Something that I found rather nice, in an age where companies seem to always play cutthroat with each other, Google and Microsoft have agreed to play nice with each other. The companies have decided to stop filing complaints about one another with regulators around the world. In a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report, this was prompted by the CEOs of each company, Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, whose relationship was characterized as “cordial.”
This truce was created after a patent settlement that happened between Google and Microsoft last year.
So what caused the change in attitude towards each other? The cause is traced directly to the leadership change at Microsoft, which happened back in 2014 with the replacement of Steve Ballmar with Nadella. While Ballmar was still the CEO of Microsoft, Redmond had been aggressively lobbying in Europe and elsewhere against Google as a search monopoly.
Not only was Microsoft a funding member of an anti-Google lobbying group, FairSearch, they were a founding member. FairSearch had been at the forefront of antitrust complaints and claims against Mountain View. FairSearch was even instrumental in the defeat of the “rival links” antitrust settlement proposal that had been worked out between Joaquín Almunia, the European Commission chief, and Google.
Microsoft had pulled funding from FairSearch several month ago and left the group. According to WSJ, because of Microsoft’s departure, as well as the withdrawal of funding, the organization was effectively killed. But oddly enough, its online presence has suggested that the group is still active. One of Google’s rivals, Oracle, has been cited as a member of FairSearch.
It’s also been reported (via WSJ) that “Microsoft left the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace, or Icomp,” another EU-based anti-Google lobbying organization. On its website, Icomp reports that ICOMP it has “51 signatory companies from 18 countries around the world.”