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Microsoft and Google's Pathetic, Revealing and Frightening War

Google, Scroogle and Bing

 

If it wasn't so harmful, it would be funny: a marketing battle between the two technology giants Microsoft and Google over who lacks integrity and is exploitative. It's been going on for a while and with every thrust and block the thing becomes more grotesque and more revealing.

First, by way of introduction, well...you don't need an introduction.

If you're using Windows, your computer lives Microsoft. If you don't, you use a Microsoft product (like Word or some smaller program you don't notice on your desktop) or someone sends you stuff using one. You can't escape MicrosSoft if you use a computer.

Google is to your Internet life what Microsoft is to your workspace. Even if you don't use its increasingly popular Gmail program, you have used Google Search at some point. So prominent is our use of this resource that, in English, "google it" is now an accepted phrase. No, there is no Google-less life in this country.

So a marketing duel between these two fills the air with the very loud clanging of the very large swords.

And the loser is...usAnd the loser is...us

 

The latest thrust is Microsoft's campaign about "Scroogle": a term that meshes Google and Screwed, or maybe "Scrooge" (since it launched around last Christmas). It also pilfers the name of an alternative search engine (Scroogle Search) that went belly up last year. If it didn't steal someone else's idea, after all, it wouldn't be Microsoft.

In December, Microsoft began denouncing Google's charging for better rankings in its "shopping" searches and telling people they should use Bing (Microsoft's search engine) instead. That's right, when you do a "shopping" search on Google, it returns a list of search items from companies that pay Google. The more they pay, the higher they are in the returned search. If you click it you can read Google's admission about taking filthy lucre in return for returning a good search position.

Try it. Go to

Google's Shopping search

and put a product in the search box. You get a list of items arranged like any Google search and that little disclaimer to the right. It's advertising not searching and Google's microscopic link is legally compliant but not very transparent.

This month, Microsoft has a new campaign denouncing Google's email system, Gmail, for going through people's email and extracting information to be used for marketing research, advertising and sales. One of the most prominent campaign tools is a website:

Scroogle!

whose "Get the Facts" section explains what Gmail does. It's pretty horrible.

But none of this is new information and it is very doubtful that any of it is going to change market share. So, the question arises, why do this now? The answer is a lesson in the life of capitalism on the Internet.

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