"It's a familiar story - a scrappy little underdog launches a competition complaint in Brussels about the giant that dominates its industry. Ten years ago it would have been Netscape accusing Microsoft of abusing its monopoly power - today it's Microsoft charging Google with the same crime.This member of the IPKat team is not surprised. He has been telling his friends for the past four years that the only thing that can stop Google taking over the world, if people want to stop it doing so, is to focus on its crushingly powerful market position. It is effectively impossible for any other business to compete with the combination of forces -- Google Book, Chrome, YouYube, AdWord and AdSense -- which together will inexorably drive so much individualised information into its marketing and advertising facilities that no other electronic or printed media will be remotely able to provide value for the money advertisers are prepared to spend in marketing their goods and services.
Microsoft's first ever competition complaint is not just a wonderfully ironic turn of events, it's a measure of how the balance of power on the web has shifted. A decade ago control of the desktop and what applications lived on it was still all important - now it's the control of search which delivers huge power and billions of advertising dollars to Google.
... Microsoft is determined that its Bing search engine should make serious headway. In Europe at least, that's not happening. According to Microsoft, Google has 95% of the search market. Now it claims that Google is using its power unfairly to maintain that dominance. Its complaint - which as Google points out is just an addition to an existing antitrust case in which a Microsoft subsidiary was already a complainant - is that the search company is putting walls around content that rivals need if they are to compete.
In a long blog post, Microsoft's chief legal counsel Brad Smith outlines a series of areas where he says Google is impeding competition. He claims that it's very difficult, for example, for rivals to get proper access to YouTube - owned by Google - for their search results.
He points to the Google Books plan - blocked by a US court last week - as another case where any other search engine will get poor access to valuable content, in this case millions of books.
And he says that Google uses its business relationship with leading websites to block them from installing competing search boxes on their sites. ..."
Is there a solution? It has always been axiomatic in European competition terms that the existence of a dominant position in a marketplace is not harmful unless it is abusive, but Google is so ominpowerful and omnipresent, and is such an essential facility for all traders in all markets at all times, that there is no way to deal with it other than by breaking it up into lots of Baby Googles that will be forced to compete with one another, by analogy with the Baby Bells and Standard Oil.
Goo-Goo Baby here