Thursday, March 31, 2011

Microsoft Confronts Google With Antitrust Complaint

The phrase “wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy” apparently doesn’t apply to Microsoft’s antitrust-related examinations at the hands of the European Commission.  Late yesterday, Microsoft announced that it’s filing a complaint about Google with the organization.

Microsoft’s own experiences with the European Commission are well-documented.  Since 1993, it’s had several run-ins, and the European Commission has attempted to fine the corporation more than $1 billion over the years.

These facts led Brad Smith, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Microsoft, to acknowledge in an official blog post last night, “There of course will be some who will point out the irony in today’s filing.”

But in the lengthy (1,500 word) post, Smith also wrote, “Having spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot with the European Commission, the filing of a formal antitrust complaint is not something we take lightly.  This is the first time Microsoft Corporation has ever taken this step.”

Microsoft feels Google’s being anticompetitive for at least six different reasons.  The matter of restricted access to YouTube covers the first two.  Then there’s the Google Books deal to consider, along with the difficulty advertisers may experience when trying to move their data to different search advertising platforms.

Microsoft is concerned about search box exclusivity terms, as well, and finally, there was an accusation about the cost of placement for competitors’ advertisements.

This is all sure to give the European Commission something to think about.  The development isn’t likely to improve relations between Microsoft and Google, either.

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