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Microsoft v. Google, Round Two: Email

Earlier this week, Microsoft aggressively started attacking Google for its new privacy rules, and while Google weakly responded to the attack (and did not in fact debunk any of the key Microsoft claims as some have claimed), Microsoft isn't letting up. Today, the software giant posted a second shot across Google's bow, complete with an accompanying newspaper ad. And today's topic is email.

"Picking an email service is an important decision, particularly if you care about your online privacy," Microsoft corporate VP Frank Shaw writes in a new post to the Official Microsoft Blog. "Today's newspaper ad (and this post) focus on email."

Here's the ad.


According to Microsoft, its email services, Hotmail and Office 365, are superior to Google's because:

Google reads your mail. Google tried to deny this yesterday in its own blog post-based response to the original Microsoft attack. But Microsoft's right. The claim is that "Google reads your email." Not "Google employees," but Google. If Google computers are scanning your email--which Google admits--then Google is, in fact, reading your email. And its doing so purely for the purpose of positioning ads next to your email. Gross.

Google Internet searches are tied to your Google ID. Google also completely glossed over this issue in yesterday's response. The Microsoft claim is that "people tend to stay logged into their email service throughout the day, so all Internet searches you do with Google become tied to that same identity."

YouTube video views are also tied to your Google ID. "Google recently claimed they 'aren't doing anything new,' [but] it’s clear from their letter to Congress that their new policy allows them to cross-index your YouTube viewing information with your Google search behavior (something their policies explicitly prevented them from doing until these changes)," Shaw writes.

I most enjoy Microsoft's central claim here, though: "Google has been trying to characterize the changes [to its privacy policy] as 'simpler,' 'easier' and 'more consistent' and ... keep trying to assert that they haven't made it any harder to control what gets collected about you. That is simply not true unless you want to sign out of your mail service every time you do a search, or watch a video."

The contrast with Hotmail and Office 365 is clear, Shaw asserts. Microsoft is not using the contents of your email to deliver ads. Microsoft is not linking your searches to your ID. And videos you view on YouTube aren't linked to anything Microsoft related, ever.

As you may know, I recently completed my own migration from Gmail/Google Calendar to Hotmail, and while my own move was unrelated to such concerns, this is probably a good time to remind you of my recent articles related to this topic:

Also, I've been writing about using Office 365 from the standpoint of an individual, IT pro, or very small businesses. Those articles may also be of interest:

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