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Print 26 comment(s) - last by BZDTemp.. on Feb 25 at 3:27 PM

Google blames Microsoft for allegations

Antitrust cases against large companies in the tech world are nothing new. Microsoft is certainly no stranger to antitrust allegations and the firm has been found guilty of violations on several occasions in the past. The most recent antitrust charges in Europe against Microsoft had to do with the bundling of IE with Windows. The charges were ultimately dropped after Microsoft and the EU agreed to a ballot box offering users a choice of several web browsers. Testing of the browser ballot box was set to start this week in some European nations.

This time around, Google has found itself at the center of new allegations of antitrust activities. The European Commission has revealed that it is in the early stages of an antitrust investigation into Google. The EC said, "The Commission can confirm that it has received three complaints against Google which it is examining."

The EC didn’t specify what companies had filed the complaints, but Google announced the names of the firms in a blog post reports 
PC World. The three firms are Foundem (a UK price comparison engine), ejustice.fr (a French legal search site), and Ciao (a German search site). Google points the finger at Microsoft for most of the charges though. According to Google, Microsoft recently purchased Ciao and Foundem is a member of iComp, a trade group funded mostly by Microsoft.

Google legal counsel Julia Holtz said, "Microsoft is our competitor and that explains many actions." She also said, "We are hopeful we can convince the Commission not to pursue a case. I am confident they will conclude there is nothing to it."

The core of the EC inquiry -- which the commission points out is not an official investigation at this time -- centers around Google's search algorithms. Foundem alleges that Google blacklisted its site by changing its search results and pushing Foundem results further down the rankings. Holtz maintains that Google uses neither blacklists nor whitelists for any sites.

The 
Wall Street Journal reports that the EC asked Google to “comment on the allegations" earlier this month and reports that the probe centers on search advertising rather than Google's search algorithms as PC World claims.



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RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By filipenko on 2/24/2010 1:33:59 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, sure it's about "evil EU vs good USA corp"...rofl

You do understand that one of the complaints was from Microsoft, or to be more precise from Europe-based Microsoft-owned company?


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By fatedtodie on 2/24/2010 2:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
You do understand that... even if it WAS Microsoft that doesn't make the allegation false?

Google does the same thing and Google was one of the 2 major groups behind what forced Microsoft to have the Browser screen crap.

It isn't a conspiracy, the EU is picking American companies to bleed for extra money.
At the same time Google is evil in a lot of what it does, and Microsoft WAS evil and has mostly cleaned up its act, although people still treat the company like they they are still doing what Google and Apple are currently getting away with.

/Rant

Note for clarification: Evil in this situation is used to note "not good" not "needs to be sent to hell"


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By BZDTemp on 2/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By carniver on 2/24/2010 5:13:28 PM , Rating: 2
Whether or not they punish companies from other countries, EU gets the biggest payments from the huge fines imposed on American companies that they successfully convict. They don't necessarily have grudges against US corps but just in terms of profit it makes perfect sense to go against the biggest target.


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By Strunf on 2/24/2010 5:56:16 PM , Rating: 4
What other way you recommend to punish a company that has broke the law? if breaking the law would only cost you 1% of your revenue then it wouldn't really make sense to stop breaking the law... for instance if Intel used anti-competitive practices every day and it only payed 1% of their revenue in fines then it would be stupid for them to stop doing it.
People that broke the law may pay fines that cost them one year of salary, MS in comparison didn't even pay 10%...


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By rudy on 2/24/2010 9:40:46 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is they did not break the law because there was now law. Just a loosely defined you have to be nice to smaller companies. I would not care if they said look here is a problem from here on out every company must follow these rules. But somethings are just silly they dont force linux to have a browser ballot now do they? M$ was doing the exact same thing EVERY other software company in the world was doing shipping their own browser with and OS. So what was illegal about that? Nothing other then the fact they were the biggest and most successful. So basically you can do what ever you want and then as soon as you get big enough to make a couple hundred million off of suddenly all the rules change and you cannot do what you and everyone else has always done.


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By BZDTemp on 2/25/2010 3:56:28 AM , Rating: 2
*sigh*

"Nothing other then the fact they were the biggest and most successful" and here is exactly why what Microsoft and Intel did was wrong. When there is a monopoly or a de facto monopoly then special rules apply. This is why no one cares, except in this forum, that Apple supplies Safari with their OS but it is being looked into how they run their iTunes business.

Oh, and for the record. As for getting "big enough to make a couple hundred million" it does not matter if you make money or not nor does size as an absolute matter. What matter is market share.

Once again I urge everyone here to read about what a monopoly is. Here is a good place to start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly


RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By JPForums on 2/25/2010 10:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Nothing other then the fact they were the biggest and most successful" and here is exactly why what Microsoft and Intel did was wrong. When there is a monopoly or a de facto monopoly then special rules apply.


It's a shame that you don't seem to understand that creating special resrictions for the biggest player is an incentive to do poorly. Yes, rules must apply, but they need not be different between larger or smaller companies. Well thought out rules allows companies, both large and small, to compete fairly. For that matter, I can't think of a whole lot of rules (in a general sense) that should apply only to specific industries.

Of course, any time a government intervenes in any way in an industry, they need to place safe guards to keep companies from trying to exploit this intervention. For instance, restrictions must be applied when there is a government enforced monopoly (I.E. utilities). If the government hands an electric company a monopoly, they have a duty to protect their citizens from exploitation.

Government intervention aside, I find that in most cases, special rules aren't what is needed to fix the problem. Sometimes, a reevaluation of the rules (that everyone follows) is needed, but more often, simply enforcing rules already in place would have stopped the problem before it got so large.

Disclaimer: I in no way support government enforced monopolies. I do, however, support diligent monitoring to make sure exploitation doesn't take place until such a time as the monopoly is removed. To be clear, government oversight is not an alternate solution to the problem, but rather a bandage to slow the bleeding until the problem is eventually addressed (or not).


By BZDTemp on 2/25/2010 3:27:58 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure I can follow you logic. No special rules was setup and had Intel, Microsoft and others followed the normal rules then there would have be no case for the EU to investigate and certainly no fines would have been set.

Since they did not follow the rules naturally there were fines. And to help ensure a fair solution form here on a special rule was then created enforcing MS to offer the choice of browser. What would have been a better solution? Surely telling Microsoft to stop being bad and then neither fine or set up special rules would have made Microsoft change their ways.

In a perfect world common sense would prevail and rules would only be needed as guidelines to help specify what is right and wrong. However just as with traffic laws prohibiting speeding which are pretty ineffective if not policed and backed up by a system of penalties, telling businesses to play fair only works if there is a way to handle those which break the rules.

I guess one could argue that monopolies eventually die because they get to clumsy and eventually someone clever comes a long with a better idea. However that theory only holds up as long as a monopoly "only" uses it market control to exploit that very market. Clearly Microsoft has been doing that else Windows would be a lot cheaper but on the same time they have used their OS monopoly to try and take over in other markets (online, media, internet browsers, office software, development tools...).


By JPForums on 2/25/2010 11:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What other way you recommend to punish a company that has broke the law? if breaking the law would only cost you 1% of your revenue then it wouldn't really make sense to stop breaking the law ... for instance if Intel used anti-competitive practices every day and it only payed 1% of their revenue in fines then it would be stupid for them to stop doing it.


Agreed, the punishment should fit the crime. If Intel stands to make $XXX (over a specified period of time) breaking the law, then the fine won't be effective unless its larger than $XXX. Take a look at how long the practice was taking place before Intel got caught to determine the specified period of time.


By karielash on 2/25/2010 5:17:28 AM , Rating: 2

You had me at stupid....


By JPForums on 2/25/2010 10:47:09 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
quote:
It isn't a conspiracy, the EU is picking American companies to bleed for extra money.

If the EU was only going after US companies then you may have had a point but since that is far from the case your claim is just stupid and malicious. Harsh words I know but what else will you call when someone misinformed persist with telling downright lies!


Regardless of EU's standpoint on bleeding American companies, your argument is flawed. The fact that they also prosecute non-American companies doesn't prove that they aren't trying to bleed American companies. It just proves that they also have an interest in prosecuting those other companies.

That said, EU is not the Evil blood sucking organization that a lot of people make it out to be. They are a government entity like any other, no more or less evil than the people running it. Like any other government entity, they have no more power than they are given. When they imposed fines on Intel, Intel gave them the power to enforce it. If Intel had pulled out of the European market, the EU could pursue them no further. It is Intel that decided to get into the European market, and Intel knows full well that means playing by the established rules. It would appear that Intel still values that market despite the huge fine.

However, it does seem that EU is quite negligent and more than a little biased when it comes to their targets. First, I have to ask myself why they allow these practices to go on for so long before prosecuting the company. It does seem to point to a desire to get more money out of said company (regardless of nationality).

Second, I have to ask myself why they don't prosecute everyone implicated in a case. When someone buys illegal drugs, who is at fault, the buyer or the seller. When someone buys illegal arms, who is at fault, the buyer or the seller. When someone takes a bribe, who is at fault, the briber or the one taking the bribe. It seems to me that anytime an illegal transaction takes place, both parties are to blame. So, why didn't a single European company that accepted the "illegal" deals that Intel was selling them get prosecuted. Clearly a lesser fine is warranted, but it wasn't as if they didn't have an alternate source for their products. They could even have used Intel products without the lucrative deal. They simply chose to ignore the legality (or lack there of) in favor of the payoff. A short sighted decision perhaps, but in the end, theirs to make.


"We’re Apple. We don’t wear suits. We don’t even own suits." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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