Microsoft Slams Google's Ad Practices

Microsoft used a speaking slot provided by the Association of National Advertisers to open a broad assault on rival Google, accusing the Web giant of using its market clout to the detriment of advertisers.
Microsoft deputy general counsel Mary Snapp laid out her company’s case to advertisers gathered in Washington, D.C., today for the ANA Advertising Law & Public Policy Conference, which Microsoft sponsored. Ironically, Microsoft based its criticisms on Google’s size in the market, mirroring charges leveled against the software firm in the 1990s.
Snapp said marketers should demand that Google allow them to take advertising data out of AdWords for use in other ad tools. She also decried Google’s policy that lets competitors bid on a brand’s search terms, saying it drives up prices. Microsoft only sells search ads on brand terms to companies that own those terms.
“Google, of course, benefits handsomely from this policy by collecting lots of money from the investments that you and other companies have made in their brands,” she said in her prepared remarks.
Microsoft and Google are locked in a battle over the lucrative search advertising market, with Microsoft trailing far behind. The companies have sparred regularly over which is abusing its power. Google suspects that Microsoft will use its operating system and browser market power to steer users to its search engine. Microsoft sees Google’s stronghold in online advertising as detrimental to competition.
“We realize that, given the state of the market, few of you can afford to give up using Google because of these restrictions,” Snapp told advertisers at the conference. “But that doesn’t mean you should have to accept them either. And the fact that Google has might, does not make it right.”
Google representative Adam Kovacevich painted the attack as part of a broader Microsoft effort to combat Google using legal maneuvers. He pointed to a recent Wall Street Journal article that found Microsoft behind an unusual antitrust claim filed in Ohio by a small Web advertiser.