept is to create a SWAT team to work with the product teams on some of their toughest problems.  If any of our competitors say things about us that we don’t think are true, we’re not going to sit on the sidelines.  We’re going to pop them."

He's already been busy attacking Google on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Microsoft is surely hoping that the more aggressive turn breathes some life into its search efforts, which have been bleeding money for over a decade.

Mark Penn
Mark Penn [Image Source: PRNewser]

There are some signs that his efforts are succeeding.  Google is facing several antitrust inquiries in the U.S. and European Union, thanks in part to Microsoft's complaints.  And a recent campaign highlighted that Google is now only featuring merchants in its shopping search who pay it to be listed surprised and angered consumers who were unaware of the change.

That's precisely the reaction Mr. Penn is looking for -- outrage and indignation.  He's well aware that customers currently have a glowing image of Google and a less warm and fuzzy image of Microsoft (in many cases).  But the DC veteran who attended Harvard University with Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer in the mid-1970s, and who consulted with Microsoft here-and-there through the 1990s is looking to step up to the plate and lead the software veteran's effort to change that impression.

When customers think Google, Mr. Penn wants them to think "scroogle".

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Netscape breathes a sigh of relief
By NellyFromMA on 12/18/2012 8:46:13 AM , Rating: 1
Cause when Google does it its way better, right?

By kleinma on 12/18/2012 10:17:22 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft learned the hard way about being a monopoly, and they rose to that during the personal computing revolution. They have paid for it with years of fines and oversight. It was an industry of uncharted waters, with an internet that did not yet exist. That doesn't justify it, but the computer tech industry is mature enough now to know this shouldn't happen again. No company having a monopoly is good. Duopolies are equally bad, because the companies are fine just having 1 competitior, fighting a war on only 1 front at a time. The more competition the better, for the consumers.

RE: Netscape breathes a sigh of relief
By Solandri on 12/18/2012 3:46:20 PM , Rating: 4
When's the last time you had to pay Google for anything? If you don't like what Google is doing, it's simple - switch. Type instead of in your browser and you're done. Totally different from Microsoft, where if you wanted to use a PC you pretty much had to buy a copy of DOS/Windows to run the available software. And if you didn't buy their upgrades, newer versions of third party software might not work.

Google's "monopoly" isn't supported by locking people in. If I want to copy all my contacts and mail off gmail to set up a new hotmail account, I can. In fact Google will let me keep the gmail account forwarding mails to my new homtail account - I will not be cut off from emails because I no longer use a address. If I want to remove all my pictures from Google+ so I can store them on Facebook or Flickr, I can. Facebook won't let you mass-download content you've uploaded, and Flickr charges you for their service. If I want Google to stop tracking my searches, I can. Google does not have contracts with certain websites giving them exclusive search access, so using Bing or Yahoo does not mean Google cuts me off from parts of the web.

The only reason to use Google is because you like their service. So if they've got a monopoly, it's because they're offering exemplary service. Not because they've locked users in like Microsoft did, and Facebook and Apple do. If anything, Google seems to bend over backwards to make it easy for you to switch away from their service. That's actually one of the major reasons I use a lot of Google services. I've been burned before by a company locking up my data so I couldn't export it (die Intuit die). Never again.

"But they have a near monopoly on search advertising" you say? When has that ever been a problem before? If CBS dominates the Nielsen ratings, they get the bulk of the advertising dollars. But nobody says CBS should be broken up because their shows are too good and they're getting a disproportionate share of advertising dollars. Everyone recognizes that all the networks are free to make the best shows they can. And if CBS just does it better and attracts more viewers, then good for them.

By NellyFromMA on 12/19/2012 1:05:17 PM , Rating: 1
Dude sorry for having an opinion man. Cry more?

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