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Scroogled Rises: Microsoft Back on Attack as Google Faces New Antitrust Complaint

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Microsoft is on the attack again, this time slamming Google Play for the information it shares when users buy apps. The attack ads coincide with another European antitrust complaint orchestrated by Microsoft relating to Google's Android software.

Scroogled, Part III

scroogled-3

Microsoft has previously spent millions of dollars attacking Google in print and TV ads over its paid Google Shopping results and because Gmail "goes through every" email to sell ads. Though it seemed like Microsoft might be saying goodbye to its negative campaigning via Scroogled last month, as promised, Scroogled is back.

Now Microsoft has posted a scathing blog post, "Don't Get Scroogled by Google's App Store", to details how Google Play sends personal information (e.g., users' full names, email addresses and locations) – to developers each time an app is downloaded.

According to Microsoft, nine out of 10 people disapprove of this, and Microsoft suggests that these people should move to Windows Phone because their store "doesn't share our customers' personal information with third-party app makers."

In addition to a new video (below), Scroogled.com has been revamped so when you arrive Microsoft screams that "GOOGLE SHARES YOUR PERSONAL INFO WITH APP MAKERS".

Commenting on Microsoft's latest ad campaign, a Google spokesperson said, "Google Wallet shares the information needed to process transactions and maintain accounts, and this is clearly stated in the Google Wallet Privacy Notice."

FairSearch Europe: Android is a 'Trojan Horse'

Fairsearch Europe, which describes itself as "organization united to promote economic growth, innovation and choice across the internet" and made up of members including Microsoft, Nokia and Oracle, has filed an antitrust complaint related to Google's allegedly "unfair" practices on Android devices due to the way they promote Google's own apps.

It's a pretty ironic moment, considering Microsoft recently was slapped with a mammoth fine for monopolistic behaviour relating to browser choice on Windows devices.

Fairsearch's lead lawyer Thomas Vinje claimed that Google is using its mobile software as a "deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today," adding that Android hardware makers have contractual requirements to keep Google apps at the forefronts of their devices.

"Google is using its Android mobile operating system as a 'Trojan Horse' to deceive partners, monopolize the mobile marketplace, and control consumer data," Vinje said. "We are asking the Commission to move quickly and decisively to protect competition and innovation in this critical market. Failure to act will only embolden Google to repeat its desktop abuses of dominance as consumers increasingly turn to a mobile platform dominated by Google's Android operating system."

This complaint adds to Microsoft's regulatory attacks on Google, which is already under investigation in Europe for allegedly "anticompetitive" search practices that FairSearch claims gives Google's shopping and travel businesses unfair advantages in the market.

In an interview with the New York Times, European Union’s antitrust chief, Joaquín Almunia, noted one solution to deal with this issue could be "labeling" – or something that clearly distinguishes when Google is promoting its own services competitors in search results.

Information from The Inquirer was used in this report.


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