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Microsoft files EU complaint against Google

by Janani Krishnaswamy on 31 March 2011, 14:31

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), European Commission

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa5eo

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Crying foul

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.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

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Looks like bing fail butthurt to me.
When they allow someone to change the search button in a WP7 to google, rather than bing, then they can complain about Google not allowing metadata access to YouTube.
I doubt MS will get much sympathy from the EU after the last time they got a drubbing over browsers.
Microsoft has filed a formal complaint with EU regulators about Google's alleged monopoly of the search engine business in Europe
Erm, how can Google have a monopoly when there's other search engines - such as Bing - available? If Microsoft feel hard done by then they'd be better advised to look at why people chose Google over Bing. For myself, it's down to having better filtering (e.g. restricting to results less than a year old) on the Googster rather than Bing. Personally I've no loyalty to Google, so if a better search engine came along then I'd defect to it in a moment - but there isn't one as far as I can see.
So I really hope MS lose this one …
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.
… on the other hand if this is true, (and not just MS sour grapes), then Google deserves some sanction for this.

One question, why lodge this with EU rather than the US - after all, I thought that the US legal system was more friendly to this kind of thing?
It is a sign of the times though isn't it, when you can use google as a verb, not a noun :)

It has become ubiquitous, like the hoover.

I say good luck to em, and M$ can go tickle itself :)