Microsoft attacks Gmail in revived 'Scroogled' campaign


So you thought that Microsoft was done lambasting Google with its "Scroogled" ad campaign? Surprise, the company is back with a new "seven figure" offensive, railing against Google’s practice of serving ads based on the body text of your Gmail messages. Under the tagline "Think Google respects your privacy? Think again," Microsoft explains how its own Outlook.com "prioritizes privacy," while Google "goes through your personal email" to sell ads.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has called out Gmail

This isn't the first time Microsoft has called out Gmail. Last year, it took out a full-page ad in national newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal levying the same criticisms around privacy. And while its Gmail Man spoof ad was reportedly meant for internal eyes only, Microsoft ended up making it public, putting it on its official YouTube and Facebook pages earlier in the year.

Microsoft points out that 70 percent of users don’t know that email providers "read" their emails to sell ads, and that 88 percent of people disapprove of the practice. But the distinction between the two companies’ services isn’t quite so cut and dried when you consider that Microsoft does tailor Outlook.com ads based on the subject lines of emails, as The Wall Street Journal points out. Check below for two new videos that Microsoft put together to try and make its case — the company wouldn’t answer if they were the work of recent hire (and former Clinton strategist) Mark Penn, but there's a definite political attack ad flair. We wonder if the decision to take another swing at Gmail has anything to do with Google's decision to drop Exchange ActiveSync support last month.

Update: Microsoft has confirmed to The Verge that, despite The Wall Street Journal's report, it does not scan subject lines of emails to target ads at users.

The Verge
Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.