Microsoft Files Anti-Trust Complaint With The EU On Google Where They Have a 95% Market Share

According to Microsoft’s blog, by Brad Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, of Microsoft, the  Company filed “a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law.”

“We thought it important to be transparent and provide some information on what we’re doing and why.”

“By the European Commission’s own reckoning, Google has about 95 percent of the search market in Europe. ”

“At Microsoft we’ve shown that we’re prepared to work hard and invest literally billions of dollars annually to offer Bing, a search service that many now regard as the most innovative available.”

” But, hard work and innovation need a fair and competitive marketplace in which to thrive, and twice the Department of Justice has intervened to thwart Google’s unlawful conduct from impeding fair competition.”

“In 2008 the DOJ moved to file suit against Google for its unlawful attempt to tie up and set search advertising prices at Yahoo!, causing Google to back down.  And last year the DOJ formally objected to Google’s efforts to monopolize book content, a position affirmed by a federal district court in New York just last week.  Unfortunately, even this has not stopped the spread by Google of new and disconcerting practices in the United States.”

“As troubling as the situation is in United States, it is worse in Europe.”

“Our filing details many instances where Google is impeding competition in these areas.  A half-dozen examples below help illustrate some of our concerns.”

“First, in 2006 Google acquired YouTube—and since then it has put in place a growing number of technical measures to restrict competing search engines from properly accessing it for their search results.  Without proper access to YouTube, Bing and other search engines cannot stand with Google on an equal footing in returning search results with links to YouTube videos and that, of course, drives more users away from competitors and to Google.”

“Second, in 2010 and again more recently, 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.  As a result, Microsoft’s YouTube “app” on Windows Phones is basically just a browser displaying YouTube’s mobile Web site, without the rich functionality offered on competing phones.  Microsoft is ready to release a high quality YouTube app for Windows Phone.  We just need permission to access YouTube in the way that other phones already do, permission Google has refused to provide.”

“Third, Google is seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers.  This was underscored in federal court in New York last week, in the decision involving Google’s effort to obtain exclusive and unfettered access to the large volume of so-called “orphan books”—books for which no copyright holder can readily be found.  Under Google’s plan only its search engine would be able to return search results from these books.  As the federal court said in rejecting this plan, “Google’s ability to deny competitors the ability to search orphan books would further entrench Google’s market power in the online search market.”  This is an important initial step under U.S. law, but it needs to be reinforced by similar positions in Europe and the rest of the world.”

“Fourth, 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.  That is a significant problem because most advertisers figure that they have to advertise first with Google.  If it’s too expensive to port their advertising campaign data to competing advertising platforms, many won’t do it.  Competing search engines are left with less relevant ads, and less revenue.  And while this restraint isn’t visible to consumers, its effects are nonetheless felt across the Web.  Advertising revenue is the economic propellant fueling the billions of dollars needed for ongoing search investments.  By reducing competitors’ ability to attract advertising revenue, this restriction strikes at the heart of a competitive market.”

“Fifth, this undermining of competition is reflected in concerns that go beyond Google’s control over content.  One of the ways that search engines attract users is through distribution of search boxes through Web sites.  Unfortunately, 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.  Google’s exclusivity terms have even blocked Microsoft from distributing its Windows Live services, such as email and online document storage, through European telecommunications companies because these services are monetized through Bing search boxes.”

“Finally, we share the concerns expressed by many others that Google discriminates against would-be competitors by making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements.  Microsoft has provided the Commission with a considerable body of expert analysis concerning how search engine algorithms work and the competitive significance of promoting or demoting various advertisements.”

 

Comments

  1. Odalicio says

    Never thought I would say it, but Google is making Micorsoft look like a saint.

    Google is also doing a lot of things lately to destroy direct navigation:

    1. Putting their own irrelevant ads on our parked pages. Ones that read “Get $75 worth of free advertising on Adwords”. They have plastered that everywhere.

    They are also allowing other companies to blanket advertise unrelevant ads on domains. I’m seeing some domains with almost no links that have to do with the subjects now. It’s always been bad, but now it is atrocious.

    2. When I type in a domain with the extension at Google now it comes back as saying there are No Results. This is with any domain. This is new to me.

    3. They are mixing up the GKT search results so that (just guessing) big lists can’t be worked. I’m thinking advertisers don’t work the lists like us domainers do.

    4. Paying out more at Google for Domains to hurt the parking companies. This is a new tactic also. I’m hearing reports from several folks that are telling me parking payouts are beating all other parking companies now.

    This is just what I see…..who knows what else they are doing.

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