Microsoft: Hey, If We Had To Go Through Europe's Crazy Antitrust Process, Why Shouldn't Google?

from the at-least-they-see-the-irony dept

I’ve suggested in the past that neither Microsoft nor Google should be pointing the antitrust/monopoly finger at each other. After all, both companies seem prone to getting accused of antitrust violations. Yet, as a competitive tool to whack at competitors, it’s apparently way too tempting. Not long after Microsoft spent years defending itself against antitrust charges in the EU, it has now filed a complaint against Google in the EU, alleging antitrust violations. To be fair, the company is pretty upfront about how this might seem ironic:

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. This is the first time Microsoft Corporation has ever taken this step. More so than most, we recognize the importance of ensuring that competition laws remain balanced and that technology innovation moves forward.

To be fair, the specific antitrust concerns that Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith lays out against Google appear to be a bit more compelling than some of the previous attempts by Microsoft to make Google out to be a monopolist, such as silly claims about where companies appear in search results. Specifically, Microsoft highlights Google blocking access to certain YouTube data, so that only Google can provide good searches of YouTube videos, as well as blocking Microsoft’s mobile platform from accessing more YouTube data, which is done by Android.

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.

Unfortunately, Google has refused to allow Microsoft’s new Windows Phones to access this YouTube metadata in the same way that Android phones and iPhones do. 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. 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.

While the full details aren’t clear, and this is only one side, those do seem like valid concerns if it’s true that Google is really limiting such access. The concern over antitrust is always in whether or not the company is abusing its position to hold back competition unfairly. I don’t know if Microsoft has a case, and I’m especially skeptical of the EU’s antitrust process, which seems more focused on punishing success than on making sure there’s no real consumer harm. However, this is certainly going to be a case worth paying attention to over the next few years…

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Companies: google, microsoft

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Comments on “Microsoft: Hey, If We Had To Go Through Europe's Crazy Antitrust Process, Why Shouldn't Google?”

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bryan says:

Re: Hate to say it

Google makes the YouTube app for Android and iPhone, it does not give the access Microsoft wants to other 3rd parties. If Google doesn’t want to make an app for Windows Phone then they are not compelled to. Microsoft needs to turn Windows Phone into an attractive enough platform that Google wants to make a YouTube app for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wait… he says first time, but clearly there were previous attempts. Then he goes on rambling about Youtube… why bitch about Google? He should be complaining about Youtube, not its parent company.

Boohoo poor Microsoft. Not like they didn’t screw their users for years… and aren’t still doing it. No pity for them. They always were the ruthless ones and now it’s being done to them, they start crying.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Monopoly or not...

If my understanding is correct, Google still makes 90 some percent of it’s money from the advertisements in it’s search. The simple way to fight Google, if they piss us off, is to just not use their search. That’s a crap ton easier then not using what makes Microsoft money (Windows, Office). Hit them where it counts. I’m sure other video hosting sites will be glad to take Youtube’s place.

If what the people living in the glass house say is true, then it may be a valid reason.

P3T3R5ON (profile) says:

Purchase vs Free

Windows is not really a choice these days, nor was it when Microsoft had to go through anti-trust cases. Google is a choice, the internet currently has and did have a lot of search engines. The reason Google is popular is because it works and offers more then the rest.

So no Google shouldn’t have to go through the anti-trust bs because it’s a choice to use them. Microsoft did because 70% of computers sold at that time had Windows on them. Not leaving many of us a choice.

Google is awesome, stop bitching about their awesomeness.

Google for World Dominator!!!

Chris in Utah (profile) says:

No... wait... comment!!

“We can’t expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers.” — Christopher Jennings

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” by Albert Einstein.

I saw the first on another blog on the issue that braught up the OS frag issue on the systems rather than the anti-trust and then I realized something putting these two together. See it yet?

[fill in blank] proof jobs has been staring us in the face.. which brings me to my final PSA of the day.

To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
– George Orwell

hmm (profile) says:


does ANYONE use bing anymore?

since bing isn’t really a search engine with its own “true” backend and is just basically an amalgamation of google and other engine searches, all nicely shuffled into a slightly different order it makes pretty much no sense to use it for anything……..if Microsoft wants to access reams of video data all it has to do is create an ACTUAL DAMN SEARCH ENGINE and a competitor to youtube, thats friendlier and easier to use and thus would become more popular……

hmm (profile) says:


if Bing isn’t just a fake piece of crap that grabs (RIAA Robo-Editor – steals…at $1 per word!!!! BEEP) other peoples results processed on THEIR servers, then surely if google blocked them entirely, then Bing would continue to function pretty much as currently.

What would in fact happen, is suddenly bing would have most of its search index “disappear” since its just using google results directly, and nothing of its own.

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