When last we heard of the “Scroogled” campaign, Microsoft (MSFT) had moved its efforts from the public relations front to the legal front and was pushing for legislation that would help keep Google Apps out of public schools in Massachusetts. Now The New York Times reports that the Microsoft-led Fairsearch Europe advocacy group has filed a formal complaint against Google with European antitrust officials alleging that Google is using Android “as a deceptive way to build advantages for key Google apps in 70% of the smartphones shipped today” by giving its own apps such as YouTube and Gmail preference over alternatives.
In other words, the group wants Google investigated for allegedly mandating that Android OEMs put Google apps on home screens as part of their contractual obligations. This is similar to how the United States government sued Microsoft in the late ’90s for allegedly pushing its Internet Explorer browser as part of a bundle with Windows.
The group also thinks that Google is being “predatory” by making its platform free to use because it makes OEMs more likely to adopt it over rival platforms such as Windows Phone.
“Google’s predatory distribution of Android at below-cost makes it difficult for other providers of operating systems to recoup investments in competing with Google’s dominant mobile platform,” Fairsearch Europe claimed in its filing.