Microsoft is hoping to turn its experience of defending antitrust cases on its head, filing a formal complaint against search giant Google with the European Commission on Thursday.
Brad Smith, Senior Vice President & General Counsel at Microsoft, wrote an entry on the TechNet Microsoft on the Issues blog where he introduced some of the issues of concern:
First, 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.
Second, 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.
In other words, Google is the new Microsoft, and the old Microsoft isn’t enjoying the bitter taste of the kind of medicine it dished out to rivals in the 90s.
“There of course will be some who will point out the irony in today’s filing. Having spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot with the European Commission, the filing of a formal antitrust complaint is not something we take lightly.”
You can read Smith’s full post on the issue here: Adding our Voice to Concerns about Search in Europe
The E.C. investigation, launched back in November, remains at the preliminary stage. It could yet be months before the commission reaches a decision as to whether Google has a case to answer.