Posted by Dave HeinerVice President & Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft
Two years ago, Microsoft applauded the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission when they opened their antitrust investigations into Google’s business practices. We believed then, as we do now, that the future of competition in search is at stake in these investigations. This is important not just for Microsoft, but for the thousands of smaller companies whose businesses depend on a competitive search marketplace. That is why so many companies have made their concerns about Google’s misconduct known to regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.
The European Commission has stated publicly that Google must address four areas of concern regarding its business practices, or else it will face enforcement action. We understand that the European Commission and Google are working toward a binding, enforceable legal order that would address these competition law concerns.
The FTC took steps today to address some of Google’s improper business practices. We find it troubling that the agency did not adhere to its own standard procedures that call for the agency to obtain industry input on proposed relief and secure it through an enforceable consent decree. 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.
For years Google has publicly championed the virtues of “data portability”—the idea that customers ought to be able to use their own data in products from various companies. But in practice, Google effectively prohibited its primary paying customers (advertisers) from using data about their own advertising campaigns on any ad platform other than Google’s. That made it much more difficult and costly for advertisers (especially small advertisers) to run their ad campaigns on Bing and other ad platforms.
Posted by Jacqueline BeauchereDirector, Trustworthy Computing, Microsoft
It’s no surprise that kids today are growing up online. They use mobile devices to do their homework, play games, connect with friends, and access the wealth of information available on the Web. Technology gives children access to a host of positive, educational and growth experiences; yet, parents face challenges when they look to monitor what children see online, the people they meet and the information they share.
At Microsoft, we want to help parents create a healthy computing environment for their kids. That’s why we set out to hear from parents about what matters most to them in helping young people stay safer online.
Earlier today, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Patent and Trademark Office issued an important policy statement on standard essential patents. We welcome the statement as a significant step forward in ensuring the sound operation of the international standards system. Open standards can thrive only if firms can implement any standard free of the threat that other firms who contributed to the standard will later turn around and try to block them from shipping their products. That is why we strongly support the conclusion of the DOJ and the PTO that holders of standard essential patents should not be permitted to seek product injunctions against firms that are willing to take a reasonable license. Simply stated, firms that have promised to make their standard essential patents available on reasonable terms should do so. (Microsoft committed to this approach a year ago.)
The FTC determined last week that Google violated U.S. competition law by suing to block shipments of products such as Xboxes, iPhones and iPads. As the FTC explained, these products implement common industry standards, like those used for video playback and Wi-Fi connectivity, and Google had promised to make its standard essential patents available to all on reasonable terms.
Posted by Jeff MeisnerEditor, Microsoft on the Issues
Today Microsoft is announcing a new mobile app called HelpBridge that is designed to help you connect with the people that matter to you most during a large-scale natural disaster. The app also enables you to give money, time and resources to support relief and rebuilding efforts.