Last night, Microsoft formally added its name to the EU’s antitrust investigation against Google, and gave several examples of how Google has used its power to stop competition.
For instance, Microsoft says that it wants a specialised YouTube app on Windows Phone, just like Apple’s iPhone and phones running Google’s Android platform have.
But Google won’t give Microsoft access to the same information that it gives Apple and Android, so Microsoft was forced to release a YouTube “app” as a browser displaying the mobile version of YouTube’s Web site.
It’s not clear how this relates to Google’s dominance in search, but Microsoft is also complaining that Google’s ownership of YouTube makes it hard for other search engines to index results from YouTube as well as Google does.
Here are the other complaints cited by Microsoft chief counsel Brad Smith:
- Google has tried to get exclusive rights to index content in books for which there is no active copyright.
- Advertisers are not allowed to take data they’ve put into Google’s ad system — like ad copy — and reuse it in competing ad systems like Microsoft adCenter. Instead, they have to enter it separately.
- Google has exclusive contracts with “leading search sites” to put search boxes on those sites, making it hard for Bing to gain users.
- Google has manually demoted advertisements from competing search companies — this has been the main claim brought by other companies to the EU.
Microsoft admits the “irony” in filing an antitrust claim — its first ever — after suffering through years of investigations and oversights by the EU itself.