Brad Smith, speaking as legal beagle for Microsoft, announced that the Seattle, Washington based mega company agrees that Google has violated European competition laws.
Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel for Microsoft Corporation, begins his blog with a compliment for Google's "genuine innovations", then delivers a slap at their "broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative." Thus, Microsoft joined others by filing a formal complaint with the European Commission regarding the European search market, of which Google has approximately 95 percent. In the US, Microsoft's own Bing search tool, along with the company's partnership with Yahoo, handles around 25 percent of the traffic.
Microsoft supports their case by referring to the big guns to point out that Google has previously run afoul of the fair playing field. The US Department of Justice has concurred on two occasions. Microsoft asserts that Google's behavior in Europe trumps even that of their deplored practices in the US.
Smith explains that the search gorilla "has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers." Ah, advertisers. Yes that's at the crux of the matter, a revenue stream that is being dammed up by eager beaver Google.
In his blog, Smith details at least six instances where the Internet search company has barred the door, beginning with blocking access by other search engines to YouTube. Microsoft bolsters their position citing a New York Federal Court decision against Google that said: "Google's ability to deny competitors the ability to search orphan books would further entrench Google's market power in the online search market."
Anti-competitive practices are also frowned upon by the authorities on the other side of the ocean. Fines up to 10 percent of a company's earnings can be imposed by the European Commission. Several companies have felt the sting, including Microsoft themselves and Intel who was hit with a sizable fee of 1.06 billion Euros (over 1.41 billion USD) in 2009. The Commission emphasized how they viewed misconduct within their jurisdiction:
"Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU's antitrust rules cannot be tolerated".
After painting Google black, Microsoft's Smith conceded that there is irony in their filing, since we all know that Microsoft itself has had its share of difficulties within the European Union.
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