The launch of Windows 8, the release of their new tablet, the litigation with Motorola, it does seem as though Microsoft has enough on its plate to deal with for the time being. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case as the tech giant stirred another controversy by targeting Google. The Corporate Vice President of Corporate Communications of Microsoft, Frank X. Shaw tweeted about Google’s communication executive Jill Hazel Baker and her statements made in a recent article.
Shaw didn’t stop at one tweet. He went on making snide comments about Google and its alleged lobbying to retain control of the tech industry. The incident referred to Baker’s comments that Google was focused on its own business and not paying much heed to its competitors. Shaw picked that up and mentioned a statement made by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, in which he blamed Microsoft for the Antitrust Investigation launched against Google in Europe.
However, at no point did Schmidt go to the level that Shaw seems to be implying. He merely made a statement implying Microsoft’s involvement in the matter. Hence, it does appear as though Shaw went out of his way to criticize Google and Jill Hazel Baker in particular. As of now, there hasn’t been any word from Baker or anyone at Google’s communication department. Yet, one can get confused behind the motives Shaw had for making such a comment on social media for the entire world to see.
The probable reason for this is the ongoing Motorola vs. Microsoft patent lawsuit. Microsoft has been found to be using Motorola’s patents in a few devices and Motorola is demanding royalty for it. The amount is still under dispute and the judge will decide how much Microsoft would have to pay. As you would know, Motorola is owned by Google after it purchased it for $12.5 billion. Google’s purchase of Motorola Mobility is itself under investigation from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Hence, Shaw’s comment could have been made in light of the dispute going on in the court. The parties have failed to reach an agreement where they could settle on an amount to be paid by Microsoft each year. While this can be a probable cause, it is also being said that Mark Penn, the recently hired head of Strategic and Special Projects, could be the brains behind the attack on Twitter. Penn is already notorious for his negative marketing tactics which involves sliming competitors.
He first came to light in the 90s when his strategy of criticizing rivals rather than marketing the qualities of the company’s products became successful. He made millions of dollars and his presence in one of the key positions at Microsoft could very well be the reason why this new controversy has erupted. Still, it isn’t clear what Microsoft has to gain through Shaw’s tirade.
One critical issue which might get pushed into the background is regarding Microsoft’s allegation of Google’s lobbying. Shaw clearly stated that Google is spending a lot of money on lobbying to gain support for itself and continue its dominance of the market and industry. Google’s practices are the subject of an ongoing FTC investigation so it is difficult to understand why Shaw would go down that road.
The issue would only be cleared once Google makes a comment about it. Whether or not it has any impact on the Motorola patent trial or the holiday season sales for the companies remains to be seen. For now, both companies have enough issues to deal with without the mudslinging going on.
[Image via usatoday]