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Microsoft takes Google search to court

Microsoft is filing a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law, says Microsoft.

In a blog, the company has outlined its reasons why.

"Google has done much to advance its laudable mission to ‘organise the world’s information,’ but we’re concerned by a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative,” said Brad Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation.

With that in mind Microsoft has joined "a large and growing number of companies registering their concerns about the European search market”.

Microsoft says that the European Commission reckons Google has about 95% of the search market in Europe.  "This contrasts with the United States, where Microsoft serves about a quarter of Americans’ search needs either directly through Bing or through our partnership with Yahoo!,” added Smith. 

The complaint includes examples of instances where Microsoft says Google is impeding competition:

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.

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.

Smith’s statement concluded, "We readily appreciate that Google should continue to have the freedom to innovate. But it shouldn’t be permitted to pursue practices that restrict others from innovating and offering competitive alternatives. That’s what it’s doing now.  And that’s what we hope European officials will assess and ultimately decide to stop.”

You can read the full post here

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