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  (Source: trendsupdates.com)
Microsoft says Google unlawfully overcharged it for advertisements

U.S. antitrust regulators are looking into whether Google unlawfully increased advertising rates 50-fold for Microsoft Corp., according to Businessweek.

Earlier this year, Microsoft filed an antitrust complaint against Google in Europe saying that the Internet giant was dominating the search market as well as other areas such as the mobile-related realm. Around that same time, the U.S. jumped in on the Google antitrust bandwagon when Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) called for a hearing on Google's possible anti-competitive practices.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began investigating the accusations against Google's behavior on June 24, 2011, sending subpoenas to several companies including Microsoft. The FTC is looking to figure out whether or not Google ranks its own search results above rivals' results, and whether or not Google uses its control of the Android mobile OS to discourage smartphone makers from using other applications. Overall, the FTC hopes to reveal (with the help of companies like Microsoft) whether Google has been abusing its dominant position in many different areas.

The U.S. Senate prepared to question Google and Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt earlier this week regarding these antitrust issues. In a U.S. Senate Judiciary antitrust committee hearing this week, U.S. lawmakers further criticized Google claiming that Google favors its own services over rivals when it comes to search.

Now, the FTC is investigating a few specific complaints from Microsoft, one of which claims that Google unlawfully increased advertising rates 50-fold for Microsoft. This complaint is part of the larger ongoing investigation of Google's possible anti-competitive practices.

Microsoft initially complained about the increased ad rate back in 2007. According to Microsoft, the cost for placing a Windows Live ad next to search results for the word "Hotmail" went from 10 cents per mouse click to $5 per mouse click. Businessweek's anonymous source said during that time, Google told Microsoft that the price increase was due to users being directed to a low-quality website when clicking on the ad -- but the website was the homepage for Windows Live, which includes Hotmail.

Adam Kovacevich, a Google spokesman, said that he was unaware of the details of Microsoft's allegations concerning the ads, but noted that rates are usually partially determined by how closely an ad is related to a user's search.

Microsoft Spokesman Jack Evans said that Google shouldn't be allowed to continue stopping others from "innovating and offering competitive alternatives."

The FTC is also investigating Microsoft's complaint that Google pressured advertisers to partake in contracts that make it challenging to advertise with rivals like Yahoo and Bing. In addition, Microsoft accused Google of producing hurdles that block advertisers from comparing the number of times users click on their ads they run on Google as opposed to other rival sites.

Google claimed 59 percent of the U.S. online search advertising revenue in the second quarter of this year while Microsoft claimed 9 percent and Yahoo claimed 7 percent.


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I like it when..
By imaheadcase on 9/23/2011 8:26:43 AM , Rating: 1
..a company gets competition they chalk it up to anti-competitive. Well news flash, that's how it works. You think wal-mart got big because it was the best place, no because it was ruthless and knows how to sell.

That is what business is, you can have the best product in the world, but you can't win over anyone if you can't sell it.




RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/23/2011 8:55:31 AM , Rating: 3
So you like it when companies hide the best options from you so they can steal your business and leave you with less? Cool?


RE: I like it when..
By quiksilvr on 9/23/2011 9:30:08 AM , Rating: 2
At this point, it's too soon to tell the details of the case. Is Google charging all other email advertisers this amount, or is it just Microsoft? Is there a clear cut algorithm that determines the cost of the ad with relation to the search input?

After seeing the bullsh|t Oracle put Google through only to find out one of their high ranking peoples embraced Google and Java relationships, I'll wait until all cards are on the table before making an opinion on it.


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/23/2011 11:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
Definitely too soon, its just going by the OP, he seemed to indicate we should just trust the players involved and not scrutinize it. I was just trying to highlight why that makes no sense to me. But good point none-the-less


RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2011 10:45:45 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So you like it when companies hide the best options from you so they can steal your business and leave you with less? Cool?


It's not Google's job to inform you of all the options out there. There are other search engines and services out there for you to use. Of course Google is going to recommend their own services first, that doesn't mean they "stole" your business.

Why don't you sue Verizon because they "hid" the fact that Sprint had a better plan for your phone?


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/23/2011 3:36:53 PM , Rating: 1
Ohhhh cool, an angst response. -_-

Thanks for clearing that up 'bud', its all clear to me now!

On a more serious note, I never claimed that that was Google's job.

However, if they are manipulating SEARCH results (you know, their actual 'job' if we have to use your sad terminology for simplicity sake) to put a larger weight on their services for their gain, that tends to be a monopolistic and antitrust-like action.

So, Verizon's job isn't to give me search results, or advertise for a competitor. Unfortunately, if a competitor offers a more relevant product, it sort-of IS Google's job. At the very least, Google can not hide results in favor of its own unless in fact it is not the result of bias.

That's the game they chose. So Reclaimer, pls reclaim common sense and get back to me. Or better yet, don't. Thanks!


RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2011 4:10:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, Verizon's job isn't to give me search results, or advertise for a competitor. Unfortunately, if a competitor offers a more relevant product, it sort-of IS Google's job.


It is?

Can you please find it in writing somewhere that says a search engine must be completely unbiased and never favor in-house results? What law is being broken? And I don't think "anti-trust" is going to fly because there's no monopoly here and never was.

Search engines NEVER before operated by relevance until Google. This was the way things were ALWAYS done in the past. Google was the one who sorted results by relevance and other factors, I find it comical that you now claim it's the "job" of a search provider to do this in an argument against Google. The company who practically invented the modern search engine.

Common sense? This isn't a court case, it's simply an investigation backed by huge lobbying money from Microsoft and others. You're already clearly accusing Google of wrongdoing before we've heard any facts.

Google has won EVERY SINGLE private lawsuit against it. As recently as this year in Ohio against MyTriggers.com. I find it really hard to believe that if there was genuine wrongdoing on the scale that Microsoft is accusing them of, that all of these cases would rule in favor of Google.


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/28/2011 11:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
Are you the type of person where everything needs to be spelled out for you? It's implicit. Google, or any search engine, can't REALLY expect to survive and remain profitable (search ads) if in fact it is not providing me the most relevant ads. Are you having a hard time comprehending because this seems really clear to me and I'm blown away at your large quantity of words and yet utter lack of content in your response.


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/28/2011 11:14:34 AM , Rating: 2
Also, you can talk abotu the past all you want, but believe it or not, peopel actualyl expect search results to be sorted by relvance now. Like it or not, its been like that for at least a decade and its largely responsible for how dependant people have become on the internet, and in turn, on Google's search results. If you can't wrap your head around how the market has asically made that the implicit standard, you have much bigger issues than your flame posts.


RE: I like it when..
By JonnyDough on 9/23/2011 3:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
It's nothing new, Microsoft (and formerly Yahoo before being bought) did the same exact crap. Why would you NOT list your company first? Nobody said they couldn't advertise using their own browsers, search engines, etc. Consumers catch on, and use something else. Free market.


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/28/2011 11:21:45 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think they should be unable to advertise on the most used search engine in the world, they should just make it obvious and seperate it from actual search results as a courtesy to their users.

Essentialy throw it right in with the paid-for ads, you know, the ones that also get preferential treatment. That's all.

I'm sure there are logistical reasons why they may not (they potentially sacrifice a paid ad spot or 'bombard' users with more ads) but I still think this is the better solutions. I only like Google for relevant information. Nothing else.


RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/11, Rating: 0
RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2011 10:42:14 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
U.S. lawmakers further criticized Google claiming that Google favors its own services over rivals when it comes to search.


Like this! How is this a valid criticism? If I go into a Verizon store, they don't try to sell me a Sprint plan. Of COURSE Google is favoring their own services when you go to www.Google.com! Why the hell shouldn't they? You are only there because of Google in the first place!

I do not understand.


RE: I like it when..
By Joey B on 9/23/2011 11:32:58 AM , Rating: 2
The argument is that the search engine should be unbiased between services. Google's stance has been that they are returning what they feel the best results are. If they don't then the user will pick up and move to a different search engine.

What I get a kick out of is when Yelp complains about Google scraping their data to display to users with a link to Yelp, then complain about how Google no longer displays their results first. You can have it one way or the other. You can't complain when Google makes their own service because you didn't want them to use yours.


RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2011 11:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The argument is that the search engine should be unbiased between services.


Says who? And why? I was under the impression that Google was a private enterprise, not a public service.

quote:
You can't complain when Google makes their own service because you didn't want them to use yours.


I agree. Really petty.


RE: I like it when..
By NellyFromMA on 9/23/2011 3:42:24 PM , Rating: 2
So, you want to go back to the days of terrible search results? Or you'd rather just do everything Google wants you to do or buy or think or say?

It's almost analagous to propaganda in a sense. You trust Google to provide you the most RELEVANT results. That's why everyone has grown to trust it as a search provider. Then, Google decided to expand at a never-ending pace all sorts of services. Great. But not at the cost of its core value, RELEVANT results. The world has become way to dependant on this (for better or worse) and with that, too much power in Google's hands, for them to at least not clearly state this practice if it is in fact the case. They can not claim a level economic playing field if it isn't.

A solution might be if they want to push their services, they should have to make them stand out from normal results and be glaringly obvious they are favored not for relevance, but because they are 1st party services.

You know why they don't do this? Because it will drive users away who want to trust their results. Are you getting it yet? My guess is no...


RE: I like it when..
By Reclaimer77 on 9/23/2011 3:55:16 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So, you want to go back to the days of terrible search results?


Aka. The time before Google? No, not really.

quote:
Or you'd rather just do everything Google wants you to do or buy or think or say?


Google's services and search engine are completely free to users. So I'm not sure what your point is. Also if a search on Google isn't to my liking, I can use Bing, Yahoo search, etc etc. There is no monopoly here.

You're looking at this all wrong. Nobody is being "hurt" by Google except for competitors missing out on the big money. In other words, this is all sour grapes. If Google wasn't the best, it wouldn't be the biggest. The FREE MARKET gave Google it's position.

quote:
They can not claim a level economic playing field if it isn't.


There is no monopoly though. You cannot blame Google for people using Google. Don't hand me this level field anti-Corporate crap.

quote:
A solution might be if they want to push their services, they should have to make them stand out from normal results and be glaringly obvious they are favored not for relevance, but because they are 1st party services.


LOL and you think that would make a difference? Like people out there would suddenly go "hey, I'm not using this! It came from GOOGLE!!"??


RE: I like it when..
By seamonkey79 on 9/23/2011 4:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
Case in point, up until Google came along, Yahoo was the largest search engine around. What happened when a better service showed up? Yahoo all but died, and are still losing the last vestiges of life that they've somehow managed to hold onto for these years.

If a better service than Google wants to come to the playing field, more power to them. Until then, claiming that because they're more popular because they're cheating is a baby talking. They're more popular because they're better at giving me what I look for when I look for something. Bing is number two, but it is that... number two.


Well M$ Hit a new low....
By unimatrix725 on 9/23/2011 2:55:25 PM , Rating: 2
The senator is pissed he didnt get a butt load of money from google. So Microsoft happily gave him the money he was wanting. It boosts Microsofts bottom line, they are no longer the "ruler of the software world". They cant make a great phone, os, or a search engine. Microsoft may as well jump in bed with AT&T.




RE: Well M$ Hit a new low....
By althaz on 9/25/2011 10:47:37 AM , Rating: 2
Except that MS make what is generally regarded as the best Phone OS, the best Desktop OS and quite a lot of people also hand them the "best search engine" tag (to be clear, I do not, google ftw!).


By HoosierEngineer5 on 9/23/2011 5:20:24 PM , Rating: 3
from bundling Internet Explorer with Windows?




How ironic
By Beenthere on 9/23/2011 10:49:50 AM , Rating: 1
A company convicted for rampant anti-trust violations on three continents for decades calls Google's behavior anti-competitive. How does it feel Uncle Bill?




Yeah right
By TSS on 9/23/11, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah right
By NellyFromMA on 9/23/2011 8:52:28 AM , Rating: 2
Hi, hate monger # 2349823423048234. I think you miss the main reason why US people have gotten annoyed over (largely BS) antitrust cases from the EU against US companies. This is US companies dealing with US regulators. It's a stupid case, but its not fundementally stupid on all levels. It's worth hearing out. Whereas EU basically telling MS what to do, and the VERY SPECIFIC contents of that arguement (they just wanted Mozilla to dethrone IE) so hence it was political as well as financial for the EU. This is different. Is that enough details or do you just want to stick to mongering?


RE: Yeah right
By seamonkey79 on 9/23/2011 8:53:25 AM , Rating: 2
Let's see if they actually find something anti-competitive, rather than the normal "they're big enough to pay so they have to pay" that the EU finds...


RE: Yeah right
By Savvin on 9/23/2011 9:00:09 AM , Rating: 2
Well, the big difference here is that the US Government isn't suing Google. They are investigating them on the behalf of other businesses. Nowhere does it state that the US Gov. is looking for financial compensation (overly hefty fines that are way beyond reasonable like the EU normally does.) Seriously, if you really look at it from the outside, most of the EU cases end up with ridiculously high fines that only make it seem like the EU is making an easy cash grab. It's almost never seen as a benefit to the people or other businesses. Just do a comparison of similar cases in the US compared to the EU and you will see what I'm talking about. In almost every similar case, fines and penalties are several times higher in the EU without any legitimate reason as to why that is. Again, seems to me like an easy cash grab by the EU.


RE: Yeah right
By tayb on 9/23/2011 9:32:41 AM , Rating: 3
We are complaining about the EU siphoning money out of American corporations for completely nonsense reasons.

You sued Microsoft $1,000,000,000 for including a browser with the OS. I wonder what the backlash would be if the US fined BMW the same amount for including a factory sound deck in their automobiles. That's anti-competitive to the sound deck market.


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