Microsoft's anti-Google machine is churning again.
Earlier today, the company opened up an online shop selling a line of "Scroogled" merchandise, just in time for the holidays. Yes, Microsoft not only thinks you want a hoodie, hat, coffee mug and t-shirt emblazoned with anti-Google messaging, they think they can sell it to you.
"Keep calm while we steal your data," reads a line printed on the coffee mug and matching t-shirt. The mug is priced at a reasonable $7.99 while the t-shirt will set you back $11.99.
When reached via phone this afternoon, a Microsoft rep told Ad Age that the point of the shop is not to make money but rather to give consumers concerned with Google's privacy practices a way to express their feelings. "The Scroogled gear is a fun way for them to do that," he said.
While it may seem odd for a dignified company like Microsoft to gleefully hawk merchandise taking pot shots at one of its largest competitors, there's a long history here. As Ad Age reported earlier last month, Microsoft's "Scroogled" ad campaign has actually seen positive results, which may be emboldening them. Microsoft's behind-the-scenes war with Google has been going on for years; now privacy is a convenient proxy.
Of course, by opening the shop, Microsoft is also garnering another wave of free publicity for Scroogled. At the time of this writing, the direct link to the shop had been tweeted over 850 times, though many of the tweets were actually anti-Microsoft. "MS wants me to pay for their advertising?" wrote one detractor on Twitter. "Like I'll pay $20 to be a billboard for a lame ad campaign." Another was more blunt: "Microsoft has the worst Marketing Team in the world," he said.