Google accuses Microsoft of using 'naked corporate opportunism' to distract from SolarWinds hack

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What you need to know

  • Google's Kent Walker takes a scathing shot at Microsoft in a post about recent media laws.
  • Walker says that Microsoft is "reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests."
  • He also claims that Microsoft's push regarding media laws is a distraction tactic from the SolarWinds attack.

Google and Microsoft have a love-hate relationship. You can mark today in the hate column, as Kent Walker, senior vice president, Global Affairs at Google, penned a scathing blog post about Microsoft on Google's Keyword platform. The post attack's Microsoft's actions regarding recent media laws and claims that Microsoft is trying to distract people from the recent SolarWinds attack.

Walker starts out by highlighting how much Google has supported journalists.

He then shifts to speak about Microsoft directly (emphasis added):

We also believe that this important debate should be about the substance of the issue, and not derailed by naked corporate opportunism … which brings us to Microsoft's sudden interest in this discussion. We respect Microsoft's success and we compete hard with them in cloud computing, search, productivity apps, video conferencing, email and many other areas. Unfortunately, as competition in these areas intensifies, they are reverting to their familiar playbook of attacking rivals and lobbying for regulations that benefit their own interests. They are now making self-serving claims and are even willing to break the way the open web works in an effort to undercut a rival. And their claims about our business and how we work with news publishers are just plain wrong.

Walker also believes that the recent push from Microsoft in this area is a tactic to distract people from the recent SolarWinds attacks:

This latest attack marks a return to Microsoft's longtime practices. And it's no coincidence that Microsoft's newfound interest in attacking us comes on the heels of the SolarWinds attack and at a moment when they've allowed tens of thousands of their customers — including government agencies in the U.S., NATO allies, banks, nonprofits, telecommunications providers, public utilities, police, fire and rescue units, hospitals and, presumably, news organizations — to be actively hacked via major Microsoft vulnerabilities. Microsoft was warned about the vulnerabilities in their system, knew they were being exploited, and are now doing damage control while their customers scramble to pick up the pieces from what has been dubbed the Great Email Robbery. So maybe it's not surprising to see them dusting off the old diversionary Scroogled playbook.

Walker also discusses how Microsoft replaced journalists with AI bots.

It's safe to say that this isn't the last that we'll hear from Google and Microsoft on this topic.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

17 Comments
  • Maybe Google should add something to their 'Killed by Google' to make themselves feel better again. As soon Microsoft is in the spotlight for something, Google is right there to jab like a stalker.
  • Google is a scummy company and everyone should know that. This only proves it.
  • Google slowly killing itself from the inside with terrible employee relations.
    They’ve got nothing other than advertising providing revenue. No other innovation of note.
    Privacy menace. A really repugnant company who I tried to avoid where possible.
  • Someone is felling a bit stressed
  • Two words: Petty, Immature. You'd expect this from a scummy, petty politician or a immature and spoilt adult - sometimes a spoilt and immature adult can become a scummy and petty poltician. "Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reason". This again proves Google is no better than a scummy politician.
  • Google deserves everything that's happening to them.
  • For sure, it's the tactica.
  • Mega Trillion $$$ company attacked Mega Trillion $$$ company because they're not playing fair about how to hoover up and horde all the worlds wealth...oh dear. Man, the balls on these companies. Whenever I hear Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple or Amazon complaining about absolutely anything I immediately reach for the worlds smallest violin. What a bunch of aholes
  • You should include the eloquently worded speech Brad Smith of Microsoft gave to the antitrust committee as context, it accurately describes Google's predatory behavior.
  • The core difference in Google's interests and Microsoft's interests stems from where their revenue comes: MS revenue comes mainly from selling software and services to it's customers. They make money by having good software to sell. Google's comes mainly from selling user data and user access (eyeballs) to its customers, advertisers. They make money by displaying ads and having as much content from others as possible to increase their traffic and usage. This doesn't necessarily mean that Google doesn't care about its users (in fact it needs its users to be able to sell them to its customers), but certainly Google doesn't have as strong an incentive to care about its users as Microsoft does. Because they're not selling any original content, just scooping up as much content from others as possible, of course they don't want to pay for it.
  • I understand Google is butt-hurt, being on the other end of the anti-trust stick that they used so efficiently against Microsoft previously. But ... what exactly is Microsoft's culpability for the Solarwinds hack? I don't even really understand that part pf his temper tantrum.
  • Yeah. Solarwinds had people break in (presumably via a firewall, normally Linux/BSD almost certainly non Windows based) and had some code modified with a Trojan inserted.
    How is that MS’s fault.
  • All software is susceptible to being manipulated for nefarious reasons. MSFT was hacked. Did MSFT identify the problem and figure out a solution? Sure. Should they have found the people, before it was detected and exploited? Sure. But we are all human and mistakes happen. If this keeps happening to MSFT software and more customers are injured, then MSFT will lose customers. But this is true for any business. Google on the other hand is in trouble because they want to control how journalists distributed their information. Do I care if the NY Times, Wash Post, and others feel injured by Google's policies? No. these are all big boys that can manage their own affairs without much government intervention. But if I want to set up my own newspaper and author stories about local or national events, and google controls how my information is (or is not) distributed and I have no recourse on Google's policies, then how do I distribute my stories over the internet? So, the SolarWinds hack has nothing really to do with the question being discussed. Who should control the information individuals and businesses create and distribute? The people that write the algorithms at Google or a set of laws saying what is and is not permissible by companies providing search services via the internet?
  • My hate is growing stronger towards Google. As they kill off their expedition app that powers My schools virtual reality goggles. 10k grant down the tubes... WTH google, thank God we are dumping google classroom for a proprietary app. Now if we can kill off google services altogether.
  • So not just Twitter-folk, but even Corporate PR resorts to whataboutism
  • WTF Google! 🤣 One of the worst companies ever existed. Wish they dissapear soon.
  • Google is not the worst company ever. They are just taking advantage of the current market conditions (that have persisted for several decades) to maintain their monopoly over search to drive people to their search results making a ton of money. How you break their monopoly is a question I am not prepared to answer. But I am sure with enough deliberation by all interested parties, a solution can be found, that will be good for the market and thus the people of the country. How this plays out around the world in other countries and under other legal structures, is beyond my paygrade. Does the EU have the same goals as the US, China, Russia, or Japan? Doubtful. But each country can control their own legal solution,.