Google's antitrust woes just keep getting worse.
When the online search specialist filed suit against a small Web site in Ohio recently to recover unpaid advertising bills, the tiny company came back with a 24-page complaint alleging antitrust violations. It's not unusual, considering Google has become the new giant to slay. It holds 75 percent of the online advertising market in the United States and nearly 90 percent in Europe, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But it's not really the suit itself that bothers Google. It's the law firm representing the small Ohio company. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft is a Washington, D.C.-based firm that has represented Microsoft in the past. And the attorney of record on the case has served as Microsoft's outside counsel on antitrust issues for years.
Google representatives think Microsoft is helping to fund suits by smaller companies in different locations around the world so there is a stronger overall antitrust case against it. Spokesperson Adam Kovacevich said:
It's become clear that our competitors are scouring court dockets around the world looking for complaints against Google into which they can inject themselves, learn more about our business practices, and use that information to develop a broader antitrust complaint against us.
Not surprisingly, Microsoft denies helping to start or funding the lawsuits. Company representatives do say, however, that it shares the concerns of many regarding Google's growing dominance. Spokesman Jack Evans told the Journal:
It shouldn't come as any surprise then that we frequently hear from parties who believe they've been harmed by Google, or that we would encourage anyone who appears to have a legitimate complaint to contact the appropriate authorities.