SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft Corp. is taking another swipe at Gmail with a campaign to encourage people to dump Gmail for Outlook.com over privacy concerns.
The Redmond, Wash., technology giant is drawing new attention to an old issue: Gmail scans the content of personal emails in order to better target ads. Microsoft is pushing a new poll it commissioned that found that nearly 9 in 10 Americans disapprove of the practice. Seven in 10 Americans said they didn't believe or didn't know that any major email service provider did that, according to the poll.
Microsoft is using the poll results to bash its arch rival Google Inc. and promote its own email service. Microsoft scans email to filter spam or detect malware but says it does not scan email to target ads.
The practice of scanning emails to target ads has alienated some users since Gmail launched in 2004 despite repeated assurances from Google that it's an automated process that looks for keywords to display relevant ads but does not invade their privacy. Complaints over the practice have been aired in recent litigation against Google.
Microsoft Attacks Google on Gmail Privacy (New York Times (blog))
Microsoft Revives Critiques of Google's Gmail (Wall Street Journal (blog))
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