Do you guys remember the silly "Scroogled" advertising campaign that Microsoft so foolishly embarked upon last year? One part of it ended up back-firing on them big time when their anti-Google blog thread got co-opted by Android fans talking about their negative experiences with Microsoft products (you can find our previous coveragehere). Apparently, Microsoft follows the old saying, "If at first you don't succeed... try, try again." This time, however, they aren't going after Google with a negative advertising campaign. Instead, they are lobbying Congress in an attempt to get legislation passed that will indirectly keep free Google apps out of schools.
If you are scratching your head at that, just keep in mind that the bulk of Microsoft's business comes from Microsoft Office products. If Google's free office apps end up taking over in our various schools, that would put a big dent in Microsoft's profits. What's really eye-opening is the sneaky way that Microsoft is going about trying to make this happen. Here's a quote with the details,
Doesn't this just seem like an act of desperation from the folks at Redmond? Since when does Microsoft need to compete by locking their competitors out of the marketplace by abusing the legal system? Oh right, now that they are practically buddies, Microsoft must be using Apple's playbook...Microsoft is pushing a bill in the Massachusetts state legislature that ”would prohibit companies that provide schools with ‘a cloud-computing’ service… from using the information gleaned from schoolchildren for advertising or other commercial purposes.” While this sounds innocuous enough, the Journal says that it’s being crafted “to take aim at Google’s growing business of providing basic software like email and word processing over the Internet, which, in turn, is a growing threat to Microsoft’s cash-cow suite of Office tools.”
The issue, however, is that it doesn’t seem that Google’s Apps for Education service uses any advertising at all despite being free of charge for schools. In fact, a Google spokesperson tells the Journal that Google only uses “student data to fine-tune spam filtering and sort emails for features like ‘priority inbox.’ “
While it’s possible that Google could require the use of ads once schools’ Apps for Education service agreements end, the company says it has no plans to do so at this time. However, this isn’t stopping Microsoft from trying to convince schools that Google Apps is too scary for students to use.