Anti-Google bundling case could help Microsoft


20, 2014


Reuters reports that a new anti-trust case against Google could help Microsoft.

Google is currently being sued in California federal court, being accused of forcing companies like  Samsung to only use Google’s apps as default and restrict competing apps like Microsoft’s Bing search on Android phones.

Microsoft is not a plaintiff in the case, but could benefit from the discovery phase, which could expose details of Google’s negotiations with OEMs.

During discovery the complainant’s solicitors will be able to delve into internal Google emails and contracts with smartphone companies, and could interview Google executives under oath, said Steve Berman, who represents the consumers.

"I’m confident we will get into juicy stuff, and I think that will up the pressure on Google as some of the material we discover becomes public," he said.

The main issue for U.S. courts will be whether Android and mobile services like search are "technically separate, or tied in ways that impedes competition for consumers," said Michael Cusumano, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Cusumano said the U.S. class action could hurt Google if a judge finds that it improperly pushes its mapping and location services, which is embedded across the Android system.

It’s "kind of a Pandora’s Box to look inside what Google does, and the relationship it has with all these smartphone and handset manufacturers," he said.

The information discovered could help Microsoft in Europe, where they and a coalition of other companies have filed a complaint with European antitrust regulators over some of the same issues in the U.S. lawsuit.

Google apps "are widely used on Android by requiring default placement and other mechanisms for disadvantaging competing apps," the companies said in a summary of their complaint.

That case has not yet proceeded to a formal investigation.

Android currently has 81% smartphone market share according to IDC, a dominant position which could easily confer on Google additional anti-trust responsibilities.

Read more at here.

Thanks Aaron for the tip.

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