Microsoft today filed a formal complaint in Brussels accusing Google of curating a monopoly of the search market and unfairly promoting their own products. The chief concerns from Microsoft is the monopolization of YouTube indexing, the Android market, and Google advertising.
In Microsoft’s address to the public regarding this issue, “Adding our Voice to Concerns about Search in Europe,” six reasons are outlined:
- Google buys YouTube in 2006 – more restrictions for competition search engines (can only use text links) as the code or back-end is closed off.
- Google blocks Windows phones from YouTube’s metadata.
- Google blocks access to content from book publishers, specifically, books with no copyright holders. Also called “orphan books.”
- Google blocks access to advertisers. They claim account data is incompatible with adCenter. It is unclear whether this claim is aimed at AdWords, AdMob, or one specific ad platform. They claim, contractually, it is not legal to use your Google ad data in an “interoperable” fashion.
- Google contractually blocks top European websites from using search boxes other than Google’s.
- Google’s making it more costly for advertisers to get top ad rankings.
Microsoft is no stranger to antitrust litigation; however, in this Microsoft’s role has done a 180 from their position as the monopoly in the United States vs. Microsoft case.
Other smaller companies got the EU antitrust ball rolling against Google, spurred on in part behind the scenes by Microsoft. Most recently the European Commission has sent out questionnaires to European companies to determine, among other things, if Google has shown bias based on AdWords spend.
The United States vs. Microsoft case took years to reach a conclusion and it would be no different with Google. Remember the ruling was that Microsoft had to share API interfaces with third parties and appointed a panel of three people who had full access to five years worth of Microsoft systems, records, and source code.
Many felt that it was a sign of over-regulation by the U.S. government. The most obvious reason the case is in the EU and not the U.S., is that Google dominates the search market in Europe even more than it does in the U.S.
“As troubling as the situation is in United States, it is worse in Europe,” wrote Brad Smith, Senior VP & General Counsel, Microsoft Corporation. “That is 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.”