A recent 24-page antitrust lawsuit against Google by an Ohio-based internet site is a case in point. Although on the face of it nothing seems amiss – a small firm countering Google's lawsuit with a complaint of its own, the plot thickens the moment the name of one Charles “Rick” Rule crops up as the small internet firm's legal counsel. Charles Rule, an attorney with the D.C law firm Cadwalader, counts Microsoft among his illustrious clients. He is also representing another small firm against Google in a separate lawsuit.
"It's not every day that a big D.C. law firm like Cadwalader gets involved in a collections lawsuit in Ohio,” Google attorney Mark Sheriff told the Wall Street Journal. In Europe, a series of antitrust complaints from various companies, including one of Microsoft's German subsidiaries, is also cited as part of Microsoft's legal war with Google. The European Commission has ordered a preliminary inquiry against Google after taking cognizance of the anti-trust complaints. What does Microsoft stand to gain from all this?
Google has an answer. “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,” said a Google spokesman, Adam Kovacevich.
But Microsoft is quick to rubbish all such allegations. It contends that Google's business practices have caused a great deal of resentment among its rivals. And that the lawsuits are a result of widespread indignation and not of some Microsoft intrigue.
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