I am aware of my reputation in these parts — you all think of me as a Microsoft hater, though I’ve also been called a fanboy, neither of which is something I’ve ever quite figured out. The truth be known, I just like what works, and what is best for the job at hand, be it Windows, Android or Chrome OS — and yes, I use them all, and even FreeNAS to boot. However, I have made no secret of my loathing of the ridiculous Scroogled campaign by Microsoft, a series of ads that have done little more than embarrass a once proud company, spew lies, and make a general mockery of things.
Well, now it seems that Microsoft plans to become the Scroogler (is that a word?). If a recent report in the Washington Post is to be believed, and I think there is a fair chance of that, then the company is preparing to hand over user data from Xbox customers in the name of money, thereby feeding out political ads to its loyal followers. These ads are being sold to politicians, with an aim at profit as mid-term elections approach. “To plug the idea, Microsoft officials handed out promotional materials Thursday at CPAC, the annual conference for conservatives”, the newspaper reports.
These ads would appear on the Xbox Live Dashboard, but also within other Microsoft products such as Skype and MSN, and according to the report, “combine Microsoft user IDs and other public data to build a profile of Xbox users”.
All of this is far from being new. Tech companies, including Microsoft, have rallied political support in the past. However, in the face of the campaign against the search giant, this just lends to the disingenuous feeling of the entire Scroogled campaign. Apparently Microsoft feels it is okay for it to hire political operatives like Mark Penn and sell out it’s own customers, one political ad at a time, but heaven forbid Google show you a targeted ad in Gmail.
Let’s hope this isn’t true, but prepare for the worst.