Microsoft has lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation since Nov ’10 into whether Google has violated European competition law.
Microsoft’s claiming that Google has abused its dominant position resulting in a lower than expected growth of Microsoft’s search engine, Bing.
“As troubling as the situation is in United States, it is worse in Europe. That’s why 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.” says the technet article.
Microsoft’s complaint reads like a sincere and plaintive cry for help against the Google Overlord. Microsoft lists no less than six damning reasons why Google’s behavior is anti-competitive — from Windows Phone 7’s incompatibility with YouTube, to its nefarious handling of Google Books — and finishes with a wide-eyed plea to the European Commission to please find Google guilty.
The claim isn’t due to one issue, instead a few points are listed starting with the Google purchase of YouTube in 2006, Microsoft claim that the acquisition resulted in a “growing number of technical measures to restrict competing search engines from properly accessing it for their search results” which in turn means Bing and other search engines found it harder to index the websites videos, forcing users away and back to Google.
The document continues by claiming that in 2010 Google restricted access for Windows Phone 7 users and states “Google has enabled its own Android phones to access YouTube…”, “It’s done the same thing for the iPhones offered by Apple, which doesn’t offer a competing search service.”
Microsoft follow by accusing Google of “seeking to block access to content owned by book publishers”. Google has been trying to obtain the exclusive rights for books with no copyright, orphan-books, for a while meaning other search engines would not benefit from this as the content would only be available on Google books. “Google’s ability to deny competitors the ability to search orphan books would further entrench Google’s market power in the online search market.” said the US Federal court last week, meaning this may change in US law, but not in European and other markets.
In the fourth point Microsoft claims Google’s restricting AdSense customers’ data “This data belongs to the advertisers: it reflects their decisions about their own business,” “…Google contractually prohibits advertisers from using their data in an interoperable way with other search advertising platforms, such as Microsoft’s adCenter.” This results in lower costs for advertising customers forcing users to stay with the search engine and not look elsewhere at others, such as Bing.
One of the final points the complaint mentions is how “Google contractually blocks leading Web sites in Europe from distributing competing search boxes,” which makes it “difficult for competing search engines to gain users when nearly every search box is powered by Google.” Microsoft claims that these issues have even blocked the company from distributing some of its services, such as Windows Live and online storage, from European telecommunications networks because they are monetized through Bing search boxes.