When elephants fight: Google vs. Microsoft goes on and on

When tech titans fight, metaphors and common expressions come to mind. Pot, meet kettle. Size matters. Tit for tat.

Microsoft and Google have gone after each other over antitrust issues. The most recent example comes by way of a Financial Times report that says Google was one of the third parties to squeal to the European Union that Microsoft had stopped providing Windows 7 users with the option to choose which Web browsers to install, which was a requirement under a settlement the software company reached with the EU in 2009. Wednesday, the EU announced it had fined Microsoft the equivalent of $733 million. The other nark, according to the FT, was browser maker Opera.

Google had no comment. But the Silicon Valley search giant and the Redmond, Wash.-based software company have duked it out in Europe for a while. The EU antitrust investigation of Google, which the company acknowledged in 2010, was said to be sparked in part by complaints by companies with ties to Microsoft. (See Google and the law: It’s either too controlling or not enough.) In 2011, Microsoft officially added its “voice” to the chorus of complaints against Google in Europe. (See Microsoft joins the pile as Google hits keep coming.) Microsoft complained that its Bing search engine and Windows mobile phones were being held back by Google. Microsoft’s own antitrust issues, of course, date back to before Google’s existence. The U.S. government filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998, the same year Google was incorporated.

In other news about the ongoing battle, Microsoft says its public campaign against Google over privacy isn’t over till the fat lady sings — or, as the company told Business Insider, “Scroogled will go on as long as Google keeps Scroogling people.” As the Merc’s Brandon Bailey reported a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft has started a high-profile political-style campaign against Google as it continues to try to catch up with the valley giant in search and other services. One of the main points Microsoft is trying to make: that Gmail and other ad-based Google services are compromising users’ privacy, a.k.a. Scroogling. Last week, KQED reported that Microsoft had stopped buying the Scroogled ads — which some said had backfired — but as deep-pocketed Microsoft told BI, it’s re-evaluating  and gearing up for more.


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