This week's war of words over software patents and Android has seen both Microsoft and Google get off some pretty good shots about Android and software patents. No matter who's really right here though, one thing's for certain: We're bored.
What Google thought was a shocking accusation of corporate skullduggery came off more like a little kid angry that his big brother had picked on him. Then Microsoft made matters worse with accusations of its own that seemed to boil down to nothing more than a childish "I know you are, but what am I?"
Tragically, this is far from the first time these two tech giants have gotten into a match of "he started it." Join us on a tour of Microsoft and Google's long history of he said/she said scrapes as we look back on five of the weirdest slapfests they've ever engaged in.
The Battle of Yahoo-2008-2009
Of all the companies Google and Microsoft could have warred over, Yahoo seems like a strange choice. And yet, that's exactly what happened several years ago. First, Google was a little too happy about the death of a proposed buyout of Yahoo by Microsoft in 2008. Then Redmond campaigned hard to kill a deal between Yahoo and Google in 2009. Later that year, Microsoft finally managed to buy out Yahoo for Bing, a search engine that still costs the company millions of dollars a year as it tries to use Bing to beat Google. Great work, guys.
Bing Bang Boom--2011
Of course that was just the start of the Bing drama between these two companies. According to a Google post earlier this year, Microsoft's Bing stole its search results. Microsoft denied the claim and then Google posted a response to the denial, and the fight began in earnest.
The truth, as usual, seemed to be somewhere in between. Bing does seem to be influenced by Google's public results in a roundabout way, but the search engine isn't stealing Google's results directly. Instead, Microsoft says the Google results come from tracking user data when a Bing searcher has ALSO used Google. Google does still have some reason to be upset but taking Microsoft to task over it, and so publicly, seemed pretty childish. The whole thing would have made Microsoft look pretty good by default of Redmond could keep from sinking to Google's level in so many other situations.
The E-Mail Wars--2011
Microsoft just this month struck a new low blow with a video entitled "The GMailman." The ad criticizes Google for "reading" your emails for its contextual ads and features a literal GMailman who goes through your correspondence. Since Microsoft didn't officially release the video (Redmond's word on if the video is actually a Microsoft production was a terse "no comment.") the best place to watch it is, ironically, YouTube.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.