High-profile employees at Microsoft and Yahoo say rival Googles complaints to authorities about a supposed unfair Microsoft practice is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
These are relatively new voices to the debate, raging in the blogosphere and elsewhere, that have the potential to further shape the outcome of the Google complaints to U.S. and European officials.
The rhetorical salvos result from Googles reported complaints about the new Internet Explorer browser, version 7, from Microsoft, which comes with an embedded Microsoft search engine.
The problem, Google says, is that Microsoft makes it very difficult to swap out this search engine for one from a rival.
Especially for inexperienced Internet users, thats tantamount to unfairly locking a search engine to the browser.
Even some experienced users might find it difficult to do so, given the four-step process to swap out Microsofts search engine for one of users own choosing.
"We dont think its right for Microsoft to just set the default," Marissa Meyer, Google vice president for search products, told The New York Times. "We believe users should choose."
Now rivals Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., and Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., are striking back at Google with a similar theme: that Google has a double standard.
Jeremy Zawodny, a member of Yahoos technical development group, recently wrote that Google itself has a pact with Dell Computers so that a "Googleized" browser comes standard in some Dell computers.
Google is also the default search engine for Firefox and Opera Web browsers, in the same way as Microsoft embedded its MSN search engine into its browser, Zawodny said.
"Google bought their way into the default position," Zawodny writes.
"And now theyre upset because they cant do the same with Internet Explorer? Cry me a river."
Ditto Don Dodge, director of business development for Microsofts Emerging Business Team.
"It is pretty clear Google is whining and complaining about something it does itself with Firefox," he wrote on his blog.
"Remember, Google hired the founders and leaders of Firefox and pays money to Mozilla. So Google heavily influences what happens in both browsers."
A Google representative didnt immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.