Scroogled isn't dead, it's just beginning

Contrary to rumors yesterday, Microsoft has not abandoned its "Scroogled" marketing campaign, despite sharp criticisms. My colleague Wayne Williams calls the attacks against Google a "sad and frankly pathetic strategy".

If the statement a Microsoft spokesperson has given to BetaNews is any indication, the campaign will get more aggressive than it is today: "Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people. We know Google doesn’t like it when the facts come out. Chapter two of the consumer education campaign has shown people care about their privacy. More than 3.5 million people visited scroogled.com, and nearly 115,000 people signed a petition asking Google to stop going through their Gmail. Stay tuned for the next chapter".

Scroogled can be summed up in two words: Google lies. Microsoft launched the campaign in late November, accusing Google Shopping of misleading searchers. A month ago, Microsoft followed up with an attack on Gmail, and since started airing TV commericals.

Microsoft boldly claims that Google reads Gmail users' messages. But Scroogled is nothing more than a marketing ploy to get people to switch from Google services.

What Microsoft seems to fail to acknowledge is that being a Gmail or Google search user is both a choice and a necessity. Like Windows.

In my case I use various other Google services connected to my Gmail account, and I'm quite sure millions of other people are in a similar position. If I were to, hypothetically, switch to Outlook.com I'd still have to use my Gmail account to log into Google+ and check for notification emails, for instance. At the same time, using Gmail with all the targeted ads is a personal choice, one that I favor over Outlook.com when it comes to features and adjacent functionality.

I can also chat with my Google+ friends straight from Gmail, whereas I'd be stuck with Facebook Messenger on Outlook.com. By implication I'd be an even more active Facebook user and we all know how much Zuckerberg's social network values our privacy. To me that's a huge no-go.

Many other people might be fooled into thinking Google is evil, or Scroogled would play into their existing suspicions that Google's claims "you can make money without doing evil" is just a ruse. In one TV commercial for Outlook.com, a couple discusses financial services ads appearing in Gmail. The man says, "So I get Scroogled. Why do you think we're having financial troubles". The insinuation is that somehow it's Google's fault.

In the early 2000s, Microsoft put Linux in its sights, with the "Get the Facts" campaign, which used similar tactics to create fear, uncertainty and doubt about the open-source OS.

My colleague Wayne believes that "whoever came up with the Scroogled campaign, is doing its best to turn the Redmond, Wash.-based technology giant into a petty, whining child, complaining about a rival rather than championing its own products". If I read the Microsoft spokesperson's statement right, there is much more whining to come.

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