Microsoft Targets Concerned Google Users With New Ad Campaign

In the wake of Google’s recent changes to its search and privacy policy, some users and industry observers have criticized the move as treading on shaky ground with regards to privacy. Now Microsoft, one of Google’s chief rivals, has decided to pounce on this shift in public sentiment by releasing an advertising campaign specifically designed to get users to switch.

The advertisement, set to appear in major U.S. newspapers every day this week, is titled “Putting people first” and focuses on how the search giant’s new changes affect you and your personal information. “Why are they so interested in doing this that they would risk this kind of backlash?” the ad asks. “One logical reason: Every data point they collect and connect to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser.” (You can take a look at the advertisement Microsoft’s TechNet blog.)

In a blog post announcing the new campaign, Microsoft’s Frank X. Shaw said, “The changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information. We take a different approachÂ… And to help remind people of these alternatives, we’re placing a series of ads in some major newspapers this week.”

Some naysayers might look at this new campaign as a mere stunt on Microsoft’s part, but the move has historical, and very effective precedent. Years ago, long before Apple was the most valuable company on the planet, the company waged exactly the same type of war against Microsoft with its “Switch” campaign. That multi-million dollar war of PC propaganda eventually gave rise to the “I’m a Mac” television commercial series that forced consumers to visualize the seemingly cool image of a Mac user versus a supposedly uncool PC user (played by John Hodgman).

Microsoft apparently now wants to be regarded as that trustworthy friend you’ve known for so long versus Google’s supposedly indiscriminate information grinder. The only problem with that calculus is that it wasn’t that long ago that Microsoft was seen in exactly the same light. The antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft that led to a settlement back in 2002 is still relatively fresh in the minds of many technology insiders.

Whether or not users decide to use Bing rather Google, Hotmail rather than Gmail, Word rather than Google Docs, or Explorer rather than Chrome will be another matter entirely. Much of that will hinge on the quality of the various offerings, as well as how many users believe their trust has been breached by a company (Google) that built its entire portfolio of services on the motto “don’t be evil.”

Furthermore, some will rightfully ask: Is Microsoft really treating user data in a more user-privacy-centric manner across all of its products compared to Google?

Yesterday, Google again defended its new privacy policy in a letter to members of Congress. For more, see Google’s Privacy Policy: A Wakeup Call, But That’s It, as well as the company’s biggest PR blunders slideshow below.

One year ago today, meanwhile, Google accused Microsoft of copying its search results, which Redmond denied.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

View Slideshow
See all (9) slides

Wi-Fi Data Collection

Android Malware


Antitrust Investigation

Article source:,2817,2399685,00.asp

Related Posts