Microsoft’s filing last week of a complaint against Google with the European Competition Commission is somewhat cynical considering their own competition woes and their failed strategy to thwart the accusations of the competition authorities on both sides of the Atlantic. In the end they paid billions of dollars in fines and their reputation was damaged.
By attacking Google through the European competition authorities Redmond is acknowledging that despite their strong business position they are worried enough about Google to take their fight into the regulatory space, a bit like a child running to the teacher to report the unfairness of another when things aren’t going her way.
Google would do well to think strategically about their approach to both the Microsoft attack and the European competition authorities. Perception is reality and at the moment Google still holds the perceptual high ground. They can hold onto this high ground by thinking through how their approach will impact both perceptually and legally.
As Microsoft found out, a purely brute force legal denial of the accusations did little to alter perceptions and in the end they nearly faced break-up at the hands of the authorities. Google are in the fortunate position to be able to learn from Microsoft’s mistakes and to take a strategic approach which helps them not only survive the attack but also maintain the perceptual high ground.