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Android phone. Photo via Shutterstock.
Android phone. Photo via Shutterstock.

Microsoft no longer provides financial support to FairSearch, the consumer advocacy group that appeared to have no other mission other to bash Google, according to Re/Code.

This may surprise some as FairSearch was often described in the media as a Microsoft “front” or surrogate in the Redmond company’s bid to encourage scrutiny of Google’s business practices. It’s generally accepted that FairSearch regularly lobbied regulators domestically and overseas to take action against the search and advertising giant.

FairSearch was founded in 2010 by a group of companies that competed with Google in travel search, including Expedia and Kayak. Oracle and Nokia joined in 2012. Microsoft confirmed to Re/Code that it pulled out of FairSearch but didn’t specify the reason. Re/Code speculates that the company may be switching focus away from search and more on security and privacy issues. Another possibility, according to Re/Code, is that the relationship between Google and Microsoft has warmed.

Since we’re guessing, what about this one: Maybe Microsoft simply concluded FairSearch wasn’t effective? Google has been fined and scolded and ordered by numerous different courts to adopt new practices, and yet the company remains the globe’s wildly profitable search leader.

Presumably, that means the group will continue to participate in separate anti-trust complaints filed with the European Union. One accuses Google of abusing its position in search to benefit its shopping-price comparison service. Another alleges that Google misuses the Android operating system to give its apps, such as YouTube and Maps, an unfair advantage.

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