This time around Microsoft’s head of PR Frank X. Shaw took it upon himself to attack one of his Google equivalents, Jill Hazelbaker, by way of sending out up to 140-character messages from his Twitter account.
While the two giant corporations are fierce rivals in various businesses, including online search and computer and mobile operating systems, to name some of the most important ones, this particular fight between senior PR execs was the result of a New York Times piece talking about a recent Microsoft hire, “Mark Penn, head of ‘strategic and special projects,” who’s in charge of campaigns such as the Scroogled one.
Shaw was particularly annoyed by a Hazelbaker quote from the story, and decided to fight back on Twitter, so everybody can follow:
In the NYT story, Hazelbaker said that Google also spends money on lobbying, but that it is different than Microsoft because “our focus is on Google and the positive impact our industry has on society, not the competition.”
So what did he write in return? Here are some of his best quotes:
So, @jillhazelbaker how about a little light? So far this year, Google has outspent Microsoft by a factor 2.3 to 1 lobbying.
@jillhazelbaker says Google not focused on competitors. She better let @ericschmidt know so he stops blaming us for all their problems.
Turns out if you shine a light on Google like we did via Scroogled, Gmail man, putting privacy first, they run for the shadows.
Want to talk about privacy? Name the time and place. And don’t sent the NYT next time. Or BusinessWeek. Use your own voice.
These tweets, and a few others, were published on Friday, and since then Google has not officially responded to them.
Is this fight important for Android or Windows Phone? Yes and no. Shaw only attacked Google’s search business and related practices in his tweets, but Search happens to be Google’s core business, which is therefore related to all its products, Android included. And it’s probably a matter of time until we see Penn come out with Windows Phone vs Android ads.
From the looks of it, at least according to NYT, more Microsoft campaigns will target Google in the near future. Apparently, Penn’s job is to target Google every which way possible with negative ads to convince consumers to choose Microsoft’s products over Google’s. But hey, that’s the game, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see the main players get rough with each other from time to time.
“Google should be prepared for everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them,” said a former colleague who worked closely with Mr. Penn in politics and spoke on condition of anonymity. “Actually, they should be prepared for the kitchen sink to be thrown at them, too.”
Hiring Mr. Penn demonstrates how seriously Microsoft is taking this fight, said Michael A. Cusumano, a business professor at M.I.T. who co-wrote a book about Microsoft’s browser war.
“They’re pulling out all the stops to do whatever they can to halt Google’s advance, just as their competition did to them,” Professor Cusumano said. “I suppose that if Microsoft can actually put a doubt in people’s mind that Google isn’t unbiased and has become some kind of evil empire, they might very well get results.”
This is certainly not the last episode in the Microsoft vs Google war – and the two are also engaged in some important patent-based lawsuits too – but the conflict is definitely on an escalating path, as the two giants fight for profit and market share some lucrative niches.