“Microsoft’s been funding an organisation — set up to make trouble for the search giant”, the Telegraph today shared the story of ICOMP (Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace), a European-based trade group whose sole purpose appears to “attack Google”: it was set up to protest against Google’s DoubleClick acquisition and has spent the last few years churning out blog posts slamming the search giant and approaching journalists out of the blue with carefully primed stories.
ICOMP on its website states “support for principles that’re essential to a healthy online environment” and “the adoption of best practices to promote creativity, innovation, safety and trust.”
The group also says “no single company should be allowed to abuse its market power to the detriment of competition or consumers,” and that seems to hint at its real target: Google. In fact, ICOMP’s Industry News page should be called a “Google investigations and complaints” page: Of the 40 articles listed, only three don’t have Google’s name in the headline.
The Guardian also points out, Microsoft’s listed as ICOMP’s “initial trustee” in this PDF, and that the initiative is “funded by member contributions as well as sponsorship from Microsoft.” All of this actually goes back to 2007, when Microsoft and PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, formed ICOMP and began to fight against Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.