Scroogled swag sells out as some buyers go for the gag

But there's no sign that the attack ad campaign has 'moved the needle,' say analysts

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Moorhead agreed. "While the research I've seen said [Scroogled] has been successful, there's no conclusion that it has had any sort of positive impact," Moorhead said.

That's not because Google doesn't have its detractors -- including Microsoft -- for its aggressive data collection habits, but that most people don't care, LaMotte argued.

"There is an issue, but it seems almost everyone is okay with it," said LaMotte. "Many people, generational issues aside, see [data collection] as beneficial to their experience. There's an Internet generation, and it's not age-specific, who are okay with a slight loss of privacy in return for a better experience, who don't look at everything as being nefarious. So Microsoft's campaign may be falling on deaf ears."

Microsoft has been hammering on Scroogled for a year now, with various attack-ad campaigns aimed at Google's privacy, advertising and data-devouring practices. The crusade was designed by Mark Penn, a longtime political and media strategist who was hired by Microsoft in mid-2012. Penn, who worked as an adviser to former President Bill Clinton during his administration and on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign, was credited by LaMotte with applying political- and activist-style tactics to technology marketing.

Google has declined to battle Microsoft directly over Scroogled, although it responded to the swag sale with a brief comment. "Microsoft's latest venture comes as no surprise; competition in the wearables space really is heating up," the company said in an emailed statement to Computerworld and other media outlets this week.

Google got in its own dig by citing "wearables," which the Mountain View, Calif. company meant to evoke its own Google Glass and compare that futuristic product with Microsoft's old-school hats and hoodies.

Moorhead tipped his figurative hat to Google for its reply. "Their No. 1 goal is to take the high road," Moorhead said. "They want to make it look like Scroogled is not that serious [of a threat], more like a fly bugging you."

But LaMotte countered, saying Google would be smart to just keep its collective lips zipped. "Its best strategy is just to remain silent, and let their supporters speak for them. If they [overtly] laughed in the face of Microsoft [and Scroogled], it could come back to hurt Google," LaMotte said. "It's a lot easier to make a foolish comment if you make any comments at all."

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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