My, how times change! A decade or two back the words Microsoft and monopoly in the same sentence used to mean only one thing. But it is remarkable how the technology world has gone topsy-turvy.
The latest is that Microsoft, along with a group of companies (including Nokia) is filing a European Union complaint against Google, claiming that the search engine giant is unfairly using its software to promote its own products and services.
If the script sounds familiar, it’s because Microsoft itself has long been accused of this practice, in the 90s and early 2000s. This is the very scenario that led to the browser ballot screen and N version of Windows in Europe — along with hefty fines, of course, amounting to billions.
The most recent one being $732 million in early February.
It remains to be seen whether Google will come under the hammer but NYTimes is citing a Fairsearch lawyer, Thomas Vinje who filed the complaint on behalf of these large technology organizations bringing in light, what they believe are the unfair practices under the cover of Android software.
The complainants claim that Android is “a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70 percent of the smartphones shipped today”.
One of the issues cited is that Google bounds Android vendors to place other Google services (like YouTube) in prominent locations and highly visible places on the screens of mobile devices.
Something like this is what landed Microsoft in hot water, the Windows and Internet Explorer combo.
No word yet on whether the EU will take up the case, but it should nevertheless be interesting to see Microsoft on the other end of an unfair practice accusation.