Through the campaign, Microsoft asks users to switch to its own free email service Outlook.com, which it claims "doesn't go through the content of users' emails to show ads." It also asks users to sign an online petition against Gmail to let Google know that "going through personal email messages to sell ads is unacceptable."
On its website, Google says, "In Gmail, most of the ads we show appear next to an open email message and are related to the contents of the current email conversation or thread." Microsoft explains this with a host of examples on its website Scroogled.com. One example is Google advertising details of divorce lawyers to a woman who has emailed to her friend that she is separating from her husband.
The maker of Windows operating system says Google has not given users the choice to not show their private emails to the company. It also highlighted that the internet search giant currently faces six class-action lawsuits because of its practice of sifting through subscribers' emails.
Microsoft said, "We honour the privacy of our Outlook.com users, and we are concerned that Google violates that privacy every time an Outlook.com user exchanges messages with someone on Gmail. This campaign is as much about protecting Outlook.com users from Gmail as it is about making sure Gmail users know what Google's doing."
Citing a GfK Roper study it commissioned, Microsoft states that 70% of email users in US are unaware that major email providers routinely engage in the practice of reading through their personal email to sell ads. When informed of the same, 88% of the people disapprove of this practice.
Microsoft recently also took on Google Shopping for offering users' skewed choices.