Cat Fight: Microsoft Ads Attack Google’s Privacy Policy

Print campaign aimed at converting users

Microsoft's new print ad campaign that popped up Wednesday in three national newspapers takes shameless shots at Google's new privacy policy to try and lure new customers to its own competing services. Full-page ads will run through Friday, Feb. 3 in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

The campaign's timing is opportunistic. Since Google announced last week it was consolidating some 60 separate privacy practices into one main policy, the company has been under fire from privacy hawks and lawmakers concerned that the new approach will make it more difficult for people to protect their privacy.

"When we read the coverage last week, it was clear people were honestly wrestling with the choices that had been made for them and were looking for options or alternatives," wrote Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vp of communications in a blog post. "The changes Google announced make it harder, not easier, for people to stay in control of their own information. We take a different approach."

Microsoft's ad copy pulls no punches, accusing Google of making the changes just to please advertisers. "Every data point Google collects and connects to you increases how valuable you are to an advertiser," Microsoft says in the copy. "If these changes rub you the wrong way, please consider using our portfolio of award-winning products and services."

Microsoft’s attack on its arch-rival Google is nothing new. Ironically, though, Microsoft's privacy policy bears some strong resemblances to Google's new effort. Like Google, Microsoft also combines information collected from multiple services for advertising purposes. And like Google, users have to manage their personal information for each of Microsoft's services. Neither has a single opt-out button.