Google faces Microsoft ire

Steve Dinneen
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Microsoft has stepped up its rivalry with Google, claiming in its first-ever complaint to antitrust regulators that the internet giant systematically thwarts search competition.

In its complaint to the European Commission, Microsoft claims Google engages in a “pattern of actions” that unfairly impede competition. The court documents include allegations that Google “walls off” content on its YouTube site, so other search engines cannot display accurate results; makes it hard for Microsoft’s mobile phone software to show videos from YouTube; blocks access to content owned by book publishers; and blocks websites from using competing search boxes.

Microsoft said it felt it was time to challenge Google on legal grounds. A spokesman said: “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in the markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of European consumers.”

Google is already under investigation by the European Commission after complaints from three small companies, one of them owned by Microsoft.

Google controls over 90 per cent of the search advertising market in Europe, well ahead of Microsoft’s Bing. Browsers such as Firefox and Google’s Chrome have also eaten away at Microsoft Internet Explorer’s market lead.

A Google spokesman said: “We’re not surprised that Microsoft has done this, since one of their subsidiaries was one of the original complainants. For our part, we continue to discuss the case with the European Commission and we’re happy to explain to anyone how our business works.”