Google Takes EU Side in Microsoft IE Monopoly Case; Will It Come Back to Bite?

Google is siding with the European Commission in its disapproval of Microsoft bundling Internet Explorer with Windows. Google says that Microsoft has an unfair advantage in the browser market as a result of this practice.

But will such a stance come back to bite Google in the butt? In 2007, Google released Android, a mobile operating system, and then last year Chrome, an internet browser. In the next year or two, Android will begin being released on netbooks (aka small laptops). Google could use that opportunity to bundle Chrome and increase their browser market share, but they’ll now face criticism if they do.

And as one smart commenter on the Google Public Policy blog pointed out, there’s no criticism of Apple bundling their Safari browser with Mac OS (not to mention the constant requests to do so for Windows users who have downloaded iTunes).

Sure, Apple doesn’t have a monopoly on the browser market with Safari (and there’s a good reason for that until perhaps yesterday’s updated release of the browser), but what other purpose would they be attempting to achieve with the bundle?

Of course, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt currently sits on the board of Apple, so it wouldn’t be prudent for them to criticize Apple for the same practice. But things are bound to get a little dicey on all fronts as Google also competes with Apple, maker of the popular iPhone.

Siding with the EU is also an interesting move just months after they canceled a partnership with Yahoo! which would have increased their dominance in the search advertising field.

Google has yet to master politicking, and watching them in this regulatory space should be interesting indeed.

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