Oh irony, thy silver thorn strikes like the moonlight through my delicate skin. While this complaint could actually hold merit, the fact it’s coming from Microsoft lessens its validity somewhat. Redmond has just filed an antitrust complaint about Google in Europe.
The European Commission is currently investigating Google for possible anticompetitive behaviour in Europe, and this complaint from Microsoft has been filed as part of said investigation. Microsoft lists some very specific examples of how Google makes it harder for competitors to enter the search business.
For instance, Microsoft claims that search engines other than Google’s own are blocked from properly getting access to all data regarding YouTube videos, obviously making it harder for competitors to deliver good search results in the video realm. In addition, Microsoft claims that Google is blocking Windows Phone 7 from getting the kind of access to YouTube metadata that both Android and iOS already enjoy.
“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,” Brad Smith, senior vice president & general counsel for Microsoft, detals, “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 further notes that apart from Android, iOS does get this kind of access – because Apple doesn’t offer a search alternative.
Furthermore, Microsoft claims that Google is preventing advertisers from accessing their own data, which harms Microsoft’s adCenter because said data can’t be used in an interoperable way with it.
“Google is even restricting its customers’ – namely, advertisers’ – access to their own data. Advertisers input large amounts of data into Google’s ad servers in the course of managing their advertising campaigns. This data belongs to the advertisers: it reflects their decisions about their own business. But Google contractually prohibits advertisers from using their data in an interoperable way with other search advertising platforms, such as Microsoft’s adCenter.”
Microsoft further mentions things like the Google Books deal, shenanigans with Google contractually prohibiting websites from using search engine boxes from competing search providers, and, of course, that Google supposedly blocks competitors from prominent ad placement.
“We readily appreciate that Google should continue to have the freedom to innovate,” Smith concludes, “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.”
The problem I have with this complaint is not that it is invalid – considering Google is a company like any other, they’ll most likely be engaging in nasty behaviour, just like any other large company, it’s in their genes. And, it’s great the European Commission is looking into such possible behaviour.
No, the real problem here is the irony. All the things Microsoft is accusing Google of have been pretty much perfected by Microsoft over the past two decades and then some. I wish that during the next press talk about this, someone has the bloody guts to stand up and say just one word.
Also, Brad, every time someone uses a double space after a full stop, God creates a Windows vulnerability. So, stop it.