20 Comments

Summary:

Microsoft isn’t getting much — if any — sympathy for its complaints over the Federal Trade Commission’s recent settlement with Google over its business practices.

If Microsoft thought it would garner public sympathy by blogging its disappointment over a recent Federal Trade Commission ruling on Google search practices, it better think again. As GigaOM’s Jeff Roberts reported on Thursday, the ruling means Google must change some patent practices but does not force any major change in how Google displays its search results. Competitors charged that Google searches favored its own properties over those of competitors.

Microsoft, which spent billions on Bing to compete with Google search, is clearly chagrined at this ruling as general counsel Dave Heiner wrote in a Technet post on Thursday.

But the bulk of the comments to that post — actually all of them right now — show zero sympathy for Microsoft which has faced its own share of complaints over its business practices in the past. In 1999, it was actually ruled a monopoly by a federal judge although that decision was overturned two years later.

A sampling of the Technet comments:

“Apple litigates, Google innovates, Microsoft whines.”

“Microsoft’s whining about Google’s abuse of patents or monopoly in general is a pinnacle of hypocrisy. May be you first should look at your own abuses in the same areas?”

” … ‘Google continues to prevent Microsoft from offering a high-quality YouTube app for the Windows Phone.’ Is there a high-quality Microsoft Office app for Linux? iOS? Android? Office documents can’t even be opened on these OSes (yes, you can import them using other software, but that is a hit or a miss affair) At least Youtube is accesible [sic] through the mobile browser from Windows phone, and Microsoft is whining that a “high quality” app is not available…

“Why is there no ‘Share on Google+’ option from this page … You have every other option available -facebook, redit [sic] , linkedin etc….”

It almost makes you wonder if there’s an anti-Microsoft astroturf campaign going on — which might be poetic justice, given Microsoft’s use of such tactics in the past.

The thing that struck me most about this whole drama were the words used by FTC Chair John Leibowitz in response to complaints about the ruling. Quoting Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, Leibowitz said antitrust laws exist to protect competition, not competitors.

Those were the exact same words Microsoft’s own PR people and lawyers uttered over and over again in its own antitrust battles of the 1990s.

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  1. Jack N Fran Farrell Friday, January 4, 2013

    Microsoft’s PR is run by old boys who are from the Animal House era. Microsoft’s legal department is an arm of its PR. Microsoft’s Windows was run by a guy who flagrantly violated a EU ruling because he thought $7B fines could be risked at his pay grade. MS Office has not improved its human interface because it has not had to compete with the likes of Jobs who thought that people liked to feel that they ruled their iThings (without reference to Help).

    Is there adult leadership at MS? A random draft of soccer mom’s could provide better coaching of adult behavior.

  2. BlackMensLife.com Friday, January 4, 2013

    Would be helpful if there where an actual link to the blog post your story is about. You link to six different articles but not the post that is the main subject of your article.

    1. technet post is linked in the second graph.

    2. It’s there… you just have to be a Marine Corps Sniper to find it. Linking your own material all over the place helps bump pageviews.

      1. uncle! i added another link in the lead! and here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_on_the_issues/archive/2013/01/03/the-ftc-and-google-a-missed-opportunity.aspx

        thanks for the comments (( don’t have sniper vision so your point is well taken)

  3. Google has a vast army of PR people poised ready to give Microsoft flack in online comments and forums while defending and hyping Google.

    This gentle treatment of Google is unsurprising when the corporation’s key executives and lobbyists are so firmly in bed with key personalities within the US administration. This is a text-book example of a major corporation subverting democracy and due process.

    Google’s “lobbying” (a euphemism for the subversion of democracy) is in a league of its own. Arguably, this is an area in which Microsoft has failed, retaining the moral high ground while losing the support of corrupt but powerful politicians..

    E.g. Google spends more on lobbying that Apple + Microsoft + Facebook COMBINED:
    http://mashable.com/2012/04/24/google-record-lobbying/

    And it’s not just about money. E.g. Google execs hold fundraising parties for politicians — often in the exec’s own homes.

    1. i think a lot of consumers are at the “a pox on both their houses” when it comes to Google and Microsoft. And, as i point out, the negative comments on technet could well be from an astroturf campaign. But having covered teh Microsoft Antitrust era i really feel it’s important to point out that what Microsoft accuses Google of doing now, is remarkably similar to what rivals slammed Microsoft for back then. Neither company has covered itself in glory.

      1. I am one of the com enters on MS blog slamming them for their hypocrisy. I am not a paid astroturfer by Google, I don’t think Google uses astroturfing tactic like Microsoft.

    2. ms makes a lot more money from the US govt than google does. Don’t forget that after a lengthy anti-trust lawsuit brought by DOJ, a federal judge found ms guilty of abuse and before the remedy phase was through, the administration changed and the entire lawsuit was dropped ! No questions asked but ms had padded the campaigns of both parties.

    3. really, now ? How do you know all this, unless you are a lobbyist ? And it is not hard to guess who YOU lobby for.

      Here’s my Q- ms has a lot of cash, lots of employees, lots of clout with businesses ( they have been around longer than Google) supposedly, why can’t they compete with Google ? Whats stopping them ? Are you claiming that “lobbying” magically makes more successful in business ? That they aren’t accomplishing any technical feats at all ? Have congressmen built their data centers, search engines, all of their IT backend, maps etc ?

    4. Great point on Google’s big lobbying spend.

      It’s amusing/sad to watch Google and its fanboys ceaselessly declare Google’s Web Services “off limits” to any user that they want to ban based on OS, while they themselves purchase “net neutrality” legislation from their boys in Congress that would ban that from being done to Google itself.

      “Don’t be evil,” indeed.

  4. I think that comparing Google’s behavior to Microsoft is a stretch – this article hinges on troll bait. (Is it really that suprising that people are calling MS a hypocrite for calling foul at Google tactics are far less than MS did in its 90’s heyday? Google Astroturfing campaign? Seriously?) Though Google is dominant in search, they are in no way the type of gatekeeper that MS was (and still is) in desktop PCs.

    Taking a walk back through memory lane – during the 90s, Microsoft decided that Netscape was a threat in both web servers and web browsers. They went so far as paying Netscapes customers (both servers and OEM who distributed the browser) to BREAK their contracts with Netscape – with MS paying the contract penalties. Netscape saw their revenue (and profits) evaporate and Microsoft’s share of both server and client went to 50 or higher%. However, even that wasn’t enough for MS – they then integrated IE into the OS so they could send their browser share to 90+%. Google has done nothing anywhere close to this!

    Moreover, MS has always had their preferred platforms. They only keep their Mac/Apple efforts alive because they know that Apple sells integrated, premium products that tend to be niche products rather than mass market leaders – Apple products are rarely dominant market leaders (everything except the iPod is less than 50% share in the long run in its market). Microsoft thus helps to avoid being accused of being a monopolist. Yet was MS Office ever release on any other emerging platforms? (OS/2, iOS, Android, Linux?) In fact, until OpenOffice and ODF came around, MS had no interest in publishing the standard for the MS Office doc/xls/ppt files.

    And Microsoft wants to whine because Google won’t expose some APIs for Youtube so MS can create a Windows Phone Youtube app. And the truly funny part is that there are other 3rd party apps for Youtube on Win Phone – apparently those developers are able to make a workable app without such access that MS says is not available.

    If there’s a campaign going on here – it’s MS crying wolf. The posters replying to MS are absolutely right.

  5. > “It almost makes you wonder if there’s an anti-Microsoft astroturf campaign going on ”

    No. People are seriously fed up. And I wouldn’t be too surprised if Microsoft is astroturfing its own Windows 8, Windows RT and Surface the whole time.

    One part of the problem is that platforms are not monopolistic any more, and people begin to see not only the advantages. They begin to see the amount of frustration they have been paying in vain for crappy, badly usable software all the time, and the hidden costs they were paying.

  6. One thing more, there is a fundamental difference between a desktop OS with lots of internal APIs and a search engine. To have success with a search engine, you need to provide the best one. The cost of switching for the user is not more than typing another start URL into the browser. Microsoft obviously failed at that. What Microsoft succeeded at was to lock customers and application developers fiercely into their desktop “ecosystem”. When some copmpetitor got dangerous, he was wiped out. If you think about the development at Nokia – it was after that the company developed a high-quality smartphone OS named Maemo when an ex Microsoft manager was placed there and ended that development in a series of truly disastrous decisions which will costs Nokias existence. Still, the Maemo / MeeGo N9 sold better than Windows Lumia Phones. Read at Amazon what users think about it. Read Tomo Ahonen’s blog if you want to know more about it.

  7. so both companies have this moat around there Castle businesses, right ? Microsoft had their’s for years , bundling the OS and Google, lobbying prowress. This is business, folks. Far from being lovely bodies of water, these moats are putrid, sewer filled, vile barriers to entry. As wealth and investment protectors they are a necessary part of any arsenal. A little winning is understandable. I am so glad that it is not my job to storm the gates of any business with such a moat. However, I think long and hard about the kind of moat I might build around my businesses. It would be a doosy!

  8. Microsoft’s use of such tactics in the past ? They still do it. Any article on google or one criticizing ms, esp in the zdnet publications, evokes a lot of responses – why ?

    And why do you see posts everywhere denigrating apple and google and name calling their customers ?

    Bear in mind that all the companies that ms screwed were small or startup companies, with no resources to fight them in court. ms makes 10s of billions in profit every year, gives away dividends worth 10s of billion, has > 50k employees, $50b cash and still whines. Why don’t they innovate NOW ? Something they claimed they did when they stole from smaller companies ?

  9. yeah sure just blame microsoft, thats what everyone loves to do all the time because it’s hipster to like apple and “intelligent” to like google so microsoft gets stuck in between. But by and large microsoft is porting their apps to apple and android and they do offer all of their other services on these devices too (smartglass, bing, outlook, skydrive, internet explorer, even windows phone calendar sinc, and soon to be office) I mean, come on the company definetly has a shady past but that doesn’t mean whoever they say is doing unfair practices isn’t using unfair practices. Look at what just happened with the google maps monile website, not allowing ie to access it because “it’s not a webkit browser” when windows phone has accessed it just fine this whole time, and, if you go onto the uk google mobile maps it works just fine. So yes microsoft is a petty company that only looks out for itself, but if you think the other companies aren’t you’re only fooling yourself and thats your problem.

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