back to article Microsoft files monopoly complaint against Google

Microsoft has made a formal complaint against Google to the European Commission accusing the search and advertising giant of using various illegal methods to dominate the European search market. Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, is likely best known to Reg readers for his role in protecting the software giant against …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe we just hate Microsoft more over here...

    "He said that while Google serves about three quarters of US searches in Europe it has about 95 per cent of the market."

    Perhaps we Europeans hate Microsoft more? There certainly seems to be more anti-Microsoft sentiment here in the UK. Google still has a very friendly image with the general public despite their lack of concern for privacy.

    1. The BigYin

      We prefer FF to IE...

      ...that's for sure. And FF defaults to Google. Maybe we care more about our browser than we do about our search engine?

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Do you hate Yahoo! too?

      Regardless of who you hate, Microsoft has a valid point.

      Personally I want to shout 'So who's the bee-itch now?' and 'How does it feel to be screwed by a Monopoly, sucks doesn't it?'

      But looking at this objectively, Google is using its dominance in one market, a monopoly, to gain entry and dominance in another. Google is in essence a Monopoly, however it will take a court to actually determine and label Google a Monopoly.

      For those who would respond that '... when a better product comes along, we'll switch to that one...' the problem in a market dominated by a Monopoly, a better product can't come along because of unfair market competition. We saw this with Microsoft and earlier in IBM.

      Love them or hate them... Google has reached that point where they are a Monopoly and need to be named and labeled as such. When you're a Monopoly, the laws change...

      1. JW 1

        @Ian But an 'Illegal" monopoly?

        I don't believe there's actually anything wrong with being a monopoly if you don't do it illegally. If they don't coerce the action to use the product like Microsoft did to PC companies with regards to the OS and tying the browser into the OS, then it's not illegal. Not really Google's fault everyone uses their search engine other than quality returns.

        I would wait to see if there's a technical or competitive reason Google prevents WP7 from accessing YouTube APIs.

    3. Lewis Mettler
      Stop

      IE still a forced sale

      No doubt the idiots at Microsoft know illegal acts when they see them. They can read the US Appellate decisions too. And they did. When Microsoft was found to be in violation of the antitrust laws in the US, they appealled to the US Supreme Count hoping to avoid the illegality of commingling IE with the OS. They lost. Doing so remains illegal.

      If the idiots at Microsoft stop their clearly obvious illegal acts, then perhaps they can speak. Otherwise perhaps not.

      If you have a copy of IE, you have been screwed by Smith and his boys.

      Google does not force you to buy anything, yet Microsoft is complaining like a spoiled child.

      If you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not matter. Microsoft insists upon it.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Lewis

        "When Microsoft was found to be in violation of the antitrust laws in the US, they appealled to the US Supreme Count hoping to avoid the illegality of commingling IE with the OS."

        No. That's a common misconception.

        Microsoft appealed to the Supreme Court because while the case was tied up in court, they were still allowed to continue with their bad deeds. They were making money and still abusing the market until they lost in the US SC. It was just a stalling tactic.

        They may have spent millions on lawyer's fees but they made even more money.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the biscuit

    has been taken

    1. Code Monkey
      Gates Horns

      Yup

      That's my ration of irony used up for this year. Wake me up in 2012.

  3. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    Tell you what MS

    YOU stop forcing OEMs to sell PCs with MS Windows and then we'll look at this search thing. However, it is much easier to switch from Google to Bing to whatever than it is to find a vendor who isn't forced to bundle your OS.

    1. Bilgepipe
      WTF?

      Amazing

      >>> YOU stop forcing OEMs to sell PCs with MS Windows and then we'll look at this search thing. However, it is much easier to switch from Google to Bing to whatever than it is to find a vendor who isn't forced to bundle your OS.

      Indeed. It's amazing that MS has the sheer brass balls to even consider doing this.

      Almost as amazing as someone being either blinkered or stupid enough to downvote your post.

      1. The BigYin

        It is amusing...

        ...how many people seem to support the near Communist totalitarianism that MS imposes on vendors. I would have thought that many readers would be in the USA and would support the free market, enterprise and survival of the fittest.

        Guess I was wrong (or USA politics has taken a seismic shift at the grass-roots).

        1. dssf

          Hmmm... I prefer Lotus Smart Suite to OO.o

          And, i wish IBM would find a way to ditch Symphony and update Smart Suite. I prefer Punch! ViaCAD to TurboCAD. I prefer....

          I'd prefer that the US DOJ says it must become harder for ms to land on PCs by default, globally. I wish there was a way to economically stimulate PC and laptop makers to turn Linux to their hardware and then harmonize that tuning to it can then start to harmonize the top tier distros so that windows-based apps can run natively or in a wine-like environment. I'd prefer that makers of apps that solely run on windows and mac would be incentivized to use their mac know-how to facilitate Linux.

          I'd prefer... i'd prefer...

          I don't know what Smith is smoking, other than greenbacks dust. Imagine if Google just "gave up" and said, "That's it! We're outta the search engine market..." Imagine if ms' bing bong smoked its way into first place -- JUST BECAUSE Google quit. Maybe someday bing will bang its way to top spot, but it should be forced to work its ASSSSS off to get there.. Nor more ms-first-place-by skulldugger-secret integration and economic-attrition-of-the-competition.

  4. Miek
    Linux

    A title is required

    "accusing the search and advertising giant of using various illegal methods to dominate the European search market"

    I'm sure that having a better product is not illegal.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      illegal

      > I'm sure that having a better product is not illegal.

      No, its just a strategy M$ have never tried

      1. Miek

        re: illegal

        lmao ;)

  5. mikebartnz

    W*****s

    When are MS going to learn to just compete without behaving like a bunch of tossers.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      About ...

      10 hours after the heat death of the universe, judging by current form.

  6. MarkOne
    FAIL

    Pot & Kettle?

    Microsoft are 1000x worse than Google than this sorta thing.

  7. Mark C Casey

    Searching

    To my knowledge you cannot do a general search on youtube, the only kind of search you can do on youtube is for videos.

    People choose Google, whereas with Windows they have no choice if they want to use the software they want. Come on MS admit it, you're bitter that people like Google and they choose Google rather than Google forcing the users to use it. Using bing, yahoo etc is just a click away and yet the majority choose Google.

    And as much as MS try to force bing on people through windows and IE they still switch the default search to Google.

    It's sour grapes with MS.

    (Huh, I typed Google a lot there.. Matt Damon!)

  8. Stumpy
    Coffee/keyboard

    Hahahahahahahahaha.....

    Pot, Kettle ... Kettle, Pot.

    1. dssf

      facebook

      And, who are ms kidding? Facebook has integrated bing. It didn't USE to be that way. But, co-opting 500M users for a few hundred million dollars was a cheesey, cheap, purchasing way to attempt to get at 1st Place. I'd love to see the TRUE stats of how many fb users exit bing and continue the search using Google in a separate tab.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    It's just history repeating...

    People seem to forget how Microsoft got their monopoly, it was by having products that were easier to use, produced better results than what went before and were more popular - and that's why OEM's began bundling it in the first place, because it sold well. Then Microsoft abused that dominant position and got slapped for it.

    Oh look... Google now have a monopoly by having products that are easier to use, (arguably) produce better results and are more popular than their competitors. They have no problem using that dominance to destroy whole sectors of other businesses as & when it suits them and now they too need to get slapped, hard.

    /Choppers, cos once Google spider this they're coming for me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Think you missed

      the bit where Microsoft used undocumented APIs, hell even CPU opcodes, to make their software perform "better".

      At least Google is not rewriting TCP/IP stacks (yet)

    2. dz-015

      The truth about the Microsoft monopoly

      "how Microsoft got their monopoly ... was by having products that were easier to use, produced better results than what went before"

      What utter nonsense. They got their monopoly because they got the contract for their crappy MS-DOS to be the OS on IBM PCs, and they didn't even write that. All they've ever done since then is manipulate that fortunate position in order to increase their monopoly further and further.

      1. Solomon Grundy

        Absolutely Correct

        MS forced MS/DOS and Windows on hardware manufacturers because command line systems were far too easy for the average employee to use. MS set out to make sure PC's stayed forever in the hands of scientists and basement dwelling mouth-breathers. It worked too! Have you noticed how many people have an easy to use computer at home? Almost no one!

        1. kirovs

          You have no idea...

          What you are talking about. The big breakthrough was Xerox (called mouse) and the windows (frames) are something MS stole from others.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Stop

            @kirovs: Xerox...

            categorically *did not* invent the mouse, and it's a stretch to claim that they invented windows too. Doug Engelbart invented the mouse at SRI, see this video: youtu.be/JfIgzSoTMOs

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Re. MS, you also forgot

      FUD campaigns, illegal (or at least immoral) discounting deals to PC manufacturers if competitor products were not installed, pricing models that penalised OEMs if they offered systems without an OS or with an alternate OS installed, including open-sourced code in products without acknowledging it's origin, random buy-up and shutdown acquisitions of competitor products, committee stuffing to undermine genuine open standards, participating in what amounts to patent cartels, unnecessary license purchases/ financial loans/bailouts with strings attached to control struggling competitors and ... oh well, I could go on, but it's all a matter of history.

      One wonders what would have happened if Apple had not won it's case against Digital Research and GEM, which assured that MS had a significant clear-run at a graphical user interface in the Intel PC market. In my view GEM was significantly better to the versions of MS Windows that were available in the same time-frame.

  10. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/09/register_comments_handling/

    Micro$hit as always

    "Secondly he accused Google of blocking Windows mobile phones from working properly with YouTube." lol this is funny, if Micro$hit has crappy browser and web software then they say is Google fault ... grow up.

  11. Tony 32
    Gates Horns

    Pot calling the kettle ........

    M$ is clearly feeling threatend not only in the webspace but also in the OS and Phone OS areana. TBH I am suprised it has taken so long for them to file this.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Huh?

    "technical measures to restrict competing search engines from properly accessing it for their search results".

    in other words, Google has taken measures to stop competitors just leaching Google's search results and feeding them to the customer ... instead of having to go to the expense of setting up their own search engine.

    If he is talking about stopping others from accessing YouTube pages, then I can't see how Google have done that.

    Methinks he needs to flesh out what exactly it is that he is bleating about.

  13. Khaptain Silver badge
    Troll

    MS and the panic button

    MS ar now starting to hit the panic button

    No new innovations,

    Can't compete in the search engine market,

    Can't compete in the mobile telephone market,

    Everyone is fed up with their browser attempts,

    Business doesn't care about Windows 7, XP keeps on working for the majority.

    The new boss likes to throw chairs about.......

    The old boss got out at the right time......

    They are now moving into the final phase, flailing arms wildly complaining that other companies are now deploying tactics similar to what MS did for the last 10 years.

    The world has moved on and MS just didn't see it.

  14. Haku
    Coat

    New signs to be posted on roads leading to Microsoft head office:

    WARNING: LOW FLYING CHAIRS

  15. Fuh Quit
    Thumb Up

    Pissing competition

    I don't know who's got the higher arc in the competition - MS here or Apple and the app store story.....

    Keeps IT amusing, that's for sure....

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Ah you mean

      Piss pots calling the kettle...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Brits Abroad

    I started to use Bing recently as it is much easier to configure (than Google) to get British search results, even though I live in France. I quite like it and suggest that if MS want to do something about the Google monopoly, they had better focus on improving Bing, as they have gained at least one happy browser (me).

    I will be happy if the search business was more evenly split between several players. More competition = more innovation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Ummmmmm

      Easier to configure for uk results???? What is hard to "configure" about going to google.co.uk? Funnily enough I can "configure" google to search canadian sites by going to google.ca and french sites by going to google.fr...guess how I get results from Germany....go on take a guess.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      "More competition = more innovation"

      You'd think so, wouldn't you?

      Well, let me take you back to 2006. HTC- and others- were churning out touchscreen WinMo smartphones at a rate of knots.

      They features ARM processors (including hardware graphics acceleration), Assisted GPS, touchscreens (albeit single touch- and with a GUI to match those limitations), 3G/HSDPA, Quad-band GSM, Bluetooth 2.0, WiFi (802.11G), cameras, Google Maps, the ability to browse the 'proper' internet (not sure about Flash, I think it was available but old), they played movies, they played music, they could even stream TV channels from a good few providers (actually, I think one or two actually had DVB decoders in them...). Every new generation of phones was bringing new features as more stuff was miniaturised to the point where it'd fit

      Then Apple came up with the iPhone. A massive marketing effort, creating massive competition. This should have created phones with a featureset that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago. But so far, all that's changed is the addition of faster processors (which would have happened anyway), MultiTouch (fair dos on that one- I imagine it'd have taken a few years to get onto mobiles without them) and accelerometers (used for... err... figuring out which way up your phone is. And maybe playing games). If I've missed anything, feel free to tell me.

      And EVERY other smartphone's done the same thing. They're all nigh-on identical. It looks like everyone fired their R&D departments to make room for more marketing types. The upcoming generation of phones is faster and chromier. And that's it from what I can see. So the extra competition has produced feature-stagnation; the companies have refocussed on selling their phone to people who don't care what's in their phone so long as it's newer and shinier than the next guys because that's where the mass market money is.

      1. Goat Jam
        Stop

        Uhuh

        So you think the success of the iphone was due to apples "massive marketing effort" and had nothing to do with the fact that Windows Mobile was utterly shite and completely failed to excite people who did not own a wardrobe full of shirts with built in pocket protectors huh?

        Right.

        The only reason that HTC and co were making windows mobile phones is because there was nothing better around.

        When iphone came along, Blackberry was already in the process of destroying WinMo's market share for corporate users. This is because when people saw an alternative to the crapfest that was windows mobile they leapt at it.

        In fact, it is arguable that the iphones arrival had little initial effect at all on WinMo's market share. The people who bought iphones were the non corporate (wo)man in the street types who had been buying (also crap) Sony Ericssons and Nokia phones up until that stage. There were simply not enough apple fanboys around to account for the huge amount of iphones sold.

        You apple haters need to get a life. When the iphone came out it was totally unlike almost all the crap phones that came before it. You can whine on about how it is only successful because all the "idiots" fell for the "massive marketing" all you like but it doesn't matter how much marketing you throw at a product, if it is crap people simply wont buy it.

        That is a fact.

    3. Lewis Mettler
      Stop

      stop commingling

      Stop commingling the OS with IE and then Microsoft can talk.

      If you have a copy of IE, you have been screwed by Microsorft and your opinion does not matter. At all. Microsoft makes it so.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beware what you wish for....

    ...so you want Google to win?

    So you're happy for Google to "own" orphan works to stop others publishing them?

    So you're happy for Google to choose what devices it serves?

    So you're happy for Google to tweak it results to give it's own products priority?

    Google is taking your privacy, works and data and doing the hell it wan't with it, but becuase you get a bone in return , your happy to wag your tails.

    MS is no Angel, but someone has to take a stand.

    1. Lewis Mettler
      Stop

      perhaps

      But, if you have a copy of IE, that person can not be you. Microsoft does not permit it.

  18. Conrad Longmore
    Gates Horns

    Actually..

    Actually.. they may have a point. Google sort of lucked into having a monopoly simply by being better than the competition (not quite what happened with Microsoft). But a monopoly is a monoply and there have been cases (especially with search) that Google has been less than transparent.

    But it does take some massive cojones for MS to make this complaint. Just astounding really..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Good stuff there smoking

    Silly me I forgot that all PC default to Google.

    Reinstall Windows

    My bad, I was wrong it Bing.

    So people Forced in to using Google or was it out of choice?

    As for Firefox, yet again they have chosen to install it. Firefox use of Google is down to lovely add money they get from Google. But if the user wanted to they could change to Bing, why I dont know but anyway.

    Windows Mobile and YouTube. Seriouly you think anyone really cares about Window Mobile. So Microsoft show us the evidence of this problem, if you can.

  20. AndricD
    Coat

    to much stupid prejudice in these comments

    Just because MS is bad and has done worse things doesn't mean its ok for others to do it. if oogles in the wrong they should be brought to book as were MS.

    1. Joe Burmeister

      "they should be brought to book as were MS."

      Yer, I remember how MS was found guilty and split into two businesses. A OS business and a software business. It was crazy to allow a company to make a closed OS and closed software for that OS. It's anticompetitive. Wait.....what happened again I fell into a time warp after they lost the case....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    What?!

    Where's the monopoly when there's a freedom of choice? It's like calling democracy a monopoly.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Balance

    I detest MS and Google just about equally. I fail to see however, why sharp practive on Microsoft's part should bar them from complaining about sharp practice by Google. The same rules should be applied to all companies. If you get nicked for speeding does that mean you can't object to other people speeding without getting nicked? Far from it. If you get nicked for speeding you will feel a sense of injustice when you see other's speeding without getting nicked.

    As for Google's better product. Anybody who hosts a small website will tell you how much bandwidth is taken up by Google's crawlers. Because Google's crawlers suck up your entire site they can end up using much more bandwidth than ordinary users who drop in to look at one page. The worst bit of it is that if you check your logs you will see one Google crawler come along and suck up your entire website and then a few hours later another Google crawler will come along and do the same. Why do this? Why can't the different crawlers share the data? Good product? It might give good results (although I don't find them that good a lot of the time) but what goes on in the background is crap.

    1. dssf

      We need fusion...

      Demopoly or Monocracy....

      I imagine that ms will hiss and seethe like Commander Remmick and say, "We seek PEACEFUL coEXISTENCE!"

      They then will change it to "pieceful", a minor technicality.

      Speaking of fusion, would you rather be Borged, or ...?

  23. codemonkey
    WTF?

    I Like This :)

    "Secondly he accused Google of blocking Windows Mobile phones from **working properly** with YouTube." ( My *s )

    So you can access OWA via IE and get a full interface but on FF or anything else you only get a cut down version. In fact, as you log in you get told:

    "If you are using a browser other than Internet Explorer 6 or later, you can only use the Light client."

    Restrictive? I mean, we pay for the service...Oh yeah, there's the problem :)

  24. Muckminded
    FAIL

    Bang and blame

    MS will blame Apple and Google for making them rush to market with a handset-bricking mobile operating system.

    MS appears to be completely incapable of detecting or developing any new trends in computing. They waited years to get into music players, smart phones, and web search, to name a few. Which is why they feel the need to purchase their way into markets, or now, suing their way into them. Sometimes the barrier to entry is your own ineptitude.

    It would be interesting to hear their take on how this "monopoly" should be resolved. I'm guessing it would involve a redirect to Bing.

    1. dssf
      Joke

      msoft should bang away at successx

      They should create RealDoll Derivatives and Prophylactic Futures... Imagine a lassie... ummm.. doll who...ummm, that can huck, buck, writh, moan, gyrate, show the swirl (nod to BSG) and hug as strongly as Ahnold... (well, actually, I surmise that he can HUG strongy, but not attributing all those other capabilities to him...).

      Do an operation dumbo with about 600,000 Real Dolls and there might be piece... ummm, peace on Earth.. and snappiness to unmarried men....The world's dic()tators might be busied groping, touching, and pinging, whiling away on a self-imposed TTL

      Actually, there are some models for women, too. But, i know there are vastly more male programmers, so, between programmers and politicians, a LOT of guys can be kept busyi. Forced upgrades, built-in-ahhhhbbb-pole-lessons would keep a steady stream but never a trickle of income for msha... uummm, msoft...

      This could represent a (w)hole new asset to the newly-founded Hardware Division: "MSHAFT", complete with haptic feedback (or, depending ont he model) and haptic feedfront... A new form of joystick and immersive endtertainment.... Actually, one will have begat... spawned the other... set of core processes not unendtirely deependent up on endtensive heartbeats...

  25. Kay Burley ate my hamster
    Stop

    No Microsoft, No!

    When I install your OS's the built in browser defaults to MSN as the homepage and Bing as the search. I then choose to remove IE and install FF or Chrome which has Google search.

    If it's a client PC which is required to use IE because of CRM's lock-in with IE I CHOOSE to change the search to Google because Bing can't even find Microsoft pages!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazed

    I'm truly amazed at this. MS copies everyone, steals their ideas, pushes it as their own and shoves it down everyones throat. Google has come up with some great things and people like what they see, so they use it. MS has copied Google and now are crying fowl?

    I can't see it. Google has never been forced upon me in any way, shape or form. No Chrome Browser, no OS, no search engine, no cloud apps. nothing.

    Meanwhile, MS always seems to find a way to work Bing onto my PC, or get IE on there or make it as to where I need it for something.

    I chose using Google because I like it. I chose not to use MS because it's inferior and I don't like it.

    Both popularity's are based on Choice.

    1. Lewis Mettler
      Stop

      but the purchase of IE was not a choice at all

      You were forced to buy IE.

      How is that a choice?

      If you have a copy of IE, your opinion simply does not matter. Microsoft does not permit it. You will purchase IE anyway.

  27. Goat Jam
    Gates Horns

    It is astounding

    Microsoft:

    They already have a OS monopoly which they used to great effect to create a browser monopoly by illegally bundling their browser with their monopoly OS.

    This worked a treat for many years. In true monopolist fashion MS then declared that they had won the browser wars and would no longer invest in improving the technology. The execrable IE6 was deemed to be the pinnacle of browser tech.

    Yes, IE6.

    Things stagnated for years, web developers got lazy and started *requiring* IE6 and MS very nearly got a monopoly on the Internet.

    Fortunately Firefox came along and the world dodged a bullet. More and more people started *deliberately* installing FF just to get away from that piece of excrement from Redmond. Other browsers came along, web devs were forced out of their lethargy and had to begin following web standards again.

    Due to the continued illegal bundling of IE however, Microsofts browser still has the majority of market share although that is slowly being whittled down by those annoying people who continue to *choose* an alternate browser *despite* having IE illegally pre-installed on their OS.

    Meanwhile, google revolutionised internet search while MS wasn't looking.

    Microsoft decide they need to own that market too and start their own search engine. They then use their existing OS monopoly as well as their majority share of the browser market to push their new search engine.

    All computers now come set by default to use Microsoft search.

    Despite this illegal market leverage, people *still* prefer to use google search and make the deliberate decision to reconfigure the default search on their computers to Google.

    Despite all their best efforts at leveraging their existing dominance in two markets to push people towards other MS products people *insist* on exercising their right to *choice* and reconfigure their PC's to Google.

    It must be infuriating to the control freaks at MS.

    Why can't people just wallow in their lethargy and do as they are told! It's just not FAIR!

    So, in their twisted little minds they reason that Google must be doing something *illegal* in order to make all these simpletons use Google instead of Bing. Some sort of mind control, or perhaps tampering with the water supply.

    It doesn't matter what it is, the only solution is to sue Google so that we can get back to the normal situation where MS decides what everyone can and can't use and makes them pay for MS products whether they want to or not.

  28. mhenriday
    Thumb Down

    In an attempt to find a living referrent for the term «brazen-faced»,

    I performed a search (via Google) for «Brad Smith» (Wikipedia was no help, as its disambiguation list only provided two persons - a political scientist and a «Holocaust denier» - in addition to a plethora of sports figures) and finally found the following : https://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/bradsmith/ . Now I know....

  29. dssf

    timesheet and accounting software that force msie as only browser

    What pisses me off is that the time keeping/accounting software we us refuses to work with FF. It ONLY works with msie. Uses active hex and other stuff that to me could have just work OS-agnostic. Tards.

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