Cheeky, Possibly Illegal Microsoft Memorabilia Trolls Google Over Data Theft
November 20, 2013 6:55 PM
comment(s) - last by
Products use trademarked Google logos without permission
Microsoft Corp.'s (
-- a series of sarcastic ads
masterminded by Mark Penn
, best-known as a campaign strategist for Bill and Hillary Clinton's respective Presidential runs -- was greeted with mixed reactions. Some of the ads, which attacked
Microsoft's search arch-rival Google
) -- bordered on being mildly humorous. Others fell flat.
In the end Microsoft seemed to be
letting the campaign quietly die down
-- or so it seemed.
But while the broadcast ads tapered off, Microsoft has taken the campaign to the web. Its latest attack -- which is featured on
mugs, t-shirts, and other memorabilia
available from the Microsoft store carrying various anti-Google slogans, including the familiar "Scroogled" parody of Google's colorful log.
Perhaps most eye-catching, though, is a fresh attack proclaiming:
Keep calm while we steal your data.
The quote on that hot cup of sass alludes to the internet company's
snooping on citizens' open Wi-Fi networks via its StreetView cars
. Google claimed the data collection was "accidental" despite internal emails clearly stating that it was an attempt to collect informations on users to improve marketing.
So far Google has already been slapped with at least three fines internationally as officials declined to buy Google's excuses about "accidents". Most recently Google was ordered to pay a
$17M USD fine to U.S. federal regulators
. It paid a separate
$7M USD settlement to U.S. state regulators
$189,000 USD settlement to regulators in Germany
. Google faces similar or potentially
even bigger fines in other European Union member nations
Google claimed it snooped on users on "accident" despite internal emails revealing it did so for profit. The company has been fined multiple times for the spying. [Image Source: Jacopast/Wikipedia]
In addition to mugs, the material is also printed on pre-washed T-shirts made from socially conscious fabrics. The shirts are the work of American Apparel, Inc. (
), the "fair-trade" espousing brand beloved by hipsters across the country.
The quote is surprisingly edgy and internet culture aware, as it seemingly hops on board the popular "
Keep calm and carry on
" meme, which was originally based on a humorous World War II propoganda poster from the UK.
It's also somewhat surprising as the memorabilia uses Google's trademarked Chrome logo with no indication that Google permitted Microsoft to use it, or even an acknowledgement that Google is the logo's owner via
a trademark or copyright symbol
(trademarks are generally more appropriate, although often a broad set of design features is copyrighted or even patented).
Google in fact appears to explicitly ban this,
Don't display a Google Brand Feature in a manner that is in Google's sole opinion misleading, unfair, defamatory, infringing, libelous, disparaging, obscene or otherwise objectionable to Google.
Further common sense tells you that appropriating a company's well-known logo for use in selling your products is probably intellectual property theft. And insulting the owner while using their logo to sell your products -- that's just adding insult to injury.
A Microsoft product description states:
A vintage line, reworked to reflect a modern problem. Printed on an American Apparel 50/50 t-shirt, pre-washed for minimal shrinkage.
Breathe in, breathe out. It won’t be long before Google has attempted to make money off of every aspect of your digital life. This t-shirt lets them know that you know. It's 50% cotton, 50% polyester blend, and pre-laundered for minimal shrinkage.
Again, there's no sign of any trademarks/etc. on the store page.
Edgy? Trendy? Illegal? IP theft? Funny? It appears Microsoft's new campaign may be all the above. It wouldn't be surprising to see this one wind up in court... but Google faces a lose-lose scenario as if it does sue Microsoft it's bringing attention to its own privacy offenses and risks looking losing its "cool cred" by appearing litigious.
After his largely failed prior attempts, it appears Mike Penn has finally crafted a scenario in which Google just can't win. His new product line marks a significant improvement in Microsoft's efforts to troll Google, practically begging them in a legal sense -- "Come at me, bro."
It should be interesting to see if Google responds.
Google Logo/Trademark Policy
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
11/20/2013 9:23:23 PM
If Google gets its way and manages to block Microsoft from selling those things, we might as well start redefining 'freedom of speech' and 'freedom of expression'.
You will never be able to wear a t-shirt that says "Poke me and die" just because it parodied the Pillsbury Doughboy mascot.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
Google Agrees to $17 Million Fine Over Unauthorized Tracking
November 19, 2013, 10:47 AM
Google Hit with $189,000 Fine in Germany for Street View Violations
April 22, 2013, 9:38 AM
Google Ordered to Pay $7 Million to U.S. States for Wi-Fi Snooping Incident
March 13, 2013, 10:11 AM
Microsoft Pulls the Plug on "Scroogled" Ads
March 4, 2013, 1:20 PM
Microsoft Bing Slipped to Fifth Place in the Global Search Market at the End of 2012
February 8, 2013, 8:28 AM
Twitter Senior VP: "Diversity is Important, But We Can’t Lower the Bar"
November 9, 2015, 9:59 AM
CNN Resorts to Internet Censorship to Promote Clinton Over Senator Sanders
October 15, 2015, 2:47 PM
Breaking Bad: How to Crash Google's Chrome Browser With Just 8 Characters
September 23, 2015, 11:08 AM
Quick Note: Amazon UK Offers £10 Back on Any Order £50 or Over
August 3, 2015, 12:05 PM
Editorial: Reddit Allows Itself to be Hijacked as a Hate Platform For Racist Bigots
July 21, 2015, 6:32 PM
Mozilla and Facebook to Adobe: It's Time to Kill Flash
July 20, 2015, 6:30 PM
Most Popular Articles
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM
Smart Security Cameras: 5 Good Choices For Any Budget
July 25, 2016, 7:13 PM
2017 Porsche Panamera: I’ll Take Three of These.
July 24, 2016, 6:44 PM
Top 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information