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

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

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.

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.

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.

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