Microsoft’s Bogus Attack On Google’s Privacy Policy

Microsoft, the abusive monopoly in the Desktop segment, is slamming Google for its recent policy changes through an ad campaign claiming that Microsoft puts user ahead. Which, too me and many other is further from the reality. [A very good analysis by Danny Sullivan]

While Google is trying to simplify things for users so they know about the privacy policies, Microsoft has its privacy policies spread out so its very hard to understand what your rights are and how much control you really have.

Microsoft has also slammed Google in a blog post. Frank X. Shaw Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications, Microsoft slams Google and endorses Hotmal.

“Hotmail: Join the hundreds of millions of people who enjoy not worrying about the content of their private e-mails being used to serve ads.”

But when you go to join the Hotmail, you will have to go from one page to another to actually understand how much control Microsoft (and now you) have over your content. When you click on the Privacy Statement, you will land on this page, where you will be left to figure out which link to click on. Clicking on this link and scrolling through the long page you might notice this line:

Most of the online advertisements on Microsoft sites are displayed by Microsoft Advertising. When we display online advertisements to you, we will place one or more persistent cookies on your computer in order to recognize your computer each time we display an ad to you. Because we serve advertisements on our own websites as well as those of our advertising and publisher partners, we are able to compile information over time about the types of pages, content and ads you, or others who are using your computer, visited or viewed. This information is used for many purposes, for example, it helps us try to ensure that you do not see the same advertisements over and over again. We also use this information to help select and display targeted advertisements that we believe may be of interest to you.

And someone was telling me that you could enjoy Hotmail, “not worrying about the content of their private e-mails being used to serve ads.”

When you read Microsoft Advertising Privacy Supplement you will find:

When we display online advertisements to you, we will place one or more persistent cookies on your computer or device in order to recognize your computer or device each time we display an ad to you. The information we collect includes, but may not be limited to, your computer’s or device’s IP address, our cookie IDs, browser type and language, operating system, website URLs, the specific ad posted on the site, and the date and time of delivery. If you click on the advertisement, we will also collect and store that action. Because we may serve advertisements on many different Web sites, we are able to compile information over time about where you, or others who are using your computer, saw and/or clicked on the advertisements we display. The cookies we use for delivering advertisements have an expiry date of no more than 2 years.

We may also place Web beacons (also called action tags or clear gifs) on our sites and in the advertisements we deliver, and we may provide our beacons to our advertising partners to place on their own Web sites. We may also include Web beacons in promotional e-mail messages or newsletters in order to determine whether messages have been opened and acted upon. Our beacons allow us to place or read our cookies and gather information about your subsequent visit, purchase or other activity on our sites and on the advertisers’ Web sites. Microsoft and our advertising partners may use this information to determine the effectiveness of the advertisements and to show you ads based on your previous interactions with the site where the beacon is placed.

Let’s see how good are other products as Shaw talks about them.

Bing: The search engine that gives you great experiences using the whole Web.

Bing was accused of copying Google’s results. We also found that Bing was filtering results related to open source projects.

Then Shaw talks about Office 365:

Office 365: The award-winning online collaboration solution for businesses who don’t want their documents and mail used to benefit advertisers.

Office 365 has been under fire ever since its announcement due to massive downtime. The service was down for more than 2 hours, Google performance is far better than this.

The cherry on the cake was the mention of IE.

Internet Explorer: The world’s most popular browser, now with Tracking Protection, offering controls over your privacy as you browse.

In user’s eyes it is the most insecure web browser in the world. Microsoft technologies causes loss and theft of data every year. Do you remember the attacks on US corporations including Google to extract information about Chinese human rights activist. Google protested and threatened to shut down Chinese operations. Microsoft tried to seize the opportunity by offering China the kind of censorship they wanted and joined hands with Baidu. Did anyone tell you that alleged Chinese hackers used Microsoft’s IE to attack US companies? Using IE is like hanging your keys on the door knob outside your door.

Google Is Making Life Easier
Google is trying to make it simpler for users to understand about privacy issues. Microsoft claims as if users are helpless, which is not true. You can very easily opt out of Google’s ad targetting as well as prevent Google for logging your search history.

Microsoft Is By Force, Google Is By Choice
Is Microsoft really about people? When I install Google Chrome and run it for the first time, the first option I get is to choose from the preferred search engine which features — Bing, Yahoo! and Google. Where as if you are running IE, it comes with Bing search as default and its close to impossible for a user to replace Bing with Google.

Microsoft sits on ~ 90% of the PC market and every PC comes with IE pre-installed which has Bing as the default search engine. The rising share of Google Chrome and Firefox is a clear indication that people don’t want to use Microsoft products. They consciously go and download Firefox and Chrome. Despite Bing as the default engine they consciously go to Google.

People use Microsoft products because they are forced on them. They use Google by choice.

Do we need more evidence of who puts users ahead?

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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