SEATTLE (CBS Seattle) — Microsoft is taking aim at rival Google with its latest brand of “Scroogled” merchandise.

Microsoft is offering hats, shirts and mugs that take pot shots at Google, claiming that the company reads Gmail users’ content in an effort to target them with paid advertisements.

A mug Microsoft is selling with the Google Chrome insignia states: “Keep Calm While We Steal Your Data.”

“Put 15-ounces of your favorite beverage into this stoneware mug to let the world know that even though Google is trying to make money on almost every aspect of your digital life, you’re still calm. And fully caffeinated,” the ad states, poking fun at the claim of Google looking at its users’ data.

One shirt says “Step Into Our Web” with a big spider that has the Google Chrome insignia.

“Google is the spider. Google services are the spider web. You’re the fly. You know what happens next,” the description reads.

Parker Higgins, spokesperson at the digital rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation, tells CNET that Microsoft’s campaign on privacy issues “raises eyebrows.”

“In terms of security practices, Google is a little more aggressive about encryption,” he told CNET. “If you’re talking about which ads you see, it’s possible that Microsoft has pulled ahead. It’s difficult for a company like Microsoft to say that the way they’re doing it respects your autonomy more. In fact, it’s just a different style.”

Microsoft began the “Scroogled” campaign last year in an effort to get people to switch over to Bing from Google.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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