Microsoft whines about Google's "growing power"

Posted by Aharon Etengoff

A Microsoft spokesperson has somehow managed to keep a poker face while criticizing Google's "growing power" in search and online advertising.

Indeed, Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner recently complained that Google had been labeled "dominant" in certain markets - including search advertising - by both the US Department of Justice and European Commission.

"[However], Google's public response to this growing regulatory concern has been to point elsewhere—at Microsoft. Google is telling reporters that antitrust concerns about search are not real because some of the complaints come from one of its last remaining search competitors," wrote Heiner in an amusingly indignant blog post.

According to Heiner, publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies are all unhappy and clamoring for "real competition" in the search and online ad market.

"[But] as Google's power has grown in recent years, we've increasingly heard complaints from a range of firms—large and small—about a wide variety of Google business practices," whined Heiner.

"Some of the complaints just reflect aggressive business stances taken by Google. Some reflect the secrecy with which Google operates in many areas. Some appear to raise serious antitrust issues."

Shockingly, Heiner also claimed that "many concerned" companies had actually asked Microsoft for advice over alleged antitrust concerns.

"When their antitrust concerns appear to be substantial, we suggest that firms talk to the competition law agencies," he explained.

"[Of course] our concerns relate only to Google practices that tend to lock in business partners and content (like Google Books) and exclude competitors, thereby undermining competition more broadly. Ultimately the competition law agencies will have to decide whether or not Google's practices should be seen as illegal."