Google Must Avoid an Endless Legal Battle

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-12-01 Print this article Print


5. It's a serious concern 

Google should consider this EU investigation a serious concern. Although the company will likely get through it without too much damage, investigations such as these can hurt its brand image. It can put any company on the defensive and start to influence the company's operations and management. Microsoft is proof of that. And Google can't forget it. 

6. Regulators can change things 

Although Microsoft won't admit it, some of the company's divisions have been significantly affected by its battles with U.S. and European regulators. Most recently, Microsoft was forced to offer a "browser ballot" to European Windows users over the EU's concerns that its bundled Internet Explorer in Windows was anti-competitive. Granted, Internet Explorer is still tops in the browser market, but it's feeling more pressure than ever before. It has the EU to thank for it. 

7. Be prepared for more competition 

Microsoft's issues with regulators over the years have caused the company to miss out on some changing trends. While the firm was distracted with its legal battles, small, more nimble competitors were coming up with new ideas in several different spaces. One of those companies was Google. Going forward, that will likely happen with the search giant, as well. It's simply difficult to stay on the cutting edge while constantly fighting legal battles. 

8. Another Google is waiting 

When Google first launched, the company made it clear that it didn't want to "be evil." It was a thinly veiled jab at Microsoft, which some critics have called, the "Evil Empire." By drawing that line in the sand, Google made it clear that it was the "good force" against the presumptive "bad force." This image caught on with consumers. But if its legal troubles continue, Google might be in jeopardy of looking awfully Microsoft-like. Then it might only be a matter of time before another company comes along to "save the day." 

9. End them quickly

 Microsoft's legal battles have been going on for far too long. Issues started with U.S. regulators in the 1990s and in some way or another, are still affecting the company. Google can't have that. The company should do its best to move beyond these issues as soon as possible. As mentioned, the longer Google looks Microsoft-like, the worse it will be for its operation. 

10. Be ready to settle 

To avoid an endless legal war, it's important that Google be ready to settle if a deal makes sense. When Microsoft faced off with U.S. regulators, the company went to trial, lost face, and eventually settled with the Department of Justice. It was a mistake on Microsoft's part. Microsoft probably had this experience in mind when the company accepted the browser ballot with the European Union. Google should be ready to settle with the European Union if such an opportunity presents itself. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't fight clearly false allegations-it should. But as long as a potential settlement doesn't hurt the search giant too much, it's often times the best option.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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