Search engines are a necessary part of the web. They shift the burden from users of the web to scan IP address space for servers. M$ and many others laughed at Google for creating a business of providing search as a free-to-users/paid-by-advertising service. Google succeeded and has huge share globally. The major competitors are Bing (M$+Yahoo) in the USA and Baidu in China. Otherwise they are a near-perfect monopoly of search.
Ironically, M$ has complained to the EU Competition Bureau that Google is doing illegal things to prevent competition in the EU.
- preventing M$ from scraping YouTube,
- preventing Phoney 7 from integrating with YouTube as Android does,
- attempting to be the exclusive search engine for “orphaned” books, and
- preventing competitors from using the data advertisers give Google…
Sigh. On the book thing, M$ may have a legitimate beef but Google is still in negotiation in the US after a judge ruled the deal was too tight. The rest is sour grapes that Google does not want to be a “partner” of M$, working for free. Nothing prevents M$, a fillthy-rich corporation from doing the same work that Google has done to build its business. M$ should not expect the Competition Bureau to force Google to work for M$. That’s not about competition but fair play. Where’s M$’s version of YouTube? Where’s M$’s information about it’s customers on the web?
The matter of books is already on the EU’s agenda. They seem to be all in favour of distributing books of all kinds on the web and setting the rules.
It seems to me that M$ is attempting to help M$ compete against Google without having to do the work while attaching its claims to one legitimate issue, the exclusive dealing over books. I expect the book thing to fizzle and the rest to be kicked out. Google does not have to be a “partner” of M$. If Google scans the books and creates the “YouTube” of books there is nothing wrong with an exclusive deal. The question arises with orphaned books where the owner of copyright cannot be found. That can be solved by having such works move into the public domain or some accounting/escrot in the case that an owner emerges later.
It looks as though M$ is shocked that Google does not want to be absorbed by the Borg, and wants Google re-educated by the EU Commission. Good luck on that.
I expect the EU will see through M$’s plan to extend its reach into search by seducing government in the EU just as they have done in the USA where M$ has been allowed to use software patents, astroturfing, exclusive dealing, file formats, protocols and FUD as weapons against competitors. The USPTO even allowed M$ to have a generic trademark for that other OS. The EU does better.