The software giant is extending its Google-bashing Scroogled campaign with another jab at the Chromebook. The dirt cheap Chrome-based netbooks that hardware companies have been putting out still add up to a sliver of the overall PC market, but that isn't stopping from Microsoft investing in putting the platform down.
Last month, the Chromebook smear campaign involved bringing in the Pawn Stars reality show celebrities to talk down the trade-in value of Chromebook. In a another spot that rolled out on Thursday, Ben the PC hunter talks to Californians on the street about comparing Windows-fueled laptops to Chromebooks.
If Microsoft was the underdog in PC platforms, the desperate attacks would make sense. It's not. Google's doing a better job undermining Microsoft's growth through its Android tablets and smartphones than it is through its Chromebook. However, putting out the spots -- and hoping they go viral by broadcasting them through Google's own YouTube -- may be hurting its cause.
For starters, let's go to the YouTube video page itself, where we see a wide assortment of viewer comments bashing Microsoft. Let's go over some of the top-rated responses.
- "The more of these commercials I see the more I want a Chromebook. Because with every smear campaign I end up reading 10 articles about Chromebooks from tech sites and learn more and more of how well it would fit MY needs." -- Nicholas Brickhouse
- "Microsoft continues to go after ChromeBooks in the sub$300 market, while Tablets take over everywhere else. Very smart Microsoft." -- Ray Cromwell
- "Chromebook is not everything I need, but it's 95%. This ad campaign just got me thinking of how to get the last 5% off Window. Sad. MS was once a venerable company." -- Michael Zhuang
Then we get to overall viewer rating for the video. As of this morning it had garnered 372 thumbs up and 1,647 thumbs down. One can argue that bashing Google on a Google-owned site is going to bring out the boo birds like a masked wrestler hailing from parts unknown, but how sure is the software giant about what it's doing when it entered the ring with fistfuls of mud?
It's now been nearly 13 months since Microsoft introduced Scroogled, and its aim may have been true at first. It took jabs at Google's ad-supported shopping portal just as last year's holiday shopping season kicked off. However, Scroogled has gone from being this holiday-themed moniker to a blanket attack on all things Google, and it's missing as much as its hitting lately.
Microsoft took shots at Gmail's decision to begin inserting ads into inboxes this summer.
"Google spams your inbox with ads that look like real emails," Scroogled complained. It was a bad shot. Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) -- Microsoft's growingly reluctant search partner -- went on to do the same thing. If Yahoo! didn't want out of its ill-advised search deal with Microsoft before, it probably did after that.
Microsoft is also not doing Microsoft any favors. It's essentially boxing Bing into a corner by calling out Google for ad-supported shopping portals, email marketing, and targeting ads. It can't go there now, and it makes Yahoo! look like a chump if it tries to improve its stagnant top-line financials that way.
It's not a surprise that Google's the one running a profitable online business while Microsoft's online division has posted $9.4 billion in operating losses during the past two fiscal years. So keep at it, Mr. Softy. Scroogled's latest turn may be the smartest Chromebooks marketing that Google didn't have to pay up for.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google and Yahoo! and owns shares of Google and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.