03.11.10

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Microsoft Tries to Destroy Online Competitors Rather Than Improve Its Own Products

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Search at 3:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nice toy rat

Summary: A look at what Microsoft is doing to Google and what it has done to Yahoo!

IT IS no longer a secret that Microsoft is behind investigations of Google in Europe. Microsoft admits this after being pressured. There are still some articles about it [1, 2] and the ZDNet theatre discussed this last month before it was confirmed, at which point it was mentioned as well [1, 2]. Here are some articles that stood out:

John Dvorak wrote an article titled “Is Microsoft Behind Google’s Italy Woes?”

Microsoft is up to its old tricks again. Google is under all sorts of attacks right now—all somehow related to Microsoft. There are a slew of stories about how Microsoft managed to get Google into anti-trust trouble with the EU. This proxy fight may also have had something to do with the situation in Italy, in which Google executives were indicted for allowing some dopey video to be uploaded in that country.

There’s also:

EU Regulators and the Microsoft Antitrust Issue

No sooner did Microsoft settle its antitrust woes with the European union, than it turned around and allegedly threw Google under the very same bus.

Yahoo CEO Doesn’t Favor Google Antitrust Investigations

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has taken the high road as more and more antitrust regulators start to display an interest in Google’s practices. Rather than cheer on the investigations – or instigate new ones – Bartz has stayed mostly neutral on the matter, perhaps even supporting her biggest rival a little.

Yahoo’s position is interesting given what Microsoft did to it and news like this. Following some interview/s, there was the following additional coverage:

Why We Have A Hard Time Thinking Of Yahoo As A News Company

Yahoo Could Take Years to Recover, Says CEO Bartz

Yahoo Is Marching Forward, We’ll Prove It: CEO Bartz

How Yahoo has evolved over 15 years

Yahoo Celebrates Its 15th Anniversary: Now, Is It Finally Time to Buy AOL as a Gift to Itself?

Microsoft Nick published an article that says: “If Bartz were Yahoo CEO then, would she have accepted Microsoft buyout? ‘Sure’”

Microsoft is still trying to defend its abuse of Yahoo!, pretending that it was a saviour rather than a bully. It is crucial to remember Bartz’s past ties with Microsoft and how she came to power (proxy battle).

BNET writes: “It’s Official: Yahoo Is Available for Purchase. But Who Wants It?”

Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Carol Bartz put in an appearance on CNBC yesterday during her company’s 15th anniversary. There was the bravado you could expect from any CEO of a publicly-traded company trying to convince listeners why the company is doing better than many may think. However, one interesting tidbit that came out was that any company could buy Yahoo for the “right price”. The question is, of the potential suitors, who would bother with an acquisition?

Microsoft is getting Yahoo! users (including Ubuntu users [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]), so it doesn’t need to buy Yahoo! anymore. Microsoft got what it wanted from Yahoo! very cheaply.

So anyway, Microsoft has not only abused Google but it was abusing Yahoo! too. Microsoft is trying to hurt its competition rather than improve its own product. Microsoft’s entire history is like that.

A world where Microsoft is relevant in search is a rather scary one because Microsoft — being the control freak that it is — changes the search results to suit its own agenda. Here is a new look at what Microsoft does in the Arab world: [via]

Sex, Social Mores, and Keyword Filtering: Microsoft Bing in the ‘Arabian Countries’

[...]

It is unclear, however, whether Bing’s keyword filtering in the Arab countries is an initiative from Microsoft, or whether any or all of the Arab states have asked Microsoft to comply with local censorship practices or laws.

[...]

Microsoft’s declared aim from this type of censorship is to filter out “results that might return adult content.” However, filtering at the keyword level results in overblocking, as banning the use of certain keywords to search for Web sites, not just images, prevents users from accessing—based on Microsoft’s definition of objectionable content—legitimate content such as sex education and encyclopedic information about homosexuality.

In our past writings about Bing we mentioned the calls for a Bing boycott in China (where Microsoft censors heavily). Homophobia at Microsoft is not news, either. But anyway, in China Microsoft still censors “sex”, according to this new article from Forbes:

Where Microsoft Censors Bing For ‘Sex’

[...]

Microsoft, unlike Google, never said that it wouldn’t be evil. So when it comes to censorship of its search engine Bing, it should come as no surprise that the company is much more willing than Google to block content rather than risk upsetting censorious governments around the world.

That doesn’t just apply to China, where Google says it plans to stop filtering search results.

Google is changing its position in China, with an announcement to come shortly (according to Google’s CEO). Microsoft Nick has meanwhile assured that it’s business as usual for Microsoft in China where it will maintain operations. Microsoft is generally close to the Chinese government, for diplomatic reasons that we covered here before.

Microsoft’s fear of Google does make sense. Google is no longer a search company (maybe the googol refers to money); it threatens Microsoft’s fattest cash cow and this new acquisition (announced here) is doing more to undo Microsoft lock-in in office suites:

Stepping up its fight against Microsoft Corp., Google Inc. acquired DocVerse, a technology startup that allows people to edit Microsoft Office files online.

This is also covered in:

Google Buys DocVerse For Reported $25 Million

Google Takes Another Shot at Microsoft Office

Google DocVerse Buy Builds Bridge For Google Apps, Microsoft Office

Google to plug self into Microsoft Office

Google fends off Microsoft Office with DocVerse acquisition

Google takes aim at Microsoft with acquisition

Google To Steal Office Web Apps’ Thunder?

Google to steal Office Web Apps’ thunder?

Google has stepped up its assault on Microsoft’s productivity software with the acquisition of a start-up company that allows Office users to edit and share their documents on the web.

People ought to avoid both Microsoft and Google when it comes to mail and office suites. both are proprietary.

Here is another proprietary software firm that’s after Microsoft’s customers.

NetSuite woos Microsoft resellers with commissions

NetSuite Inc (N.N), which makes Web-based business accounting programs, is offering software resellers commissions to promote its products over those of bigger rival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

Microsoft is feeling the heat on the Web, where it is losing over $2 billion per year.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    March 11, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Gravatar

    Are the results significantly different going straight to WolframAlpha instead of going via Microsoft’s adware interface?

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