Google Claims IE's Searchbar Is Uncompetitive
from the this-could-backfire dept
Although Google is trouncing Microsoft in the search wars, they’re using every option to go after their rival. The company has been talking to the Justice Department about the fact that Microsoft’s forthcoming IE7 will have a searchbox pointing to MSN. They claim that this move is similar to other actions by the company, which got them into trouble in the past. This argument seems flawed for several reasons. It’s very easy for the consumer to switch browsers, unlike operating systems. The rapid growth of Firefox proves that the company has no monopoly when it comes to browsers. Even within IE, it will be easy to add the Google toolbar or go to Google.com in the address bar. There’s also the fact that Google has signed deals with Firefox and Opera to be the anchor tenant of their searchbars. By getting into bed with the government in going after a distant rival, the company is probably making a strategic mistake. Like Netflix’s suit against Blockbuster, they may legitimize MSN search, to both consumers and analysts. More importantly, a company with the market position that Google has is bound to regret any move that expands the scope of antitrust case law. Would anyone be surprised if at some point the government investigates Google’s “bundling” of search and email? Google’s doing a great job competing with Microsoft; it’s hard to see what they have to gain by getting the government more involved in their battles.