Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

Summary: Microsoft managed to keep its 12,000 or so attendees of its annual Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference from tweeting and blogging company secrets last week. But at least one enterprising attendee managed to grab one of those infamous sales videos that the company loves to show at these events.

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Microsoft managed to keep its 12,000 or so attendees of its annual Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference from tweeting and blogging company secrets last week. But at least one enterprising attendee managed to grab one of those infamous sales videos that the company loves to show at these events.

On July 20 during the MGX opening sessions, the Softies showed off their "Gmail Man" spoof, meant to spur the troops selling Office 365 against Google Apps, and specifically, Gmail. In the video, Gmail man riffles through mail to find keywords for serving up ads. The message: Google cares more about advertising revenues than privacy.

Remember the whole "Gmail ads learning from your inbox" thing?  Google has acknowledged that Gmail scans content and context of email as part of its ad system. And just today (thanks to @johnobeto), I saw this story about a reporter's Google+ experience setting off more privacy alarm bells. (Makes me glad I'm still taking a wait-and-see-if-it's-still-around-in-a-few-months approach to G+.)

I asked Microsoft whether the video is legit and received an official no comment. I have to say I think it's the real deal. It has all the hallmarks of a real Microsoft production, including the fact that the name on the company doors that Gmail man opens when visiting an office is  Contoso Ltd. As Microsoft customers, partners and watchers know all too well, Contoso is Microsoft's favorite fake company name, and is used in demos for all kinds of Microsoft products.

Here's the Gmail man video clip, which the aforementioned attendee shared with me and gave me permission to post on YouTube and share:

The punch line: "Your email is your business. Google makes it theirs."

There's been a lot of back-and-forth between Microsoft and Google in the Office 365 vs. Google Apps cloud app-suite debate. The two have taken pot shots at their competitor's feature set, uptime record, pricing models and more. They've also both taken to publicizing their respective customer wins/steals from one another.

The thing to remember about Microsoft MGX videos are they're just a means of revving up the sales troops. -- kind of like what Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner did with his one-liners at Microsoft's recent Worldwide Partner Conference. They are NOT meant to be a sales tool for customer calls. (Fixed. I forgot the word NOT in my original.)

Still, it's interesting to see what the Softies are focusing on, in terms of their sales messages....

Update (July 29): Google officials want it known, for the record, that there aren't ads in Google Apps for Business. "But admins can choose to enable the ads if they want- some find them useful," a Google spokesperson noted.

See also:

Topics: Apps, Browser, Cloud, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Google, Microsoft

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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300 comments
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  • If you don't pay for a service, you are the product.

    Plain and simple.
    Bruizer
    • And if you do pay for it do you think they don't still rifle through all

      your docs? wake up!
      Johnny Vegas
      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

        @Johnny Vegas
        If you read his comment he is not specifying either company. Truth is they both probably rifle through all of your docs.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

        @Johnny Vegas ... to use almost any online service in existence you have to agree to ToS that state that you grant them that right, payed or not, you give them the right to look at your stuff.
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      • Rick_K. Apple is the Good guy in this aspect.

        They don't read your email, they simply don't allow you to do anything that is not Apple driven.
        It's the OS for the insecure little people who think Papa Jobs running their virutal life is just the sh*t.
        Now I didn't say they can't think for themselves. But since I can think for myself, it sure does seem like that is one of the motivating factors for Apple fanbois like you.
        ha ha. Just kidding there Ricky. Don't go into super Apple RDF defensive posture.
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      • Re:And if you do pay for it do you think they don't still rifle through all

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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      • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

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    • RE: Microsoft's latest Google-compete weapon: The Gmail man

      @Bruizer

      do you watch those free channels in TV? or are you begging to pay for those free channels?
      lanjian45
      • Difference between targeted VS demographic ads

        @lanjian45

        Nice attempt at deflection but it was a FAIL.
        Bruizer