Google: Microsoft needs to be marked more closely
In an epic battle fought with lobbying actions, court subpoenas and reciprocal monopoly claims, Google and Microsoft, the two IT superpowers, have produced yet another back and forth. Last snapshot of the clash: Google, in a favorable position in front of the Justice Department, decides to sink the blade into an unbalanced Microsoft, dealing a hard blow. A blow that Microsoft is now trying to dodge on the line of legal technicality.
As part of Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick, Microsoft had accused BigG of cultivating monopolistic ambitions, accusations that had triggered a burning reaction in Google, which resulted in a complaint against Microsoft for unfair competition for the integration of Microsoft’s desktop search in Windows Vista. Stock that Microsoft first rejected, and then cashed in, with the promise to entrust the next Service Pack, expected in a beta version for the end of 2007, with the task of bringing the competition back to more balanced levels. But Google is not enough .
In the opinion of the search leader, in fact, Microsoft should be marked more strictly, and the antitrust arbitration so far operated by the Court should be more severe: “Something more must be done to allow users a truly free choice of product for desktop search. “. This is Google’s response, expressed in a document republished by The Register, in which Google addresses its appeal directly to the judge, acting as amicus curiae, as if it were not a party to the dispute or was not adequately represented in the dispute.
Microsoft has assured that it will allow any product to be used for local search, but the difficulty of disabling the built-in feature in Windows Vista and the visual dominance of the Microsoft feature do not satisfy Google. Such promises remain too vague argues Mountain View, and Microsoft’s past action would be too ambiguous: for this reason BigG asks that Microsoft be forced to better clarify its intentions, so that Google and other competitors can assess the scenario and, possibly, provide the Court further elements to settle the question.
Another weapon challenged by Google in the document is the prospect of the possibility that, thanks to the strategic delays in releasing the Service Pack, the obligation that forces Microsoft to submit to stringent and specific antitrust regulations, decreed by the Final Judgment that in 2002 he had tried to calm the browser wars. It is by fearing this scenario, and recalling the career of defaults that Microsoft can boast, that the powerful Google lobby goes directly to federal judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been dealing with the antitrust case involving Microsoft since 2001. In Google’s opinion, it is necessary extend the duration of the decree by four years to prevent Microsoft from escaping its duties, by releasing the beta of the first Windows Vista Service Pack after the measure has already ceased to be in effect.
Microsoft’s response, however, was not long in coming. With an immediate reaction, and a counter-memo submitted to the Court, the largest software house in the world intends to draw attention to the illegitimacy of Google’s intervention as amicus curiae. Furthermore, Google, even admitting the possibility that it speaks as an external third party, would assume a role that would not allow it to broaden the perspective of the issue by making requests. For this reason, the Court should reject the motion of the Mountain View giant.
The business model of the two companies, and their competition, spills over into ever new markets: courtrooms are no exception, battlefields in which competitors prove themselves at ease. We are only at the beginning.