The Redmond company says it’s filing an antitrust complaint against Google with the European Commission — alleging that the search giant has unfairly kept Microsoft Bing and Windows Phone from working properly with YouTube; attempted to gain exclusive access to many of the world’s books; prevented advertisers from porting their Google campaign data to Microsoft’s advertising system; blocked European web sites from using competing search boxes; and discriminated against rivals by “making it more costly for them to attain prominent placement for their advertisements.”
That list of allegations is laid out in a blog post by Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, who says the company decided to add its voice to “a large and growing number of companies registering their concerns about the European search market.”
Google is already under investigation in Europe, where its market share is more than 90 percent — considerably higher than its 65 percent share of the U.S. search market.
Speaking to the New York Times, a Google spokesman in Europe noted that a Microsoft subsidiary was already among the companies sparking the case, so it wasn’t a surprise that Microsoft itself has jumped in. He added that Google would be “happy to explain to anyone how our business works.”
Smith acknowledges the irony of the situation, given Microsoft’s own antitrust battles with European regulators over its use of market power.
“Having spent more than a decade wearing the shoe on the other foot with the European Commission, the filing of a formal antitrust complaint is not something we take lightly,” he writes. “This is the first time Microsoft Corporation has ever taken this step. More so than most, we recognize the importance of ensuring that competition laws remain balanced and that technology innovation moves forward.”
We’ve reached out to Google for comment, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.
Update: Google’s official statement, echoing its comments reported above: “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.”