Last summer, a video leaked to YouTube called Gmail Man (actually, O365 MGX Copy at the time). In the video, the "Gmail Man" was actually a mailman that walked around reading people's mail. He would then confront the people with ad keywords based on their mail.
"Sometimes, when a person loves their Gmail very very much, the two get together and an ad is born,” The Gmail Man says.
As the story goes, this thinly veiled attack was actually a product of Microsoft. The video leak came from the Microsoft Global Exchange sales conference, which occurred in July. It was apparently shown there as a sort of "rally the troops" exercise - everyone sitting around, having a laugh at the expense of the competition type thing.
But now, Microsoft has released the video officially on their YouTube channel and they are promoting it via Twitter and Facebook.
Here's the video, which appears to be unchanged from the leaked version. The point of it still seems to be advertising for Office 365.
As I mentioned before, this video isn't new - but Microsoft's official promotion of it is. And of course, the timing couldn't be more poignant.
Google quickly hit back, doing a little bit of mythbusting on their public policy blog. Here's a relevant snippet from that rebuttal that pertains to Gmail man:
Myth: Google reads your email. [Microsoft] Fact: No one reads your email but you. Like most major email providers, our computers scan messages to get rid of spam and malware, as well as show ads that are relevant to you.
Wherever you stand on all of this privacy battle business, you have to admit that Microsoft's Gmail Man ad is pretty funny.
Speaking of Gmail, one comedy group tackled the same kind of concerns with GMale, Google's perfect boyfriend: