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), (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.

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 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

"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:

RE: Technically that's not blacklisting
By JPForums on 2/25/2010 10:05:33 AM , Rating: 2
"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...).

"Well, there may be a reason why they call them 'Mac' trucks! Windows machines will not be trucks." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
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