Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

Summary: Microsoft will file a complaint with the European Commission alleging anticompetitive behavior in Europe's search market.


Microsoft will file a complaint with the European Commission alleging anticompetitive behavior in Europe's search market. The complaint revolves primarily around Google's metadata access to rival search providers.

The EU has been investigating Google's search practices in Europe. A Microsoft subsidiary was one of the original companies that brought the complaint.

In a blog post, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith outlined the following:

  • Google has about 95 percent of the search market in Europe.
  • Microsoft alleges that Google is "walling off" access to content and data that competitors need.
  • Google is restricting the indexing of YouTube for rival search results.
  • Google blocked Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube by restricting data. Google allows Android and Apple phones to access data for rating, favorites and categories.
  • Google blocked Microsoft’s new Windows Phones from operating properly with YouTube. Google has enabled its own Android phones to access YouTube so that users can search for video categories, find favorites, see ratings, and so forth in the rich user interfaces offered by those phones. It’s done the same thing for the iPhones offered by Apple, which doesn’t offer a competing search service. Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do.

  • The search giant is blocking access to content owned by book publishers.
  • Google is making it more expensive to run campaigns on competitive search tools.
  • Google is even restricting its customers’—namely, advertisers’—access to their own data. Advertisers input large amounts of data into Google’s ad servers in the course of managing their advertising campaigns. This data belongs to the advertisers: it reflects their decisions about their own business. But Google contractually prohibits advertisers from using their data in an interoperable way with other search advertising platforms, such as Microsoft’s adCenter. This makes it much more costly for Google’s advertisers to run portions of their campaigns with any competitor, and thus less likely that they will do so.

  • And Google contractually blocks top Web sites in Europe from distributing other search boxes. Google has even blocked Microsoft from distributing its Windows Live services through Europe telecom giants.

Now there is a good bit of irony here since Microsoft has had its battles with European regulators. Microsoft addresses that issue head on:

There of course will be some who will point out the irony in today’s filing. 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. More so than most, we recognize the importance of ensuring that competition laws remain balanced and that technology innovation moves forward.

Microsoft's complaint is notable because the EU isn't terribly fond of the software giant---or Google for that matter. Turns out both tech giants are going to have to deal with Europe's watchdogs as a regular course of business.

For its part, Google isn't surprised by Microsoft's move. According to ZDNet UK, Google was expecting the move.

Google is "not surprised" to see Microsoft make its series of complaints, as "one of [its] subsidiaries was one of the original complainants", a spokesperson for the company told ZDNet UK.

The new battleground

Google and Microsoft obviously compete on multiple fronts---mobile operating systems, productivity software, search, cloud computing to name a few---but the next battleground will be the antitrust courts.

Microsoft has dealt with antitrust regulators for years and now its Google's turn. To wit:

Think of these legal fights as a battle between two well-armed heavyweights. The fun is likely to just be starting.

Topics: Telcos, Enterprise Software, Google, Microsoft, Networking, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Windows

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  • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

    Oh, the irony...

    Microsoft is a monopoly and we all know that, so why does Microsoft need to file an antitrust complaint against Google (other than the reasons above)? I see no reason to do that because Microsoft likes being a monopoly.

    I'd be happy to block Microsoft Windows Phone users from accessing my website and make them use Windows Mobile or switch to iPhone or Android. So why can't Google have their rights to do that? ;)
    Grayson Peddie
    • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

      @Grayson Peddie - Microsoft does not have a monopoly in search and is not blocking or restricting competition in search on a selective basis. If MS' accusations are upheld, Google' "don't be evil" stance will be in tatters. How anyone trusts Google with their data after Google's drive-by WIFI scanning debacle is utterly beyond me.

      When it comes to MS - they operate entirely differently today than before and, in general, operate well within the boundaries of law. What they are asking for is for the law to be applies evenly, not just targeting selective entities.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU


        How anyone trusts M$ with their data after M$ os phone home is beyond me too.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @Return_of_the_jedi - which "phone home" are you referring to?
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU


        Thanks for confirming that Microsoft operated outside the law otherwise known as the "criminal" spaces. Their actions resulted in among other things the loss of entire businesses and ruination of honest competitors.

        Thanks to your opinion and others the deaths resulting from the criminal behavior of MS requires the arrest and prosecution of every executive including Gates responsible for their criminal behavior. The charges of course will be multiple counts of manslaughter and a trial right here in Silicon Valley will produce a truly FAIR verdict.

        I don't know of any equivalent crime by Google. Not close minded to finding out though. Pray tell what small start-ups has Google put out of business by changing the way their product works and hiding the change information from the competitor? What business had the president of Google come to their booth and threaten them?
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @bitcrazed "Microsoft does not have a monopoly in search" ...Yet, Muhahahaha. But they're working to resolve that.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        And what proof you have they operate differently?
        As far as I can see they are as intent on blocking competition as ever. Washington state laws are an excellent example.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @bitcrazed Did I say that Microsoft had a monopoly in search? No freaking way I did not say that. I'm talking about a desktop and laptop market with Windows!!!
        Grayson Peddie
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @Grayson Peddie

        Microsoft does not make desktops or laptops. They make Operating Systems and Software. While it is widely used and offered it is done so because that is what people want and what will work with the software they need and want to use for personal, business, and education. Nothing is stopping people from buying a computer that is Windows free. Plenty of choices out there.

        In fact I was putting some models from Dell together today for budget for the school district I work for and found that Ubuntu 10.10 was offered on many of the current Latitude and Optiplex lines as an Operating System choice. Are people going to start crying foul about that now since it is only Ubuntu and not any of the many other flavors of Linux. I mean maybe they should offer an endless list.

        My point is that the big companies are going to offer what people want and what will sell. If a small handful of people need or want something specific then they might have to go through a bit of inconvenience to get what they want. Call your neighborhood geek or mom and pop computer shop and have them through some parts together and you can install any compatible OS and software you want. Well except for MacOS and software that runs under it of course. You have to buy an Apple for that.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @attoman: Corporate anti-trust is not a criminal proceeding. It is a corporate legal proceeding.

        Criminal law, or penal law, is the body of rules that defines conduct that is prohibited by the state because it is held to threaten, harm or otherwise endanger the safety and welfare of the public.

        A corporation abusing its monopoly is rarely directly linked to specifically "threaten, harm or otherwise endanger the safety and welfare of the public".
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @Socratesfoot - there's nothing wrong or illegal in having a monopoly in a given market. What <b>IS</b> wrong is taking pre-meditated steps to prevent others from competing with you.

        That is what Microsoft is claiming. Whether its claims are found to be substantiated and what the courts do about it is what we'll have to wait and see.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        <i>"And what proof you have they operate differently?"</i>
        Microsoft has operated under DOJ oversight for 7 years from 2002 until November 2009. If they had put even one foot out of line, the DOJ would have come down on them like a ton of bricks. Also, if Microsoft had returned to using any of their prior pricing tactics, the OEM's would have gone straight to the government and the DOJ would have descended like a cloud of anvils.

        I spent 10 years working at Microsoft (2000 - 2010) and saw the transition from pre-DOJ & EU trial to post-DOJ & EU trial. I went through 5 years of annual business practice training.

        Microsoft today is an ENTIRELY different beast to how it was prior to 2002.

        <i>"As far as I can see they are as intent on blocking competition as ever."</i>
        Really? How, SPECIFICALLY, is Microsoft preventing competition?

        <i>"Washington state laws are an excellent example."</i>
        What WA state laws has Microsoft enacted and/or broken (since the DOJ/EU trials) to prevent competition in the markets in which it competes?
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        M$ must be exposed and EU should start other inquiries in windoze monopoly.
        Linux Geek
      • Windows Monopoly

        @Linux Geek

        No need for the EU to answer why Windows is the primary choice of what OEMs deliver for an OS. The answer is simple. It is because that is what people want and need for their personal and business computing so that is what is offered. You can get computers without Windows. I was on putting some desktops and laptops together for my school districts budget and saw that many of them offered Ubuntu 10.10 as an OS choice. Now are you going to say that since any of the many other flavors of Linux that Ubuntu has a monopoly? The fact remains that there are quite a few ways a person can get a computer without Windows or any Microsoft software but they CHOOSE not to. You just cannot deal with the fact that people actually want Windows and Microsoft software.
      • attoman

        Please name and show proof of any businesses that Microsoft has "ruined"? After the DoJ was pushed, by Apple and others into humoring them with the AT trial, and throwing out Jackson's rulings (especially after he proved to be less than worthy of his robe and even after his peers said he needed to remove himself form the case, he did not. ).
        Oh, ABMers love to latch onto that but there was never any solid proof that MS "ruined" anything.
        The only ones, which are laughable that are pointed to time and time again are that's a real laugh. Netscape mocked and laughed about "Killing" off mosaic with the naming of their mascot. And when they perceived that IE4 would be their end, they jettisoned Netscape, the browser, before there was ever a chance to find out. Can you argue that point? You can see the timing of events for yourself. Netscape stopped supporting any future HTML versions, namely version 4 and tried to reorganize the business and make netscape a totally different product.
        Lawsuits and settlements are part of business. MS paying money to netscape or anyone is not an admission of guilt and you and ever other ABMer knows that but are unwilling to see it that way if MS is involved. It was cheaper to settle with Netscape, than to drag it through the courts. And it make the best business sense for MS since they didn't get undeserved bad publicity for years while the trial snailed along.
        DR? MS never, not once, not ever, released code in a final non BETA form that blocked DR from anything. And at the time DR was going to release it's next version against MS-DOS and they did stand a really good chance at that point, they were purchased by Novell who pulled them out of the race with MS and tried to turn DR DOS into a netware client and out of the consumer space.
        That is also very well documented.
        Now if you are going to say MS did something to harm APPLE, IBM, SUN or any of the other heavyweights that could have squashed MS like a bug early on, that is laughable and just shows the length that ABMers will go to.
        Apple and SUN have both always got their code and hardware from Government back projects. SUN was formed when McNeally was at Stanford (Stanform University Network, thus SUN) and it was during the time the U.S. government was paying universities and private research facilities to createa very robust and secure UNIX. It was all paid for by taxpayer dollars. I was a kid in those days but projects like that become part of the Federal pot of projects which takes money from taxpayers, so that now my taxes are in essence still paying for that project. Everyone that has ever worked for aliving is a shareholder in SUN and APPLE.
        SUN was given AT exemption when the government project that was in the billions (this was in the 1970s so BILLIONS was huge amount of taxpayer dollars) was considered over (it also paid Mr. Cerf to work on TCP/IP among other private projects) and the FEDS gave Mcneally a push into Free Enterprise to create SUN and further build out UNIX. With a free ride and AT exemption (which he never needed ha ha!) SUN never could bring it all together. They were huged and government backed though, but when MS showed the world what Smart business is all about, SUN was totally flustered and did the only thing it could to get a piece of the MS pie and through middleware on top of MS OSes to try and ride on MS's back.
        Apple never tried to compete in the 80s or 90s and continued trying to sell 5000.00 LISA machines. IBM was totally proprietary and too expensive for home users.
        so why is what MS did wrong? They fended off those who tried to jump on their backs to take away market, rather than competing for it, but then again businesses are supposed to do that. Any and all businesses.
        Google has show more monopoly behavior than MS ever actually did. And the DoJ and the EU will show this to be true in the end. The U.S. AT dept under Obama is gunning for Google and could care less about MS at this point. They are legal and operating fairly. They did their time and for things that were never actually against the law.
        Read quotes from Ms Varney to substantiate my claims.
        See article in WIRED in which the writer interviewed Eric Schmidt, throwing him softballs, never asking about China or a host of "Google does do Evil" questions he could have hit Schmidt with....but then we see what happened to Mr. Schmidt.
        Too bad for the man best known for failure and his sh*t eating grin.
      • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

        @Linux Geek : "M$ must be exposed and EU should start other inquiries in windoze monopoly." Why as I not surprised this comment is coming from someone with Linux in their name. Think about this: You pay for Windows. Linux is free. Wouldn't people be using linux because it's free more than windows? Nope. Why is that? Maybe the same reason why the OS marketshare for linux is something like 1.1%. And if you read elsewhere here, Microsoft looked at by the EU and ended up being cleared. Now go back to figure out why that workaround drivers won't work with your printer [since there are no Linux drivers - I wonder why.]. :-)
        Gis Bun
    • Not too unlike Google suing to get Google apps

      @Grayson Peddie
      in a place after it was determined that it didn't do what they needed it to do.

      Oh the irony... ;)
      John Zern
    • RE: Microsoft to file antitrust complaint vs. Google in EU

      @Grayson Peddie

      When Nokia started their co-operation with Microsoft i made decision not to buy either Nokia phones either MS software - ever. Even the next car navigator must be one you can update by Linux. No chance for TomTom. No money for blackmailers.
      • I applaud your stand

        @Matsi66 You are right, show these guys who's boss. Don't give them the benefit of your business.

        However, while you are making a small stand, you need to expand your protest. Otherwise you will be like a vegetarian who still eats chicken.

        Don't buy a Ford, Fiat, VW, BMW, GM or Chrysler - Microsoft auto technology somewhere in there
        Stop using ATMs - Windows compact embedded
        Don't use a Point of Sale machine - Windows compact embedded
        Don't use Redbox - Windows based machines
        Don't use any gas pumps - Windows embedded
        Don't use any Android devices - they license Activesync from M$
        Don't use any Apple devices - they make software that runs on Windows and M$ makes software that runs on Mac and iOS, plus Apple license Active Sync
        Don't use Netflix Streaming - Microsoft Silverlight
        Watch where you buy stuff - avoid Windows based cash registers
        In fact, avoid any company that uses any Microsoft technology.

        Let me know in a week how you get on in your cave.
      • Matsi66

        @Matsi66, thanks for giving us your obviously spirited opinions on what you will and won't do. Now waht is your point?

        I would never touch open source code because my clients expect their data to be secure and not stored on open source based systems in which the "bad guys" have the code. No way.

        and espeically not in vehicle computers. Too easily hacked with open source. Some day you'll be told to turn right, into the river.

        There, that is my opinion. Now what?