09.06.10

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Microsoft Hypocrisy: Google Accuses Microsoft of Giving Google Legal Trouble Over Search Impartiality and Privacy

Posted in FUD, Google, Marketing, Microsoft, Search at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“But rather than a search engine or even a “decision engine”, Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer’s propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.”

Christian Einfeldt

Summary: ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ (AstroTurfing) and action from Texas Attorney General is linked to Microsoft, which is trying to fight against Google in nefarious new ways

GOOGLE is under fire right now. Does Google deserve scrutiny? Sure. But to what extent is this overplayed by Google’s competitors, notably Microsoft?

Well, Microsoft is trying to characterise Google as the “evil empire” because no other tactic has worked for Microsoft against Google, which not only succeeds in search but also threatens Windows and Office (with Linux and Apps/SaaS, respectively).

The news about Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is not so new anymore. There’s no news to “break” here, but an analysis will hopefully prove useful. We will try to put things within context. There are already many discussions about it and a lot of articles too, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4].

First of all, Microsoft Florian takes Microsoft’s side in this matter which has nothing to do with patents. For those who don’t know, Microsoft Florian basically resorted to just attacking any large competitor of Microsoft. It’s not about “FOSS patents” and all that malarkey. A short while ago this Microsoft campaigner/booster wrote: “It’s weak that #Google just blames the Texas antitrust investigation on #Microsoft – that’s #IBM style diversion, not a substantive defense.”

“Microsoft Florian has in general joined the other Microsoft AstroTurfers…”It is worth noting that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza has sort of joined forces with Florian and that small clique. They are trolling the FFII right now (that’s right, they do! They are making fun of the FFII and suggesting conflicts of interests, just as Dan Lyons did to Groklaw without any basis). Microsoft proponents think alike. Microsoft Florian has in general joined the other Microsoft AstroTurfers (out in the open even!) and right now he trolls the FFII, Groklaw (yesterday he wrote “Groklie” again), the FSF, the OIN, and just about any group whose interests are opposite to Microsoft’s, including Techrights. Be aware of so-called, self-appointed “watchdogs”, who happen to include Microsoft Florian. Those so-called ‘watchdogs’ give Google more bad publicity, which is not entirely unprecedented. It’s an amazing case of lobbying and grouping of Microsoft allies. Google was recently attacked by proxy in the EU. That’s one where Microsoft even admitted its role as satellites’ centre of gravity/master, using its partners to file antitrust complaints against Google.

The latest case from Texas has been analysed reasonably well by the press this time. Journalists at least bothered to mention Microsoft’s hand, crediting the accusations to Google:

“We recognize that as Google grows, we’re going to face more questions about how our business works,” Deputy General Counsel Don Harrison said in a blog post.

Google pointed out in its statement that attorneys who also work with Microsoft Corp represent two of the companies.

Well, the one manipulating search results is Microsoft (last covered in the previous post), so they should go after Microsoft. Privacy issues apply equally well to Microsoft and we explained this point many times before. Microsoft also spies at operating systems/applications level.

Microsoft denies its role to the press, but it cannot quite deny evidence. It’s rather revealing:

In a related Web site posting, Microsoft said Friday that it was not involved in a campaign to attack Google in the courtroom, but that it was a member of Competitive Online Marketplace, an organization that includes Foundem.

Microsoft also said attorneys who have worked with the company have also represented myTriggers and TradeComet.

More here:

The cases cover those brought by shopping comparison Websites Foundem and myTriggers, and search directory SourceTools, all three of whom have ties to Microsoft.

Here is a full, direct quote:

Google’s suggest Microsoft’s involvement

The most interesting part in this whole story is the fact that Google said the party’s involved are all financially backed by Microsoft suggesting that the Software maker is somehow behind the whole thing. Amir Efrati of the WSJ:

“Google said Foundem is backed by ICOMP, an organization funded largely by Microsoft and added that TradeComet and myTriggers are represented by the same antitrust attorneys Microsoft uses.

Microsoft did admit to helping small company’s that felt Google unfairly targeted them by suggesting they file a complaint to antitrust authorities or by pointing them in the right direction, but said that’s as far as it went the company denied any direct involvement. All company’s involved denied any Microsoft connection.

It’s just like TurboHercules and T3, isn’t it?

Groklaw has the best analysis we’ve found so far and it obviates the need to make another. It’s a very detailed breakdown of the situation, including the many players at hand. From the opening (more here):

I guess you heard that the Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into antitrust complaints against Google, complaints lodged by Foundem, SourceTool, and myTriggers.com. Them again? Their complaints are not new. Here’s Google’s blog post about it.

And likely you heard about that utterly tasteless ad in Times Square from Consumer Watchdog, a cartoon of a creepy looking Eric Schmidt handing ice cream to children and asking for their secrets.

I think I can explain both events, because they are part of one campaign. Or as American Lawyer describes [PDF] the lawyers behind this, they are on a crusade against Google. The article is titled “The Google-Slayers”. Guess who the lawyers on this crusade have as a client? Microsoft. They handle Microsoft’s antitrust work. Guess who sent the first complainant to these lawyers, which led to this crusade? Microsoft. The jumping off point.

So. A crusade to destroy Google. By folks who count Microsoft as an important client, with new clients, at least one of them directly referred to the “crusaders” by Microsoft and the rest now under their umbrella. My stars, gentlemen. Where is your subtlety?

As we’ve shown before, ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ is an AstroTurfing group, probably paid for by Microsoft. “Wired did a write up of the weekly “screw Google” meetings a year or two ago,” said to us a reader yesterday. “These new lawsuits are the fruit of those efforts.”

Interestingly enough, ThistleWeb pointed out that the MSBBC keeps acting as a cogwheel, thanks to Microsoft sympathiser Maggie Shiels. “I’d love to say it was nice to see a journo investigate the funding behind a group,” he explained, “but I don’t expect much of the #BBC” (the BBC gives a platform to the AstroTurfing group which ushers or supports the lawsuits, putting public opinion/consent behind them).

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2 Comments

  1. saulgoode said,

    September 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Gravatar

    It’s just like TurboHercules and T3, isn’t it?

    There is a distinction in that IBM openly admits to engaging in exclusionary licensing deals with their customers. The question that the EU courts are being asked to address is whether IBM’s licensing practices constitute violation of the European Union’s anti-competition rules.

    From a “tech rights” perspective the distinction is significant. Free software advocates have a vested interest in the laws which affect software freedom — not so much in whether a particular corporation chooses to engage in activities which violate those laws.

    Furthermore, the allegations being levied against Google have nothing to do with software freedom, whereas the IBM investigation does concern the software freedoms of their customers; though to IBM’s credit they seemingly do not rely upon copyright legislation, or even patent law (yet), in attempting to limit their customers’ freedoms.

    twitter Reply:

    The similarity is hypocrisy and waste of judicial resources. Microsoft, the chief violator of software freedom, is harassing their competitors with lawsuits through proxies. This ties up the courts with relative trivialites and wastes everyone’s time and money, especially IBM and Google’s who are mostly proponents of software freedom now. A victory by TH would give us the “freedom” to run some of IBM’s non free software on Windows. A victory by any of these jerks in Texas would do even less good. Reasonable anti-trust cases should address Microsoft’s clearly anti-competitive manipulation of OEMs that force us all to pay for Windows when we buy a new computer, regardless of what OS we want to use. There’s enough evidence in Comes vrs Microsoft to win such a case and there’s more than enough smoke regarding netbooks to warrant extensive discovery.

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