Microsoft Attacks Google, Again

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Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) is using its domain to take jabs at Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) again. Google's Gmail recently began serving ads in its revamped inbox feed, and Microsoft's letting Big G have it.

"Google spams your inbox with ads that look like real emails," Scroogled proclaims, complete with a video and slideshow that illustrate how Google is placing ads at the top of the new Promotions tab of the updated Gmail platform.

To be fair, it is a bit jarring. The ads are clearly identified at the top of the inbox -- set apart from the incoming email with its lightly colored background -- but it's something that will take some getting used to. Unlike the emails that can be checked off on the left and deleted, the ads get nixed on the right side of the feed. Instinctively clicking on the left will merely open up the ad. The sponsored spots also can't be labeled as spam, even though that's how many users may feel about the situation. 

Anyone wondering why Gmail was presorting incoming email earlier this summer -- and branding it as a feature -- now has every right to be cynical. Microsoft obviously would prefer that Gmail users get fed up with Google's platform and set up camp on its own

This isn't the first time the software giant has aimed at the search leader through the Scroogled website. It was launched ahead of last year's holiday shopping season to point out how Google's shopping hub is populated with paid product listings. Scroogled turned its attention to Gmail earlier this year, pointing out that Google sells targeted ads based on email contents. Google has countered the allegations, but Microsoft's the one scoring the style points as Google haggles over substance.  

Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO  ) is the third of the major players in email, but you won't see Microsoft trying to bruise the folks who bleed purple. Yahoo! isn't following Google's monetization practices, but -- more importantly -- Microsoft and Yahoo! are search partners. Microsoft isn't going to do anything that will damage the relationship where Yahoo! outsources its paid search business through Microsoft. 

There also is more to gain by taking Google down a few pegs. Google isn't just the leader in search. Google's Android is the top dog in smartphones and tablets, where Microsoft's commanding a mere 4% share of the market. Getting consumers to turn on Google would be beneficial for Microsoft's well-being beyond free email.

Microsoft's been on the other end of an attack ad campaign, and it worked. The "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) ads killed Vista. The market accepts low blows when it's an underdog doing it, and that's what Microsoft is these days. No one flinched earlier this year when its Lumia ads made fun of Apple and Samsung smartphone owners. It also won't be a surprise the day Apple begins attacking Google the way it did Microsoft several years ago, even if "I'm an iOS, I'm an Android" doesn't have the same ring to it.

Microsoft will keep on swinging, and why not? It's the rare reward for being the underdog. 

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (13)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 4:16 PM, GaryDMN wrote:

    Its hard to believe privacy activists and Microsoft are on the same side. Microsoft has the wind at their back on this, as Google is reaching further into users lives and Google continues to struggle in the courts, while spending countless billions on patent portfolios and companies with patent portfolios, like Motorola. Open source and privacy are their Achilles heals. The "do no evil" message is wearing a bit thin.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 4:55 PM, spinod wrote:

    Funny thing is, I never use my Hotmail at all. Yet when I go to it to use a different service I have pages upon pages of spam in my regular inbox. even Yahoo does a better job of sorting through Spam than Microsoft......

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 7:20 PM, IlanSternberg wrote:

    Google needs to start innovating in search, again. They can do wonders if they had something where you search for vendors, advertisers come up, you select the ads, and have the advertisers call you back. I can see so many applications for something like that.

  • Report this Comment On August 10, 2013, at 9:42 PM, Burstedbladder wrote:

    Personally, I don't like either company. That's why I use Firefox and Apple.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 8:14 AM, badgerzilla wrote:

    Google, Google, Google. This is all Microsoft talks about now a days. I remember when their commercials were touting the new Windows 95 and people were really excited about it. Now Microsoft doesn't show their products any more. They show people dancing and put down Google for not curing Malaria. Ford has not cured Malaria and they have been here a lot longer than Google. Microsoft has got Google on the brain. I bet they see Google in their dreams too. Google is haunting Microsoft to the point of Microsoft not being able to talk about anything other than Google. Google, Google, Google.

  • Report this Comment On August 11, 2013, at 2:08 PM, techbloggerbs wrote:

    Spinod- author of this and numerous other anti-Microsoft screeds. It's time to come out of the closet. I know who you are and know you are a Google employee. Why does Google allow its employees to behave in this manner? Other more ethical companies would discourage this. Yet here and other forums are filled with thinly disguised Google employees trying to sway opinion. The facts are there if you just do a little searching.

    Google employees- stop this unethical behavior.

  • Report this Comment On August 12, 2013, at 4:44 AM, flybywire54 wrote:

    Microsoft is not a saint , remember Netscape , but Google is a private data mining company . Shifted to using Bing , from Google . Less adds also

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