On Thursday, Microsoft plans
to unveil a new print, television and online advertising campaign that attacks Google on an issue that Microsoft believes is one of its great vulnerabilities: privacy. The ads will showcase research that shows most people don’t know that Web e-mail providers like Google scan the contents of their e-mail messages to deliver personalized ads to them — and when they do find out, they don’t like it.
If Gmail was a physical product, Microsoft’s actions would amount to putting a sticker on it that said, “Warning: Google is creepy.”
Microsoft has gone after Google in this fashion before, most recently with an advertising campaign over the holidays under the slogan “Scroogled” that attacked Google for compromising the quality of its shopping search results. It has even slammed the company on privacy before in a campaign that featured a goofy personification of Google’s e-mail service that Microsoft named “Gmail Man.”