Back in 2004, when Google was just coming out with Gmail and companies using people’s private information to sell ads was a relatively new topic, Microsoft tried to show users the light and point out what would happen if people used Gmail. Back then, Microsoft wasn’t alone, as the idea was new and concerning to many people.
The debate on the issue has never really faded too far from the public’s attention. Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Apple have also faced scrutiny for how they use their users’ information and locations, and more stories of that sort come out all the time. But, it’s not everyday that a giant company will get on the back of another giant for how it’s using user data.
Microsoft’s Scroogled website has attacked Google on its practice of reading Gmail users’ emails to find keywords and for better-targeted advertising. The website details what Google is doing and then offers a link to get Microsoft’s email client, which boasts that it does not read users’ emails.
The effort from Microsoft could affect either company negatively. If users are truly driven away from Gmail, Google may lose some ad sales while Microsoft gains users. On the other hand, Microsoft may irritate users with its campaign, which could come off a little heavy-handed, and turn people away from its Outlook email client.
Strong moves from Microsoft are understandable, as the company has a lot of areas that it needs to recover. It has been running into trouble in the tablet market, which it may need to stay relevant in the shifting computing environment; it’s phones haven’t been as popular as hoped; and crucial PC sales have declined over the last year. Microsoft has a lot of work ahead of it to stay on track.
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