Microsoft to EU: You Might Want to Take a Look at Google When You're Through With Us…
Looks like Microsoft has settled on a legal defense for its European Commission antitrust inquiry: Sanction us and you might as well just hand the search market entire over to Google. Sources with knowledge of Microsoft’s legal strategy tell the New York Times (NYT) that the company will argue that an EC mandate to distribute other browsers with its Windows operating system will hurt its competitive position in the search market.
Well, Opera and Firefox developer Mozilla use Google’s search engine, as does Google’s Chrome browser. Forcing Microsoft (MSFT) to bundle the three of them into Windows would amount to the company giving Google a nice little homestead on the Windows desktop. “Not only would Google’s browser Chrome suddenly be on all Windows PCs, but it would strengthen Google’s dominance in search advertising,” a source told the Times.
Interesting argument. Strategically savvy, too, in that it feeds into growing concerns about Google (GOOG) and its ubiquity and power, and comes as the company faces increasing antitrust scrutiny at home and abroad. That said, it doesn’t really speak to the wrongdoing of which Microsoft is accused. It does, however, push Google directly into the EC’s crosshairs. And perhaps that was Microsoft’s intention all along.