SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft is trying to skewer Google as a lousy holiday shopping guide in its latest attempt to divert more traffic to its Bing search engine.
The attack started Wednesday with a marketing campaign focused on a recent change in the way Google operates the part of its search engine devoted to shopping results. The revisions require merchants to pay Google to have their products listed in the shopping section.
In its new ads, Microsoft Corp. contends the new approach betrays Google Inc.'s longstanding commitment to provide the most trustworthy results on the Web, even if it means foregoing revenue. To punctuate its point, Microsoft is warning consumers that they risk getting "scroogled" if they rely on Google's shopping search service.
The message will be highlighted in TV commercials scheduled to run on NBC and CNN and newspaper ads in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. The blitz also will appear on billboards and online, anchored by a new website, Scroogled.com.
The barbs are injecting more antagonism into an already bitter rivalry between two of the world's best-known and most powerful technology companies. Google defends the fee-based approach as a way to encourage merchants to provide more comprehensive and accurate information about what they're selling.
"I think you just get a well-organized set of product information, ways to buy it, and really have a great experience there," CEO Larry Page said last month.