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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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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 Outlook.com 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. Outlook.com 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 Outlook.com now.


RE: yup
By Pirks on 3/5/2013 2:57:14 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
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 outlook.com address and also use online inbox migration service like this: https://secure5.trueswitch.com/hotmail - voila, done in 1 day, never looking back! Also read this for full details: http://blogs.office.com/b/microsoft-outlook/archiv...


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
quote:
doesn't do anything about the issue of scanning emails
For Outlook.com, 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 Outlook.com 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 Xtra.co.nz 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 Outlook.com.

Some people simply can't be bothered.


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