Microsoft has filed a formal complaint with EU regulators about Google's alleged monopoly of the search engine business in Europe. This comes over a year after Microsoft-owned Ciao filed a not dissimilar complaint, with the European Commission having applied its customary urgency to the matter.
Brad Smith, SVP and general counsel, noted in a detailed blog that, "Microsoft's complaint focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in the markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of European consumers."
Search engines compete to index the Web as fully as possible, in order to gain advertisers and also gain distribution of their search boxes through Web sites. However, Microsoft noted that "Consumers will not benefit from clicking to alternative sites unless all search engines have a fair opportunity to compete in each of these areas."
Microsoft's constantly failing YouTube app is causing increasing concern especially with the new Windows Phones, he said. Microsoft declared that Google bars Windows Phones from operating properly on YouTube. It has refused to allow Microsoft to access the metadata the same way that Google's own Android phones and iPhones do.
Besides blocking Microsoft from functioning properly on YouTube, Google is also seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers, he added.
Sharing several other concerns, Smith said Google discriminates against would-be competitors by making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements. "Google contractually blocks leading Web sites in Europe from distributing competing search boxes. It is obviously difficult for competing search engines to gain users when nearly every search box is powered by Google."
Commenting on the complaint, Ovum analyst Mike Davis said:"Microsoft has accused Google of biasing search results on its internet search engine Google.com in the European Union, where Microsoft is struggling to gain market share. This is despite at least $1 billion (Ovum estimate) of both development and advertising investment."
In fact, he added that internet search engines can never be unbiased after all. "Is internet search agnostic and unbiased? - No, it can't be. Those who provide internet search engines derive their revenues from the advertisers."
Unsurprised by Microsoft's complaint, Google said it would cooperate with any investigation, talking to BBC News. "For our part, we continue to discuss the case with the European Commission and we're happy to explain to anyone how our business works," it stated.