Microsoft Unleashes Regulatory Dogs on Google
Article by George Norman
On 24 Feb 2010
Starting this March Microsoft will roll out its choice screen following an antitrust case spurred by Opera software. Opera complained that by bundling Internet Explorer (IE) with Windows, the user is not given much of a browser choice. So Microsoft will present Windows users that have IE set as default with a choice screen – a browser ballot screen that presents the 12 most popular browsers out there, including links to find out more about them and links to download and install these browsers.

Barely has the Microsoft antitrust case drawn to a close that our attention is drawn to a similar topic. It would seem that three companies have complained to the European Commission about Google’s practices – its search rankings to be more precise. The three companies say that because they compete with Google, Google’s search algorithm demotes their sites in search results.

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The three companies in question are:
  1. Foundem – a UK price comparison site
  2. Ejustice.fr – a legal search engine from France
  3. Ciao! From Bing – a Microsoft owned site

Google’s Senior Competition Counsel, Julia Holtz, says that Google is in no way doing something to “choke off competition or hurt our users and partners.” Google has always competed “fair and square” and has put the users’ interests above all else. She goes on to say that Microsoft is just picking on Google because it has filed anti-trust cases against the Redmond-based software giant in the past.

Microsoft is behind at least two of the companies that complained to the European Commission. Foundem is part of an organization called ICOMP which is partly funded by Microsoft. Ciao!, who initially was an Google AdSense partner, was acquired by Microsoft in 2008 and renamed Ciao! From Bing – and this is when the complaints started to pour in.

“As Google has grown, we've not surprisingly faced more questions about our role in the advertising ecosystem and our overall approach to competition. This kind of scrutiny goes with the territory when you are a large company. However, we've always worked hard to ensure that our success is earned the right way -- through technological innovation and great products, rather than by locking in our users or advertisers, or creating artificial barriers to entry,” commented Julia Holtz.

In related news, you should know that starting this March Google will drop support for Microsoft’s IE6 browser on YouTube and on its Google Docs and Google Sites services.



Tags: Google, Microsoft, Antitrust, European Commission
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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