Sep. 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM ET
A new Microsoft campaign focuses on Google's recent FTC fine and suggests that Bing is a better option for Safari users concerned about privacy. It's the second big push against Google made recently by the smaller search engine.
Google recently was fined $22.5 million by the FTC, the largest fine ever issued by the commission, for tracking Safari users by what some might call non-traditional means. Some pointed out at the time that the only reason those means worked was because Apple's browser was dangerously out of date on security practices, leading to unexpected behavior by Google's ordinary tracking cookies.
But the FTC didn't see it that way, and consequently Google's reputation and wallet both took a hit. Now Microsoft is pressing this windfall advantage further, emphasizing Google's bad behavior and saying privacy-conscious Safari users should switch to Bing.
The campaign doesn't have much of an audience: Safari only accounts for around seven percent of desktop browser users. Where Safari is strong is in tablets, where it is the strictly-enforced default browser on every iPad. But despite the modest benefits promised by the campaign, Microsoft clearly feels it is a good opportunity to strike.
At the moment, there doesn't appear to be a way to reach the page other than directly; the Bing search page itself does not show it, even when you click on "Privacy," although a link to Microsoft's previous effort to get Google users to switch does appear at the top.
Microsoft provided the following statement (from Bing's Senior Director, Stefan Weitz) to NBC News, but did not elaborate on its strategy or plans for future campaigns when asked:
There is a clear choice for customers between Bing and Google, and part of marketing is making sure customers are aware of their choices. Earlier this year, we showed a more open approach to social search, where Google favors only its own G+ information. We recently launched the Bing challenge, to show customers that the quality of Bing's web search results had surpassed Google's. This is a small online campaign designed to make Safari users aware that Google had circumvented Safari's privacy settings, which resulted in the FTC's largest penalty in the agency's history. In all these cases, our goal is to make customers aware of the facts, and let them know that Bing is a great alternative to Google.
via The Next Web
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.