Last year Microsoft created the ‘GMail Man’ spoof commercial (I’ve included it at the bottom), that cast things that are completely true — that Google has programs that ‘read’ your email and target you with advertisements based on keywords found in your messages — in a completely creepy way by personalizing the scanner. The intent was obvious – show personal and especially business users that their sensitive personal data and intellectual property was anything but safe in GMail.
Now they are back again, this time looking at Google Apps. Again Google is personified as an overly happy and self-confident man with no concern for what others think. But this time there is clear ‘Mad Men’ look about the character as he strolls into a corporate office, talking about how after years in advertising he has developed some productivity apps the company should try.
This targets Google in two ways. First, they push the same issue as I keep saying that Google is not a tech company but an ad agency. This is a simple truth – if you are a publicly traded for-profit company that gets 95% of revenue from advertising, you are an ad agency. Period.
The second way they target Google is the way that Google uses a ‘release now, fix later, change whenever, kill if they want’ software model. Microsoft stresses that sort of thing simply won’t fly in a corporate market. And they are completely right. I am amazed at how many people don’t get that – but I assume that those who don’t mind must work in small offices or for tech companies.
The majority of jobs are not in tech companies, and most people who work are simply accomplishing tasks. Messing with their core productivity tools means a loss of productivity, plain and simple. If core software providers did the crap that Google has done to ALL of their products (e.g., can no longer directly search in folders in Reader, removed the sharing functions and so on) in a real corporate program, that would cost tons of money in productivity.
As for Microsoft themselves … well, it is nice they are doing cute commercials, but they might better focus on survival as the world transitions away from their traditional strong areas.