Political operative Mark Penn, who worked for both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaigns, has been hired by Microsoft for ‘strategic and special projects’, which means targeting arch rival Google, says a report. Since Penn was put in charge of “strategic and special projects” at Microsoft in August, much of his job has involved efforts to trip up Google, which Microsoft has failed to dislodge from its perch atop the lucrative Internet search market. Penn created a holiday commercial, in which Microsoft criticizes Google for polluting the quality of its shopping search results with advertisements. “Don’t get scroogled,” it warns.

According to the New York Times, the campaigns are part of a broader effort at Microsoft to give its marketing the nimbleness of a political campaign, where a candidate can turn an opponent’s gaffe into a damaging commercial within hours. They are also a sign of the company’s mounting frustration with Google after losing billions of dollars a year on its search efforts, while losing ground to Google in the browser and smartphones markets and other areas, the paper said. Jill Hazelbaker, a Google spokeswoman, declined to comment on Microsoft’s actions, the paper said. But she said that while Google also employed lobbyists and marketers, “our focus is on Google and the positive impact our industry has on society, not the competition,” the paper added. -ANI