Microsoft is stepping up its attacks on Google with a campaign urging users of the Web giant’s e-mail service to dump Gmail for its own Outlook.com over privacy concerns.
In its national campaign titled “Don’t get scroogled by Gmail,” Microsoft dredges up an old issue with Google’s free e-mail service: Google scans users’ e-mails to determine relevant advertisements to place alongside the messages.
Microsoft says a study it commissioned found that 70 percent of consumers polled were unaware that major e-mail providers “routinely” read e-mail to sell ads and that nearly 90 percent disapproved of the practice, which has been criticized in the past.
“Outlook.com believes your privacy is not for sale,” Stefan Weitz, senior director of Online Services at Microsoft said in a statement. “We believe people should have choice and control over their private email messages, whether they are sharing banking information or pictures of their family or discussing their medical history.”
The anti-Gmail effort is Redmond’s latest salvo at Google. The European Commission has spent the past two years investigating Google after competitors such as Microsoft complained that Google adjusted search results to bring up its products and Web sites first. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recently found that Google’s search results were not biased in favor of its own results in a way that was anticompetitive — a decision that was largely seen as a victory for the Web giant.