Google, Microsoft, and Nokia: Who’s Bothering Whom?

Anyone who ever said complaining couldn’t get anything done was wrong, as Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Nokia (NYSE:NOK) have pushed to have European Union officials step in against their competitor, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), over claims of anti-competitive practices.

FairSearch is a group that represents Microsoft, Nokia, and 15 other technology and search companies, and it brought the complaint to the EU officials, asking them to investigate Google’s “deceptive conduct to lockout competition” in the mobile market.

Given Google’s dominance in the mobile market — its Android operating system held a 70 percent share of the handsets shipped in 2012, and Google accounted for 96 percent of mobile search advertising — it makes sense for Microsoft and Nokia to be concerned about the market that they are trying to build up their own presence in.

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Nokia and Microsoft have been working together closely to popularize the Windows Phone 8 platform and the Lumia devices it powers, but they have struggled in the face of Google’s and Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) success. Their complaints to governing bodies may be a desperate attempt to gain some latitude in the markets…

Microsoft has already pushed against Google once before; the company has a pending antitrust complaint filed with the European Commission over Google’s search practices. In addition, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission conducted an investigation, but the agency did not find Google to be harming consumers. The European Commission is also close to ending its its own antitrust probe.

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EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia hopes that the investigation over Google’s general search practices may be resolved later this year, but, the new complaints over Google’s mobile practices may extend the probe a bit longer. Almunia wanted Google to come up with a way to offer choices between Google-branded and competitors’ search results in its search engine for desktop and mobile devices, which could lay the complaints to rest.

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