Microsoft’s latest Google dig is a comic “Gmail Man” parody video.
The video was revealed at Microsoft’s internal MGX conference on July 20 and depicts a “Gmail Man” who pokes his nose in your business. “Your email is your business,” states Microsoft. “Google makes it theirs.” The video is designed to pit Microsoft’s Office 365 product against Google Apps and Gmail. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley spotted the video but Microsoft refused to comment on its authenticity. However, there are references to Contoso Ltd within the video, a fake company that Microsoft uses in marketing and training materials.
The two companies have taken pot shots at each other over the past year. Microsoft has stated that Google Apps includes a “Google Tax.“ The company’s senior director of Microsoft Online Services, Tom Rizzo, previously claimed Google is failing in the enterprise. “Let Google say we’re way behind as we continue gobbling up enterprise customers. Let Google underestimate us. They’ll be shocked when they see all the momentum we have inside this space.” The ill feeling between the two companies continued this year when Google kicked off a search engine war of words. Search Engine Land posted a broad investigation into what Google claimed was Bing cheating search results. Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow who works on the company’s search engine ranking algorithm claimed that Bing was simply copying Google’s results. Google allegedly caught Microsoft’s copying by creating a “Bing Sting.” The search giant created one-time code that would manually rank a page for a certain term and create around 100 synthetic searches searches that hardly anyone would ever enter into Google. The searches returned little or no results on Google or Bing but Google created a special honeypot page to show at the top of each synthetic results page. The result? Bing started listing the random queries only a few weeks after Google began listing them.
Microsoft was quick to deny Google’s claims with a blog post entitled “Thoughts on search quality.” Microsoft’s Harry Shum simply shrugged off Google’s claims as part of over 1,000 different signals and features in Bing’s ranking algorithm. Google wasn’t happy leaving it at just that though. Amit Singhal published a Google company blog postentitled “Microsoft’s Bing uses Google search results—and denies it.” The blog post outlines much of the original report from Search Engine Land but also called Bing’s search results stale and a “cheap imitation” of Google results. Microsoft and Google employees also traded jibes over Twitter. Microsoft eventually “set the record straight” and both companies swept the incident under the carpet.
However, the feud came to a head recently when Microsoft filed an E.U. antitrust complaint against Google. The complaint is part of an ongoing investigation in the EU into whether Google has violated European competition law. Microsoft’s concerns center around the following:
- Google acquired YouTube – puts in place technical measures to restrict competing search engines
- Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube
- Google is seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers
- Google is restricting advertisers from accessing their own data
- Google contractually blocks leading Web sites in Europe from distributing competing search boxes
- Google discriminates against would-be competitors by making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements
The most recent example of Microsoft vs Google came in early April when Microsoft posted a stinging blog post publicly attacking Google. Microsoft’s claimed that Google had mislead its customers by claiming it has been certified under the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA). Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President & Deputy General Counsel David Howard, explained that the United States Department of Justice had rejected Google’s claim that Google Apps for Government, Google’s cloud-based suite for government customers, had been certified under the FISMA. “So why did Google tell governments and the public that Google Apps for Government was FISMA certified even before it had applied for that certification? We’ll have to wait for Google to tell us what they were thinking,” said Howard in his original blog post. Google claims Microsoft’s blog post was breathless and irresponsible. “We’ve been open and transparent with the government, and it’s irresponsible for Microsoft to suggest otherwise,” said a Google spokesperson.
Microsoft also posted an Office 365 vs Google Apps comparison in April. The software giant created a mini-site to compare its Word Web App against Google Docs. Microsoft highlighted several inconsistencies when the same Word file is saved on Windows Live SkyDrive (or SharePoint) and Google Apps. Microsoft will likely continue the attacks on Google to convince business users to switch to or adopt Office 365. Check-out the Gmail Man video below.