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Microsoft, Pals Try Ringing Google's Bell

Glover Park is fighting a new kind of lobbying war, one which combines digital Astroturf with experienced insiders. It's a refinement on what Sam Simon of Issue Dynamics first did for the Bell companies, detailed here by Newnetworks.

So far they have Google on the run. They're on the run most in Europe, because Google's market share is higher there, and European law focuses on competition, not just harm to consumers. Google has offered a host of technical changes to its search algorithms, detailed here at Gigaom from a report in the Financial Times.

But a political war is not about getting agreement. Fairsearch members tell Bloomberg the deal isn't good enough and they've opened up a second front, claiming that by giving away its open-source Android operating system Google is doing just what Microsoft did with Internet Explorer back in the day.

What Fairsearch is trying to do is use politics to build a global regulatory scheme around Google's operations that require lots of people to manage, that will bring lots of lawyers into Google whose job it will be to stifle innovation, to bring it down to Microsoft's level.

Time will tell whether they succeed. But they're off to a good start. Opensecrets.org says Google spent almost $20 million on lobbying last year, twice what Microsoft spent directly. And every dollar spent on lawyers and lobbying is a dollar that's not spent serving customers.

At the time of publication, the author was long GOOG.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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