Microsoft Funding Anti-Google Trade Group Since 2007

Under the somewhat sensational headline, “Dark forces gunning for Google,” The Telegraph today shared the story of ICOMP — the Initiative for a Competitive Online Marketplace — a European-based trade group that appears to exist mostly, or solely, to be a thorn in Google’s side.

On its website, ICOMP hits all the right notes. Its mission statement talks about “support for principles that are essential to a healthy online environment” and “the adoption of best practices to promote creativity, innovation, safety and trust.”

But the group also says that “no single company should be allowed to abuse its market power to the detriment of competition or consumers,” and that seems to hint at its real target: Google. In fact, ICOMP’s Industry News page should be called a “Google investigations and complaints” page: Of the 40 articles listed, only three don’t have Google’s name in the headline.

As The Telegraph article points out, Microsoft is listed as ICOMP’s “initial trustee” in this PDF available on the group’s web site, and there’s small print in the site footer that says ICOMP is “funded by member contributions as well as sponsorship from Microsoft.” All of this actually goes back to 2007, when Microsoft and PR agency, Burson-Marsteller, formed ICOMP and began to fight against Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick.

As we’ve covered before on Search Engine Land, Google and Microsoft have already sparred over ICOMP in their previous verbal fisticuffs. No doubt the sparring will continue as the two continue to compete in so many spaces (search, mobile, handsets, operating systems, and so forth).

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Business Issues | Google: Critics | Microsoft: Business Issues


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Michael Dadona

    The main thing now why should this kind of rivalry up to these type of supports and activities. As an internet user, I wanted to see all giant parties neck-to-neck each other in producing different products as varieties to be offered to all end users. All giants must respect the Intellectual Property owned by each.

    I know and for sure there will an answer telling me that is all about business development in getting leading factor and obtaining niche market. If anyone asked me, how to do it in bringing them together to put this thing on the table? My answer is why not merge some parts of the disputable items in the areas of services.

    I think this is the way to be more productive while giving the best to end users and at the same happily can harvest through profit sharing amongst the involved parties which is would be greater than going solo.

    The question now is does their respective business policies making them apart?

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