MARKETING GENIUSES in Redmond must be spinning in their chairs and high-fiving, having launched Microsoft's latest anti-Google "scroogled" campaign.
This time around the Google Scroogle relates to emails and spam. "Google spams your inbox with ads that look like real emails," it hollers.
"Google violates your privacy by reading every single word of every single email sent to and from Gmail accounts so they can better target you with ads. Now, they're going one step further over the line by using that same personal information to spam your inbox with ads that look like real emails," said the accompanying marketing information.
"Your email provider should protect you from spam, but Google is doing just the opposite; they're reading your private email conversations and using what they find to push junk mail directly to your Gmail inbox."
Microsoft offers Outlook as a wise alternative, naturally, and users are advised to seek that alternative and download it. "We don't scan the content of your email to target you with ads, and don't spam your inbox with ads that look like personal email," explained Microsoft.
Outlook.com has started a petition called "Tell Google: Stop Reading Our Email to Spam Us" and it is aimed at Eric Schmidt. It has fairly small ambitions, just 150,000 signatures are needed, and it is hovering at around half that number now.
"Not only is Google reading your Gmail to target you with ads, but now they're using that information to spam you. Google is now deliberately spamming inboxes with ads that look like real emails. Gmail treats these ads like regular email, but you aren't allowed to mark them as spam..." read the petition.
"Your email provider should protect you from spam, but Google is doing just the opposite. Rather than protect you from spam, Google is reading every word of your personal email to target you with ads that look like real emails."
The campaign salvo follows Google's recent inbox change. Now Gmail users have a three part inbox that splits between Primary, Social and Promotions. Presumably the Redmond marketing geniuses think that the easily avoided Promotions folder is an affront to consumers.
Microsoft supplemented its statements with comments from newspapers and sympathetic web blogs. None of them are particularly glowing. But who cares anyway? Email users have enough to worry about with government surveillance systems. µ