Microsoft's Antitrust Gadfly Turns on Google

Gary Reback, who successfully took Microsoft to task for stifling competition, is now after Google -- with Microsoft's support

By Jackson West
|  Monday, Oct 5, 2009  |  Updated 2:58 PM PDT
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Wired Magazine

Reback was on the cover of Wired magazine in August 1997. The headline read, "This lawyer is Bill Gate's Worst Nightmare."

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Lawyer Gary Reback, who once took on Microsoft over the issue of that company's hostile takeover attempts of money monagement software maker Quicken, is back, and this time he's mad at Google.

Calling that company's position in the online marketplace Microsoft-like in its dominance, Reback had some harsh words for the Mountain View-based search giant in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News.

Unlike "in your face" Microsoft executives like current CEO Steve Ballmer, Reback suggests the Zen-like calm of Google CEO Eric Schmidt is actually more worrying. "Google's refrain is more like, "Trust us," and I gotta say, in a business scenario, that's kind of hard to swallow."

Reback is specifically going after the recent settlement between Google and a number of book publishers giving Google rights to create digital copies of books and sell them online, which he feels might stifle competition in the future.

The settlement, which Google is renegotiating, "in effect established dominant control of digital books through a cartel of publishers and a single bookseller that would have been Google," Reback argues.

He points to the fact that after introducting its own mapping application for the Web, it became harder and harder to find competing sites like Mapquest and Yahoo in Google's search results.

So this time around, Microsoft is on Reback's bandwagon, along with companies like Yahoo and Amazon.com.

Photo by Andrew Turner.

Jackson West is more interested in preserving darknets to ensure the future of samizdats.

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