Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Microsoft Has Key Advantage As Anti-Trust Battle With Google Escalates

Posted by Tom Foremski - February 23, 2010

Google [GOOG] today said that it had received a notice from the European Commission that it had received complaints from three European companies about its business practices.

Julia Holtz, Senior Competition Counsel at Google, wrote: Google Public Policy Blog: Committed to competing fairly

Foundem - a member of an organisation called ICOMPwhich is funded partly by Microsoft - argues that our algorithms demote their site in our results because they are a vertical search engine and so a direct competitor to Google. ejustice.fr's complaint seems to echo these concerns.

...Regarding Ciao!, they were a long-time AdSense partner of Google's, with whom we always had a good relationship. However, after Microsoft acquired Ciao! in 2008 (renaming it Ciao! from Bing) we started receiving complaints about our standard terms and conditions. They initially took their case to the German competition authority, but it now has been transferred to Brussels.

She added that Google is not "doing anything to choke off competition or hurt our users and partners."

Foremski's Take:

Google is clearly keen to play up the Microsoft connection. This can be viewed as payback by Microsoft for Google's prior anti-trust complaints about Microsoft.

But if Google and Microsoft move to escalate their competitive battles by using using anti-trust complaints against each other, Microsoft has a massive advantage. It is well versed in anti-trust laws here in the US, and also in the European Union, because it has had to defend itself against such complaints for many years.

Microsoft knows the anti-trust legal landscape very well, while Google does not.


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