The bubbling enmity between Google and Microsoft may have risen a notch after it emerged that the search giant tipped off the European Commission over Redmond's failure to adhere to an antitrust settlement.
Yesterday, the EC fined Microsoft £485m for the blunder.
According to The Financial Times, unnamed sources familiar with the matter, reported that the EC's competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia was alerted to a Microsoft software update, which removed the browser ballot option, by staff at Google and Opera.
Microsoft had agreed to provide users with a choice of web browsers when installing its Windows software as part of an earlier antitrust agreement with the EC.
The EC had been concerned that Microsoft was abusing its dominance in the PC operating system market to stifle competition in the web browser market by bundling its Internet Explorer in with its Windows software.
The fine is unlikely to do serious harm to Microsoft, accounting for a mere fraction of the profits it rakes in every quarter for its Windows business, but nonetheless, the source of the tip-off is likely to fuel the antipathy between leaders at the two firms.
Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer had, in 2005, threaten to “kill Google”, in a fit of temper prompted by the defection of a senior engineer.
Meanwhile, last year Ballmer saw his bonus cut partly because of the browser ballot blunder.
Neither Google nor Opera had returned requests for comment when contacted by V3.
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