Microsoft embraces a Google service for a change

May 14, 2013 by Michael Liedtke

Microsoft's disdain for Google doesn't extend to all of its rival's products. In a rare bit of cooperation, Microsoft's Outlook.com is giving users of its free email service the option of logging into Google Chat to exchange instant messages and engage in audio or video conversations.

The tie-in announced Tuesday represents an uneasy alliance in the midst of a typically contentious relationship between . and .

Microsoft is framing its embrace of Google Chat as an example of how it's trying to help connect people who rely on various services to interact with one another. Both Outlook.com and Google Chat are offered for free as way for Microsoft and Google to attract more online traffic to its advertising-supported services.

With the latest addition, Outlook.com accountholders will have three different ways to interact with their friends and family in real-time discussions. They have already been able to use Microsoft's own Skype and Facebook's . Microsoft closed its Messenger chat service earlier this year as part of a switchover to Skype, which the company bought for $8.5 billion in 2011.

Even as it offers Google Chat to its Outlook.com , Microsoft is warning consumers that Google's search engine and other services can't be trusted. The company has spending millions of dollars on a series of critical ads that began appearing online, in print and on television about six months ago.

Some of Microsoft's recent advertising attacks have been aimed at Google's Gmail, the foundation for Google Chat.

In a dubbed "Scroogled," Microsoft lambastes Gmail for scanning the texts of emails to decipher what's being discussed so ads on related topics can be displayed alongside the electronic conversations. While depicting Google as an obnoxious snoop, Microsoft's ads urge people to switch to the less intrusive approach of Outlook.com.

Since the service's debut nine years ago, Google has never tried to conceal that it uses computers to parse the discussions within Gmail correspondence.

No ads are shown in live discussions on Google Chat, but marketing messages can be displayed if the conversations are saved, according to Google's policies. As it does with Gmail, Google's computers scan the context of the saved chats to help pick out which ads to show.

That practice didn't deter Outlook.com from linking up with Google Chat.

"We do not have any queasiness about adding Google Chat," said Dharmesh Mehta, Outlook.com's senior director. "We think it's important to give people choice so they can make their email more personal. It also gives people one more reason to switch from Gmail to Outlook.com."

Microsoft believes it already has dented Gmail since it converted its Hotmail.com users and other email accounts operated under other domain names, such as MSN.com, to Outlook.com earlier this year.

The company, which is based in Redmond, Wash., says it now has about 400 million Outlook.com users. That's up from about 360 million users of Outlook.com and the Microsoft's other webmail services three months ago.

, which is based in Mountain View, California, says it has more than 425 million Gmail users.

Explore further: Android grabs more tablet market share

2 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hotmail is dead as Outlook.com takes over

May 03, 2013

Microsoft's Hotmail, the free webmail service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, was phased out Friday, as the US tech giant completed a rebranding to Outlook.com.

Google Apps synch to Microsoft Outlook email

Jun 10, 2009

Google on Tuesday synched applications available online as services with Outlook email programs, continuing a push into workplaces historically dominated by Microsoft software.

Recommended for you

Swiss drug maker Roche posts 7 percent profit drop

1 hour ago

(AP)—Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG on Thursday posted a net profit drop of 7 percent compared with a year ago, weighed down by a strong Swiss franc and charges from one of its diagnostic units.

Cheaper wireless plans cut into AT&T 2Q profit

12 hours ago

(AP)—AT&T Inc. on Wednesday posted lower net income for the latest quarter due to cheaper cellphone plans it introduced as a response to aggressive pricing from smaller competitor T-Mobile US.

Facebook 2Q earnings, revenue soar (Update)

12 hours ago

(AP)—Facebook is on a roll. The world's largest online social network posted sharply higher earnings on Wednesday as revenue from mobile advertising continued to grow, and more people used it, more often.

Android grabs more tablet market share

13 hours ago

Global sales of tablet computers edged higher in the second quarter, in the slowest growth since 2009, research firm Strategy Analytics said Wednesday.

Microsoft CEO sees 'bold' plan as 4Q tops Street

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella painted an upbeat vision of the future Tuesday, saying that the next version of Windows will be unified across screens of all sizes and that two money-losing units—Nokia ...

User comments : 0