Microsoft has started a new campaign encouraging people to switch to Bing and Outlook.com. The “Don’t Get Scroogled by Gmail” campaign on Microsoft’s Scroogled.com promotes Outlook.com as an alternative to Gmail. Microsoft previewed Outlook.com in July and said it would eventually replace its Hotmail email service. The company has been critical of a settlement in January between the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Google over the search giant’s business practices and access to its standards-essential patents, calling it a “missed opportunity.”
Microsoft is questioning other Google practices. For example, they point out that in May 2012 Google Shopping results are now all paid ads. Microsoft is also sponsoring a petition drive to tell Google to stop scanning user email accounts to target ads.
Microsoft commissioned a recent survy on email services practices. Seven out of ten users were unaware Google scanned the content of emails in order to deliver targeted ads. “Emails are personal — and people feel that reading through their emails to sell ads is out of bounds,” says Stefan Weitz , senior director of Online Services at Microsoft. “We honor the privacy of our Outlook.com users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an Outlook.com user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting Outlook.com users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google’s doing.”
Microsoft, in contrast, scans e-mails only for viruses, or to mark them as spam. Outlook.com ads are based on the web sites users visit, age, zip code and gender. Not quite as intrusive – the difference between peeking through your blinds or hiding in your closet. But for $19.95 a year, Microsoft will at least go away and leave your mailbox ad-free.