BRUSSELS, Mar 31 – Microsoft announced Thursday it has filed a "formal" anti-trust complaint against Google with the European Union, amid accusations the Internet king has rigged the search market for consumers.
"Microsoft is filing a formal complaint with the European Commission as part of the Commission’s ongoing investigation into whether Google has violated European competition law," read an online posting from Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel, Microsoft Corporation.
The move heightens the intensity of a probe officially launched by EU regulators at the end of November, which already carried echoes of a decade of antitrust action against US computer giants Intel and Microsoft, each of which were eventually hit with billion-euro fines.
EU competition watchdogs are investigating whether Google is guilty of "unfavourable treatment" of rival search services providers and whether Google\’s own services — including YouTube video, book-scanning or telephony — are getting "preferential placement" in consumer queries.
"We\’re not surprised that Microsoft has done this, since one of their subsidiaries was one of the original complainants," Google spokesman Al Verney. "For our part, we continue to discuss the case with the European Commission and we\’re happy to explain to anyone how our business works."