Microsoft files complaint against Google

By TONY ROMM & MIKE ZAPLER | 3/31/11 6:22 AM EDT Updated: 3/31/11 10:59 AM EDT

Microsoft asked European regulators Thursday to go after Google on antitrust grounds, accusing the search giant of trying to “entrench its dominance” on the Web.

It’s a major escalation in the war between the two tech titans.

Microsoft and other Google foes say Google’s powerful search engine and its move into other markets — from advertising to mobile phones to travel — has stunted industrywide competition. Google has described itself as under siege — the victim of a Microsoft-led “anti-Google industrial complex.”

In an early-morning blog post Thursday, Microsoft executive Brad Smith said the company’s European Commission filing accuses Google of having “engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.”

Smith offered a litany of examples of what he describes as Google's anticompetitive practices — arguing, for instance, that Google has disadvantaged competitors in video search, promoted its search boxes through exclusivity deals and sought to leverage its size over competitors in the neophyte e-book market.

"We readily appreciate that Google should continue to have the freedom to innovate. But it shouldn’t be permitted to pursue practices that restrict others from innovating and offering competitive alternatives," Smith said. "That’s what it’s doing now. And that’s what we hope European officials will assess and ultimately decide to stop."

“We're not surprised that Microsoft has done this, since one of their subsidiaries was one of the original complainants," Google officials said in a statement. "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."
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