Google's Funny, Smug Response to Microsoft's Anti-Google T-Shirts

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Nov. 21 2013 2:30 PM

Google Is Amused by Microsoft's Anti-Google T-Shirts

Keep calm while we steal your data t-shirt
Microsoft's foray into "wearables."

Image via MicrosoftStore.com

This week, Microsoft unveiled a full line of anti-Google paraphernalia, including T-shirts, ballcaps, and coffee mugs with insignia such as "Scroogled" and "Keep calm while we steal your data." Pointed, yes. Subtle, not so much.

Microsoft now has a blog post about the apparel line, which they're calling the Scroogled Store, and a Microsoft spokesperson got back to me by phone today. Here's what he said:

What we've found is that this Scroogled campaign has struck a chord with consumers. They really are concerned with the way Google treats them and their privacy. Hundreds of thousansd of people have signed a petition, and millions have visited the website. The T-shirts and the mugs are just a way for people to express their concerns with Google in a different way, but sort of a fun way. 
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I also asked Google for comment, and today the company's press people replied by email with a brief barb that suggests they're rather enjoying this:

Microsoft's latest venture comes as no surprise; competition in the wearables space is really heating up.

I compared Microsoft's scramble for the moral high ground to a beaten sports team claiming a "moral victory." To stick with the sports analogies, Google's statement strikes me as the equivalent of responding to a rival's taunt by smirking and pointing at the scoreboard. In the wearable-technology category, that scoreboard right now reads Google 1, Microsoft 0.

Of course, the game isn't over just yet. Popcorn, anyone?

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.