Google 'not surprised' by Microsoft allegations
Microsoft yesterday added its weight to complaints by smaller companies that are currently being considered by the European Commission.
In a detailed blog post, the software giant’s legal chief Brad Smith accused Google of a series of anti-competitive actions.
“Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in the markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of European consumers,” he said.
He claimed Google - which carries out more than 90 per cent of web searches in Europe - unfairly restricts how Microsoft’s competing Bing search engine and Windows smartphones can access YouTube, and that it is trying to monopolise access to out-of-copyright books via search.
Mr Smith also alleged Google makes it hard for advertisers to do business with competing search engines by restricting their access to their own data, and finally that it undermines competition by insisting third party websites use its search system exclusively.
Microsoft's complaints join those against Google by Ciao.de, its German price comparison subsidiary, Foundem, an independent British price comparison firm, and Ejustice.fr, a French legal search service. Their complaints allege that Google abuses its dominance them by promoting its own competing services via its main search engine.
In a brief public response Google said: “We're not surprised that Microsoft has done this, since one of their subsidiaries was one of the original complainants.
“For our part, we continue to discuss the case with the European Commission and we're happy to explain to anyone how our business works.”
European anti-trust officials could impose a fine of up to 10 per cent of Google's annual profits, as well as potentially requiring it to restructure its business.
Microsoft itself was the target of the Europe’s most famous anti-trust investigation, over the way it bundled its own applications with the Windows operating system. In 2008, after years of legal wrangling, it was fined almost $1.5bn for non-compliance with earlier rulings.
“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,” said Mr Smith.
Google's CEO, Eric Schmid he would seek to a deal with the Commission to avoid a similar drawn-out process.