Microsoft calls Google-FTC settlement "weak"

As we reported earlier today, the US Federal Trade Commission entered into a settlement agreement with Google that will include promises by Google to change some of its practices. Today, Microsoft's Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner made it clear in a statement that Microsoft feels the FTC could have done more to make Google change its ways.

Heiner's blog post states:

The FTC’s overall resolution of this matter is weak and—frankly—unusual. We are concerned that the FTC may not have obtained adequate relief even on the few subjects that Google has agreed to address.

Heiner was especially concerned with the FTC's settlement with Google on FRAND patents. While the agreement says that Google cannot seek an injunction on companies that it suspects have violated those patents, Heiner says Google's agreement comes with a ton of exceptions where the company can file for injunctions. Heiner says:

Since it is often hard to tell which patents are standard essential, the risk of injunction lawsuits from Google may dissuade firms from seeking to enforce their non-standard essential patents against the company.

Microsoft also didn't like the fact that the FTC closed its investigation into Google's search algorithms which Microsoft and other companies feel promote Google's own products at the expense of others. Ultimately, Heiner feels that Google " ... seems to be walking with a new spring in its step today" as a result of the FTC's findings, adding, " ... there appears to be no reason, despite the FTC’s optimistic statements this morning, to believe that Google recognizes its responsibilities as an industry leader."

Source: Microsoft | Image via Google

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

TechSpot: Cooler Master Storm Scout 2 Case Review

Next Story

Rumor: Verizon's Samsung ATIV Odyssey to be mid-range, not the ATIV S

46 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023...ldnt-face-antitrust-action/


Bing is doing exactly the same thing as Google. Exactly. But Microsoft-backed FairSearch never suggests that Microsoft-owned Bing is doing anything wrong.

Well, there's an argument that because Google has so much search market share, it's under a special obligation to follow different standards to ensure fair competition. However, that argument falls apart when you think about what exactly is being "favored" by either Google or Bing showing shopping results.

Google and Bing favor publishers, not themselves
When you go into these results, you'll either be sent directly out to a merchant or be given a list of merchants selling products, so that you can choose. They're search results, just like when you do a regular search, you get search results. Neither Google nor Bing are favoring themselves -- they're "favoring" the merchants listed.

Let's say the Google critics on vertical search forced a change, where Google couldn't show its own shopping results or had to show those from others. You might do that "lego death star" search on Google, then potentially get pages from Nextag and other shopping search engines coming up, where if you click on them, you could then repeat your search to get actual merchants.

Anyone think adding an extra step like that is a good idea? And if Google can't offer shopping search, what else does it get prevented from offering? Will news search be outlawed? Image search has to go? Can it not offer maps?

...................

Vertical search debate has grown more complicated
As I said, there are anticompetitive issues around Google that are worth investigating. But the basic concept of vertical search, especially in the way I've seen competitors, lobbyists and, sadly, some government officials debate it, isn't a problem.

The real problem is when a search engine like Google ultimately fails to point outward to a destination site, rather than to a competing search engine. What's fair when Google becomes a content destination?

When Google points people to Google News or Google Shopping, those people are largely going to leave Google. But when Google acquires content companies like Zagat or Frommer's, to beef up its local and travel offerings, does that mean other local guides or travel guides (as opposed to search engines) are somehow at a disadvantage? Potentially, though not necessarily illegally.

That's not a question that's really been debated. Google only recently started acquiring guides like these, ironically in response to complaints by competitors like Yelp that it was unfairly summarizing content from those services. Google's solution to defend itself against those charges have put it down a new -- and, to me, more worrisome -- path, but a path that the regulators haven't even really investigated.

I see a lot of Google support, but shall we review how Google was the first one to take on Microsoft, dragging out anti-trust concerns about MSN search and their lawsuit about IE7 and Vista specifically that was successful in restricting features Microsoft wanted to include.

With today's 'connected' mentality, it is weird to see some of the same people 'critical' of Microsoft for not providing more connectivity in their products or for being 'late' in the game in implementing them.

Microsoft was forbidden from doing much of what people expect of services/products from Google and Apple, which are markets they were allowed to 'own' because Microsoft was ARTIFICALLY restricted from creating product integration.

Restricted to offer integration and connectivity by claims from Google and Apple, ironically.

Google pulled out the Microsoft is a monopoly card a long time ago, and used it to along the way to help gain market share for Google Search, Chrome and even Android got a boost from Google playing this card for Microsoft to jump through additional hoops with Windows Mobile.

Google's lawsuits and pushing against the USA and EU based on anti-trust is why Bing as its own entity EVEN EXISTS, because of the branding and ownership of MSN at the time literally keeping Microsoft from integrating MSN Search, MSN Music and other functionality into Vista, IE7/IE8, WMP, Xbox and other products.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05...p;pagewanted=print&_r=0

In good faith, Google should inform people that the results are not just a result of their search technology and instead in 'influenced' and controlled by money paid to Google.

Microsoft's concern seems to be more to provide consumer awareness.

Microsoft made the same push because of the lack of information on GMail, which was well known in most of the technical world, but was lost on the general public. This wasn't long after the peak of the ongoing Google scandals of employee firings, lawsuits, sex offenders querying information that work at Google, and the fact that people inside Google have 'human readable' access to everyone's information, with Google justifying using and allowing access to this information.

Even as 'tiny' as the marketing campaign Microsoft did with the GMailman, it was the first time that non-technical consumers learned that Google was using their email and information on them to generate profit beyond advertising.

I think Microsoft should do a series of commercials explaining the difference between highly secure encrypted information like they use to human readable data that Google engineers and employees can access. Maybe do a series showing perverts at Google looking through your children's teenage photos on GDrive, GDocs, GMail, etc. (Which isn't even hyperbole, as some users have found this out when the Google employees became predatory to the teenagers.)

Given that Microsoft have also banned some people's Skydrive accounts over private photos they've stored do you actually seriously believe that they don't look at people's content as well? Using cloud based storage from any company has the same risks, if you want it to be private don't upload it to the Internet.

thenetavenger said,
I see a lot of Google support, but shall we review how Google was the first one to take on Microsoft, dragging out anti-trust concerns about MSN search and their lawsuit about IE7 and Vista specifically that was successful in restricting features Microsoft wanted to include.

With today's 'connected' mentality, it is weird to see some of the same people 'critical' of Microsoft for not providing more connectivity in their products or for being 'late' in the game in implementing them.

Microsoft was forbidden from doing much of what people expect of services/products from Google and Apple, which are markets they were allowed to 'own' because Microsoft was ARTIFICALLY restricted from creating product integration.

Restricted to offer integration and connectivity by claims from Google and Apple, ironically.

Google pulled out the Microsoft is a monopoly card a long time ago, and used it to along the way to help gain market share for Google Search, Chrome and even Android got a boost from Google playing this card for Microsoft to jump through additional hoops with Windows Mobile.

Google's lawsuits and pushing against the USA and EU based on anti-trust is why Bing as its own entity EVEN EXISTS, because of the branding and ownership of MSN at the time literally keeping Microsoft from integrating MSN Search, MSN Music and other functionality into Vista, IE7/IE8, WMP, Xbox and other products.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05...p;pagewanted=print&_r=0

In good faith, Google should inform people that the results are not just a result of their search technology and instead in 'influenced' and controlled by money paid to Google.

Microsoft's concern seems to be more to provide consumer awareness.

Microsoft made the same push because of the lack of information on GMail, which was well known in most of the technical world, but was lost on the general public. This wasn't long after the peak of the ongoing Google scandals of employee firings, lawsuits, sex offenders querying information that work at Google, and the fact that people inside Google have 'human readable' access to everyone's information, with Google justifying using and allowing access to this information.

Even as 'tiny' as the marketing campaign Microsoft did with the GMailman, it was the first time that non-technical consumers learned that Google was using their email and information on them to generate profit beyond advertising.

I think Microsoft should do a series of commercials explaining the difference between highly secure encrypted information like they use to human readable data that Google engineers and employees can access. Maybe do a series showing perverts at Google looking through your children's teenage photos on GDrive, GDocs, GMail, etc. (Which isn't even hyperbole, as some users have found this out when the Google employees became predatory to the teenagers.)

From the link you provided


The best way to handle the search box, Google asserts, would be to give users a choice when they first start up Internet Explorer 7. It says that could be done by asking the user to either type in the name of their favorite search engine or choose from a handful of the most popular services, using a simple drop-down menu next to the search box.

The Firefox and Opera browsers come with Google set as the default, but Ms. Mayer said Google would support unfettered choice on those as well.

Microsoft replies that giving users an open-ended choice could add complexity and confusion to the browser set-up process, while offering a few options would be arbitrarily limiting.

Instead, those wanting to pick a new search-box option in the new browser need to click through a menu with options like "Get Search Providers," which links to a Web page with six search engines including Google and 16 "topic search" sites, from Amazon to MTV to Wal-Mart.

Mr. Hachamovitch, who led Microsoft's browser team, said MSN was not always the default search in Internet Explorer 7. When downloaded, the new browser inherits the settings from the old Microsoft browser, version 6. But the search default in that program was based on a feature called AutoSearch that Google says was not widely used.

How easy it is to change the default search provider box in IE10 compared to Chrome. Last time when I installed Chrome, Chrome asked me explicitly which search provider I want as default? Now in IE10 I had to go through multiple steps to set Google as default search provider, it is not easy or straight forward like in Chrome...


Bing was called as MSN search before it was windows live search, if you just do some research you will get the answer, MSN results languished. So MS did a new name and new branding to improve the market share...

Yes the Google employee was arrested to and that is how the news came out.

For the all other conjure of human readable form so forth, a supporting linky would be helpful and no MS or its cronies statement...

What is MS job, to do negative campaign against Google just like in politics or make a better product? I see MS doing only political style ads instead of being a tech company... Really MS should be running ads to educate people about how creepy is Google then what about Facebook creepiness... Or just like Facebook which tried to do dirty hit job on Google and seriously blew up on its face...

I would prefer MS competing and making a better product, with competition on an even playground not tilted towards its advantage...

Matt A. Tobin said,
Great point. Cloud storage and the death of local storage and systems are one of THE most worrisome prospects for the Dark Future of Tech!

Death of local storage? Not in this lifetime.

WoW didn't expect them to get away with it tbh, just type a movie name or something and first hit or well 3 hits will be youtube videos. Its always youtube never a site from a competitor. That's just one small but most noticeable things.

Microsoft sure do sound bitter, but if they keep trying to sue eventually they will win.

MrAnalysis said,
WoW didn't expect them to get away with it tbh, just type a movie name or something and first hit or well 3 hits will be youtube videos. Its always youtube never a site from a competitor. That's just one small but most noticeable things.

Microsoft sure do sound bitter, but if they keep trying to sue eventually they will win.

You seem to be confused about who is suing whom for what and how the FTC is not even related.

I never expected much to result from this. Each time I'd see an article about the Google/FCC issue, my reaction would generally be: "what... more of this crap?"

Google's search is not some government funded service or something - It's their own product. And their result listing order is their own business.

Chugworth said,
I never expected much to result from this. Each time I'd see an article about the Google/FCC issue, my reaction would generally be: "what... more of this crap?"

Google's search is not some government funded service or something - It's their own product. And their result listing order is their own business.

FCC = Federal Communications Commission
FTC = Federal Trade Commission

.....Derp

Chugworth said,
I never expected much to result from this. Each time I'd see an article about the Google/FCC issue, my reaction would generally be: "what... more of this crap?"

Google's search is not some government funded service or something - It's their own product. And their result listing order is their own business.


By that logic, MS should be able to push a windows update that blocks all 3rd party browsers, media players, stores like steam, sites like google/gmail etc. am I right or amiright?

Toysoldier said,

FCC = Federal Communications Commission
FTC = Federal Trade Commission

.....Derp


Oops! Mistyped after discussing the FCC several articles back.

Pretty pathetic and it just shreds the credibility if any left

1. Talk about shopping results and how Google biases it, in reality it has been bing.
http://searchengineland.com/bi...-holiday-deals-sites-102856
2. Travel search results. From ITA software website
http://www.itasoftware.com/about/customers.html
Google owns ITA, which provides the data to bing, kayak and orbitz...
3. Talk about data protability, MS frenemy FB is the worst in the hoarding the data. There is no way to export the graph data from FB

Whatever Google is accused Bing does it too.. So MS has no locus standi to complain. It is just a sore loser and it is really embrassing to see a vice counsel stoop this low.... Even if some of the concerns MS raising is correct, it is just getting lost in all the BS MS is throwing out... crying wolf one too many time just loses the credibiility...

pksha said,
Pretty pathetic and it just shreds the credibility if any left

1. Talk about shopping results and how Google biases it, in reality it has been bing.
http://searchengineland.com/bi...-holiday-deals-sites-102856
2. Travel search results. From ITA software website
http://www.itasoftware.com/about/customers.html
Google owns ITA, which provides the data to bing, kayak and orbitz...
3. Talk about data protability, MS frenemy FB is the worst in the hoarding the data. There is no way to export the graph data from FB

Whatever Google is accused Bing does it too.. So MS has no locus standi to complain. It is just a sore loser and it is really embrassing to see a vice counsel stoop this low.... Even if some of the concerns MS raising is correct, it is just getting lost in all the BS MS is throwing out... crying wolf one too many time just loses the credibiility...

You might want to recheck CRAP you read online, especially after it has been refuted.

The first article was beyond silly, in that the site that was demoted/suspended belongs to a group that Microsoft is a MEMBER.

So Bing is out to hurt Microsoft? Wow, that is evil, or really stupid people trying to make up crap.

Microsoft
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are notorious times for spammers, and Bing took proactive action to protect our users by removing questionable domains. In an effort to protect our users some questionable domains may have been demoted or removed that some may consider legitimate sites. Bing did not replace algorithmic results with its own sites. Since its inception Bing has offered verticalized content like shopping and travel if it helps address a user's intent. These Instant Answers are available for a variety of topics and scenarios, such as shopping, checking stock prices, or stats for athletes. The Bing Magical Calendar is part of a larger Microsoft marketing campaign that unveils new content and offers every day through the month of December and is unrelated… David Andre's assertion that Bing replaced algorithmic results with its own content is simply not true.

thenetavenger said,

You might want to recheck CRAP you read online, especially after it has been refuted.

The first article was beyond silly, in that the site that was demoted/suspended belongs to a group that Microsoft is a MEMBER.

So Bing is out to hurt Microsoft? Wow, that is evil, or really stupid people trying to make up crap.

HOW ABOUT YOU CHECK YOUR CRAP YOU READ ONLINE, where was it refuted. Oh my MS, which is great.

And did you even read the link or just on automatic reply mode...

Excerpts from the first link, to make it easy for you... or you can call it cherry picking...

And Is The Opposite Of What Bing Said About Panda

Another oddity is that earlier this year, when asked about Google's Panda effort, Bing suggested that it wasn't relevant for Google to be applying sitewide penalties. In an interview with Eric Enge, Bing Director Stefan Weitz said:

Google's Panda Update was an interesting event. I saw reports recently on DemandMedia showing they were down 40% on their traffic. What this speaks to is the necessity to look at page level quality. I think one of the things that started the work on Panda was the JC Penney paid link issue which called into question the quality of PageRank.

Google initially responded by blocking the entire JC Penney domain for a few days. We thought that hurt the users because we did the same thing in a test. We blocked all JC Penney internally and asked our human ranking systems “does this result for the search phrase “comforters” look better or worse after this change?” Everyone said it looked worse because they expected to see JC Penney there.

What it told us was there are different ways to classify quality of pages. We have page level classifiers that look at every page we index that attempt to discern a quality score. It looks at things like reading levels, number of ads versus content, length of words, length of page, all those standard things, and some not so standard things as well.

In short, Bing believes it's important that each page be individually assessed for its relevancy and further says it has the technology to do this. However, in the case of these sites, none of this is happening. They were just completely wiped out.

In the same link there was as postscript 3 link to the following link

http://searchengineland.com/ba...sites-return-to-bing-104479

Which includes you refuted statement from Bing

So sorry to say, I am not read crap online unlike your claim... Like the saying goes throwing stones from glass house is not advisable...

And it shows how MS operates... Bing director is too focused on Google that he is getting mixed up between Bing and Google... Like I said earlier crying one too many times wolf does not help the reputation or the credibility

thenetavenger said,

You might want to recheck CRAP you read online, especially after it has been refuted.

The first article was beyond silly, in that the site that was demoted/suspended belongs to a group that Microsoft is a MEMBER.

So Bing is out to hurt Microsoft? Wow, that is evil, or really stupid people trying to make up crap.

And this is the first time I ever heard that searchengineland.com webiste being a crap and to infer from that Danny Sullivan has no reputation...
And what is next, Google is copying the results from Bing...

DoomsDayMayan said,

Fixed. Now I can agree.

I would argue that Microsoft's online services right now are a gazillion times better than what google has. Microsoft is just late.

DoomsDayMayan said,

Fixed. Now I can agree.

Business speaking, product and services could be used as synonyms (and in some case, it is also associate with project). For instance, Windows is not a product but a service, or more specifically, a service of license while, a boxed Windows is a proper product.

I find most of Google's online services to be better than Microsoft's. I find Chrome OS better than Windows on an underpowered netbook. The only thing I use Microsoft for is for real productivity. Windows OS on a nice desktop or laptop machine and Microsoft Office. Don't get me wrong, I love my Xbox, I just wish they can come out with one next time the size of a Apple TV. I really only use it for streaming media.

Google search and services related like maps are still superior to the Microsoft's equivalents in Canada for local requests.

DoomsDayMayan said,
I find most of Google's online services to be better than Microsoft's. I find Chrome OS better than Windows on an underpowered netbook. The only thing I use Microsoft for is for real productivity. Windows OS on a nice desktop or laptop machine and Microsoft Office. Don't get me wrong, I love my Xbox, I just wish they can come out with one next time the size of a Apple TV. I really only use it for streaming media.

What are you smokin' bro?

btw, I find DOS better than Chrome OS on under-underpowered netbooks.

Crimson Rain said,

What are you smokin' bro?

btw, I find DOS better than Chrome OS on under-underpowered netbooks.


Wow, how does the Internet look?

The FTC in general has been rather loving to Google. Their fines in the past don't even equate to slaps on the wrist. What gives?

'Microsoft also didn't like the fact that the FTC closed its investigation into Google's search algorithms which Microsoft and other companies feel promote Google's own products at the expense of others'
Erm... you are kidding me right? What's wrong with that? It'd be like walking into halfords, asking where's best to buy a bike from and them pointing to some shop - not owned by halfords - up the road. Of course they're going to say they are, your company would be losing money if you recommended your competitors.

Because the average joe goes to Google expecting honest results to their searches and honestly doesn't know any better. That's horrible for consumers.

n_K said,
'Microsoft also didn't like the fact that the FTC closed its investigation into Google's search algorithms which Microsoft and other companies feel promote Google's own products at the expense of others'
Erm... you are kidding me right? What's wrong with that? It'd be like walking into halfords, asking where's best to buy a bike from and them pointing to some shop - not owned by halfords - up the road. Of course they're going to say they are, your company would be losing money if you recommended your competitors.

You see, we have this thing called 'antitrust', where a company can't use a monopoly to unfairly kill off a competitor's product in a different market.

Erm... you are kidding me right? What's wrong with that? It'd be like walking into halfords, asking where's best to buy a bike from and them pointing to some shop - not owned by halfords - up the road. Of course they're going to say they are, your company would be losing money if you recommended your competitors

By that logic it should be perfectly legal for Microsoft to bundle IE, WMP, etc etc with Windows right? It's their product after all. But then MS got sued to hell in Europe because of that (with massive massive penalties if they didn't comply).

In the US, Microsoft had a permanent government employee on their staff for 10 years (from 2000-2010 I think) who made sure that none of their products promoted other MS products in such a way that it would be anti-competitive. Integration between products had to be to a minimum too. Which is why after 2010 you've suddenly seen this huge push from MS to make all their products work really well / seamlessly with each other, before then they just couldn't have done it.

But Google gets nothing even though they control something like 85%+ of the search engine market?

"It's their product after all. But then MS got sued to hell in Europe because of that (with massive massive penalties if they didn't comply)."

But yet Google can make phones and laptops and what ever they want and NOT get sued to death?!

Personally,
I DESPISE anything and everything Google!!