Google has been under the scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission for several years now, but the agencies’ antitrust investigations are expected to finally come to a close early this year — and Microsoft is worried that the search giant will walk away with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Microsoft Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner recently published a blog post calling for government regulators to crack down on Google. The agencies’ respective investigations are probing whether or not Google is intentionally skewing search results to the detriment of its competition.
Citing recent news reports and insider talk, Heiner fears that Google is likely to come away from the investigation having to do nothing more than promising to play nice.
“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,” Heiner wrote.
“This is important not just for Microsoft, but for the thousands of smaller companies whose businesses depend on a competitive search marketplace.”
Despite being under the scrutiny from the US and abroad, Heiner says that Google still isn’t willing to allow Microsoft to provide “proper” access to YouTube in Windows Phones.
Heiner referenced an older post from Microsoft in which the company claimed that Google would not allow access to certain YouTube metadata that allows users to search video categories, see ratings, and find favorites, all of which the YouTube app on Android and iOS can do.
“This is an important issue because consumers value YouTube access on their phone: YouTube apps on the Android and Apple platforms were two of the most downloaded mobile applications in 2012, according to recent news reports. Yet Google still refuses to allow Windows Phone users to have the same access to YouTube that Android and Apple customers enjoy.”
A spokesperson for Google disputed Microsoft’s claims in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, saying:
“Contrary to Microsoft’s claims, it’s easy for consumers to view YouTube videos on Windows phones. In fact, we’ve worked with Microsoft for several years to help build a great YouTube experience on Windows phones.”