Microsoft accuses Google of abuses, calls EU antitrust authorities

News Richard Goodwin 09:28, 23 Feb 2012

Google in hot water with antitrust authorities following Microsoft compliant

Microsoft has filed a complaint with European antitrust authorities claiming that Google and Motorola are charging too much to use their patents and effectively blocking Microsoft products from market

Microsoft filed an official complaint with European antitrust authorities on Wednesday, according to a post on one of the company’s official blogs. Writing on the blog, David A. Heiner, a senior Microsoft lawyer, said: ‘We have taken this step because Motorola is attempting to block sales of Windows PCs, our Xbox game console and other products.’

Google hit back with a rebuttal of Microsoft’s claims almost immediately, according to The New York Times, pointing out that Microsoft paid out in excess of $2 billion in antitrust fines in Europe during the last decade.

Al Verney, speaking on behalf of Google in Brussels, told the US-based paper the following: ‘we haven’t seen Microsoft’s complaint, but it’s consistent with the way they use the regulatory process to attack competitors.’

He added: ‘It’s particularly ironic, given their track record in this area and collaboration with patent trolls.’

Google paid $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility but if you think the search-giant did so just for Motorola’s phone business you’re grossly mistaken – Google bought Motorola for its numerous standard-essential patents.

Essential patents, as the name suggests, are technologies, such as 3G, GSM or the video standard H.264, that are integral to many products within an industry. Established rules and standards dictate that owners of essential patents have to license them to any interested third parties on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) terms.

‘I'm profoundly concerned about the new and growing phenomenon of FRAND abuse tourism’, said patent-expert Florian Mueller on his blog.

He added: ‘As a European consumer, I don't want to be held hostage by companies that use industry standards as a nuclear weapon and restrict choice.’

Apple and Google have now both stated that they will not seek injunctions based on standard-essential patents, according to Mueller, increasing the companies’ credibility on the issue of patents, adherence to fair practises and how such essential patents should be used.

Google has yet to do the same.

This isn’t the first time Google has been in trouble with anti-trust authorities either. Back in November 2011, The European Commission launched an antitrust investigation into Google’s alleged abuse of dominance in the online search market last November, following complaints from search engines Foundem, eJustice and Ciao, according to the FT.

Google said it is ‘cooperating with the EC and responding to its information requests.’

Experts claim that Google can expect a document, ranging from 150 to 400 pages, relating to its practises with Motorola Mobility’s standard essential patents.

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