Google accuses Microsoft of 'naked corporate opportunism' over recent comments

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Microsoft logo (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google today accused Microsoft of "naked corporate opportunism" over recent critiques the latter had leveled.
  • The company claimed Microsoft was trying to distract from its failures in the Solar Winds breach.
  • Google had previously called Microsoft out over its eagerness to impose what it dubbed an "unworkable levy".

Google and Microsoft have been exchanging barbs over the past couple of weeks. Microsoft first took the chance to rebuke Google over its threat to leave Australia back in February. The most recent straw that broke the cattle's back appears to have come this week, with Microsoft President Brad Smith critiquing Google's alleged monopolistic practices.

Google has in the past criticized Microsoft over its eagerness to "impose an unworkable levy on a rival", but today Google's Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs, penned a more comprehensive response.

In a scathing blog post shared today, Walker accused Microsoft of "naked corporate opportunism" and claimed its recent criticism amounted to no more than a distraction.

In a particularly pointed paragraph, Google's Walker outlined a list of Microsoft's most recent fumbles.

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 called out Microsoft for its support for journalists or lack thereof. The company replaced many of its MSN staff with AI bots in 2020, a move that was criticized for coming in the middle of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It also led to an incident where MSN's software confused two multi-racial singers in the UK girl group, Little Mix. Of course, if Google is interested in talking about AI and ethics, perhaps Timnit Gebru could give them a pointer or two.

Michael Allison