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February 8, 2013

Microsoft is at it Again: Company Takes Aim at Gmail

Firm Warning Google Users Not to Get 'Scroogled'

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Microsoft is on a mission to keep Google users from being Scroogled — again.

The software giant, in an apparent bid to become the No. 1 e-mail provider, is attacking Google’s Gmail in a new round of commercials for its Outlook service.

The company’s ‘Scroogled’ website cautions users that Gmail commits the following faux pas:

Goes through the contents of users’ sent and received e-mail messages to display targeted ads.

Goes through the contents of users’ incoming e-mail from other e-mail services for the purpose of targeting ads.

Goes through the contents of users’ entire inbox for the purpose of targeting ads.

While Microsoft admits it also peeks at users’ e-mails, the firm says it does so for very different reasons.

“Outlook.com only scans the contents of your email to help protect you and display, categorize, and sort your mail appropriately,” the website reads.

scroogled“Just like the postal service sorts and scans mail and packages for dangerous explosives and biohazards, Outlook.com scans your mail to help prevent spam, gray mail, phishing scams, viruses, malware, and other dangers and annoyances.

“Microsoft and its e-mail services, including Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Office 365, do not use the content of customers’ private e-mails, communications, or documents to target advertising.”

Microsoft also used ‘Scroogled,’ in its Christmas ads for Bing last year. The ads criticized Google’s “pay-to-rank” system, cautioning viewers against being ‘Scroogled.’

 

 

Google’s shopping section is comprised of paid ads rather than search results. The search engine moved to the new model last May in which merchants pay either per-click or per-transaction to be listed in Google Shopping results.

Mike Nichols, Bing’s corporate vice-president and chief marketing officer, took to the company’s blog to promote Scroogled and take a few shots at chief rival Google.

“We are also calling on Google to stop this pay-to-rank system for their shopping results and give shoppers what they expect – an honest search,” Nichols said.

Microsoft is encouraging ‘Scroogle’ victims to sign a petition to “tell Google to stop going through your e-mail to sell ads.” The signature goal is 25,000. So far 1,577 people have signed.

The company is also encouraging people to share their tales of Scroogle woe on Facebook.

Microsoft is receiving plenty of critisicm for the ads of Twitter.

“This Microsoft anti-Google campaign looks like something a civil society group would’ve come up with: http://www.scroogled.com,” one tweet reads.

“I’m 4 #privacy but these Scroogled ads are a bit hypocritical given Outlook_com also “scans every email for keywords” when spam filtering,” reads another.

While the majority of tweets poke fun at the campaign or criticize Microsoft’s motives, some tweets support the company’s efforts.

 

 

6 Responses to “Microsoft is at it Again: Company Takes Aim at Gmail

    avatar Barb says:

    I saw a Bing ad on TV a few days ago. Quite impressive. To tell the truth, Bing’s search results are a lot better and more relevant than Google’s hands down. I know several people who are new to the internet prefer Bing for their searches. All say the same thing, they find what they’re looking for quickly and the results are more relevant to their queries.

    It’s time for G to get some good old fashioned competition. Who knows what can happen. You know what they say – the bigger they are…

    avatar Alan Robertson says:

    I remember the days that Microsoft used to get slammed for putting Internet Explorer on every PC by default without permission. These days nobody seems to care that Google is doing the same thing with Chrome – which is really intrusive with searches. If a television network sold a T.V. that only came with their channels (until you manually tuned in otherwise) it would be investigated – so why does Google get away with it? I’m not just talking about Android either – Avast antivirus doesn’t even ask if you want Chrome. It just installs it. If it was any other company other than Google then they would have a malware spam flag against their name. Google is getting far too invasive now – driving around and “accidentally” gathering personal information from people’s home networks is not how a responsible company should act. The balance of power has shifted too far in Google’s favour and it’s about time they had their wings clipped.

    avatar Leslie Lees says:

    If you use Google, you aren’t really surfing the World Wide Web, you only get to see Googles paid advertisers. God forbid anyone upsets them, they’ll never appear in Googles results. I agree with Alan & Barb in the comments above.

    avatar Nina says:

    There is no doubt that companies often try to expose the ills in their competitors as to gain an edge over them. Hope Microsoft is not guilty of what it is accusing Google of.

    avatar Michelle says:

    We will benefit from their competition. Finally Microsoft is doing it right.

    avatar Gary says:

    These two companies are both as bad as each other, ‘people in glass houses’ springs to mind! Make room for the small guys i say!

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