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03.22.10

Microsoft Proxy Fights Against Google in the United States

Posted in America, Antitrust, Europe, Google, Marketing, Microsoft, Samba, Search at 4:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bright USA flag

Summary: myTriggers’ legal action against Google has Microsoft fingerprints, Microsoft employees go vocal against Google’s advertising business, and the New York Times talks about Icahn’s role in Microsoft’s proxy battle

SEVERAL weeks ago Microsoft confirmed that it had a proxy battle going on against Google in Europe. According to this, the same thing might be going on in America.

Microsoft Bangs the Antitrust Drum Against Google

[...]

Significantly, myTriggers’ lawyers include a prominent state attorney, Stanley Chesley, as well as Rick Rule, the chief antitrust lawyer for New York-based Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, who also has served for many years as an antitrust lawyer for Microsoft.

[...]

Microsoft also may gain from another lawsuit, in which Viacom sued Google’s YouTube subsidiary for copyright violations. U.S. federal Judge Louis Stanton agreed to release voluminous documents and statements from the $1 billion lawsuit (See related story).

Also see the following previous posts:

It is Microsoft’s nature not to play fair and instead try to injure its competition. Steve Ballmer’s primal instincts have given that away when he said what he said (while throwing a chair across the room). It’s a lot simpler to assassinate one’s competitor than to develop something better.

There are some other interesting moves involving Microsoft’s people who were competing against Google. A lot of aQuantive executives left Microsoft [1, 2, 3], but some are landing inside companies that compete against Google. Jeff Wood is the latest example:

In the words of Jeff Wood, former VP of Publisher Sales at Microsoft Advertising and now CEO at aiMatch:

“While so many solution providers have been focused on helping publishers monetize remnant inventory, we recognized that publishers invest heavily in their content and need new tools to increase the value of their direct sold products. That is why we are dedicated to offering solutions that leverage advertising intelligence to maximize their return on that investment.”

“New online ad company aiMatch has roots at Microsoft, aQuantive,” says John Cook, whose Seattle publication (TechFlash) is favourable to Microsoft and receives Microsoft sponsorships. Several Microsoft speakers will soon appear at the TechFlash event.

Microsoft announced the promotion of Robert Youngjohns, who will become vice president [1, 2] (many vice presidents are leaving, including this example from yesterday).

There is another new appointment:

Microsoft Advertising promotes Jonathan Lewen to head of agency sales

Digital giant Microsoft has promoted group sales manager Jonathan Lewen to the role of head of agency sales for Microsoft Advertising UK, replacing Paul Carolan, who left in September to start his own business.

Aha. That’s another departure that we haven’t noticed.

The staff above is mostly associated with advertising (where Microsoft loses a lot of money, still). We keep track of smearing or cheap shots from such Microsoft employees, who are pretending that the convicted monopolist is a knight on the white horse for advertisers. “Microsoft Slams Google’s Ad Practices,” says this new article from AdWeek and another new article bears the headline “Microsoft condemns Google’s ad operation” (no surprise here).

Microsoft wants a piece of Google’s search advertising business, and the company is not afraid to let marketers know. A Microsoft executive publicly trashed Google’s ad selling practices this week and implored marketers to expect more from the search giant.

Check out this shameless new plug (from the British Marketing Magazine) that quotes Microsoft’s mole Ashley Highfield [1, 2, 3], trying to characterise Microsoft as “the underdog”.

It would, of course, be unfair to blame Highfield, managing director and vice-president, consumer and online at Microsoft UK, for any of these difficulties. The public will this week get to scrutinise his most high-profile campaign since taking up his role just over a year ago: ads for search engine Bing. The push, says Highfield, is intended ‘to be light-hearted, humorous, and in a tone of voice that is more self-deprecating and light-hearted’.

There was nothing “light-hearted” and “humorous” about what Highfield did to the BBC. There was also nothing “light-hearted” and “humorous” about Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo!, which is further described in the New York Times right now. Proxy battles are a nasty thing, but that exactly is what Microsoft did against Yahoo!

In the spring of 2008, Roy J. Bostock, the chairman of Yahoo, and his fellow directors were coming under a barrage of criticism from investors after Microsoft abruptly broke off merger talks.

[...]

Mr. Icahn said that while his firm did not make money in Yahoo, it was supportive in bringing on board Carol A. Bartz, the company’s C.E.O., and instrumental in eventually forging an Internet search and advertising partnership with Microsoft. As for the criticism from Mr. Jackson that his methods do not work, Mr. Icahn said, “To say that we don’t add value is absurd.”

His job was done after he had spoken to Microsoft and arranged the removal of opposition to Microsoft.

Microsoft cannot handle fair competition, nor is it able to comply with competition rules unless it is threatened with fines. The Web browsers ballot is an example that and it continues to be deficient for more reasons than we mentioned before [1, 2, 3, 4].

Small Browser Makers Ask Microsoft to Change Browser Ballot Box Again

Small browsers can only be found by scrolling sideways

Microsoft has found itself having to alter its practices on several occasions in Europe and the U.S. after regulators stepped in and forced change. One of the most recent instances was when the European Commission asked Microsoft to make browser selection more open and fair to other browser makers in Europe.

For apologists who love to spin this, Microsoft is not being nice here. It is forced to do this or face more severe consequences. The same goes for its work with Samba.

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