Microsoft joins EU’s Google competition probe

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday threw its weight behind an existing probe by European Union authorities into whether rival Google Inc. is unfairly thwarting competition in the online search market.

Microsoft’s General Counsel Brad Smith said the company is filing its own complaint against Google with the European Commission, citing concern over “a broadening pattern of conduct aimed at stopping anyone else from creating a competitive alternative.”

A spokeswoman for the EU’s Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said the commission had taken note of Microsoft’s complaint and will give Google the opportunity to tell its side of the story.

The commission opened a formal investigation into Google’s behavior last November, following complaints from several smaller Web companies that the search giant was burying them in its results and engaging in other anticompetitive practices.

Google has long pointed to Microsoft’s involvement in the probe, since one of the original complainants, online-shopping site Ciao, is owned by Microsoft’s search engine Bing. Another company involved in the case, British-based price-comparison site Foundem, is a member of a Microsoft-sponsored technology trade organization.

Al Verney, a Brussels-based spokesman for Google, said the company wasn’t surprised by Microsoft’s move 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,” Verney said.
Source: AP

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