If you thought the Google-Microsoft rift only extended to stolen search terms, you’d be wrong.
Google spokesperson Adam Kovacevich, who deals specifically with anti-trust issues for the company, tells Politico.com that the search giant is taking an unprecedented amount of heat from lawmakers in Washington D.C. — and it’s all Microsoft’s fault.
According to Kovacevich, Microsoft has helped establish an “anti-Google industrial complex” that includes an army of anti-trust lawyers, lobbyists and PR teams, aimed at breaking up Google’s massive operation, which includes everything from its ad service to its uber-popular Android mobile operating system to green energy technology companies.
“We try to create lots of new technologies for consumers, and the companies and industries that we disrupt sometimes try to seek recourse in Washington,” Kovacevich tells Politico in an interview. “In particular, Microsoft and our large competitors have invested a lot in D.C. to stoke scrutiny of us. But our goal is to make sure that we can continue creating cool new things for consumers.”
If you’ll remember, Microsoft itself was the target of similar anti-monopoly activity in Washington during the 1990s. At that time, recently-demoted Google CEO Eric Schmidt was an executive at Sun Microsystems, which helped bring down Microsoft’s empire.
Nowadays, it’s Google who draws the most criticism for its ever-spreading reach. And allies of Microsoft are doing their part to keep up the pressure.
Last fall, Microsoft, along with travel sites TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotwire, Kayak and Travelocity formed the FairSearch.org lobbying coalition in an attempt to stop Google from its $700 million purchase of flight information software company ITA Software. FairSearch members say the acquisition has hurt their business because Google favors its own results over theirs.
Of course, calls for Google to be broken up are nothing new. As early as last year, Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein wrote that Google was becoming too big, and that Washington should step in to prevent imminent monopolization.
If Google is right that Microsoft is lining up forces against it — and it probably is — then it would certainly add a twist into the whole Bing-stealing-Google’s-search-results debacle, now wouldn’t it?