March 6, 2007
Microsoft Slams Google Over Book Scan Project
So, Microsoft is slamming Google over the latter's book scanning project, saying that Google does not respect the copyrights and intellectual property of others. Microsoft Associate General Counsel Thomas Rubin makes the charge to the sympathetic Association of American Publishers. He says that Google is abusing concepts of fair use while Windows Live Search honors those principles.
Let's see. Google has a book scanning project aligned with major university and public research libraries. Microsoft, Yahoo, and Amazon sort of have projects that are similar. Google is the only one being sued over the project and Google has elected to fight the suit rather than settle. The fair use concept is untested in the way and scope of the Google scanning project. If Google loses, the result and appeals can help define the business terms of what will be the ultimate agreements between the parties. If Google wins, the non-litigating parties (Microsoft, Yahoo, Amazon) can reap the benefits of Google's legal efforts. So far, so good.
Google is the number one search engine and makes oodles and oodles of money by selling ads associated with search. Microsoft is envious of that ability to make so much money even though they make oodles and oodles of money from the Windows monopoly and from Office. Microsoft has reworked their search engine, what, twice? Three times? And the last time it launched, Microsoft promoted Windows Live Search with such a splash that one of their executives said they would beat Google within six months and had to retract that statement even before the service went public. Let's see, what else. How about the fact that Windows Live Search hasn't beaten Yahoo yet, let alone Google. And just for fun, lets consider that Google's stock is worth about 10 times more per share than Microsoft stock. Not that the stock price really matters.
Given all that, the question is, is Microsoft's attacks on Google just a case of Google envy? Microsoft is just a plain also-ran in the search and portal business. Now analysts are starting to say that the Google Apps announcement may be the first real challenge to Office. Microsoft's biggest problem with Google (aside from search) is that they've entered the book scanning market late and once again they have to play catch-up. Google is a big enough company that they can take Microsoft's slings and arrows without missing a beat. They call this competition.
March 6, 2007 | Permalink
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