Microsoft, Google European Privacy Concerns Could Affect U.S.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Google and Microsoft continue to face tough business and privacy scrutiny in Europe. Analysts discuss whether tougher actions by European authorities will bring stronger rules to the U.S.Google and Microsoft continue to face tough business practice and privacy scrutiny in Europe. There's sharp criticism from European Union (EU) officials over Google's privacy policies for its users and antitrust concerns with Microsoft related to whether it is giving users a choice in the Web browsers they use in the new Windows 8 operating system. Google's privacy policies for users' data were assailed earlier this month by the EU, which argued that Google isn't being clear enough about how it uses consumer data that it collects. The company's efforts do not meet existing European standards of privacy, and are causing authorities in Europe to push Google to come into compliance with those laws. On March 1, Google enacted major changes to its data privacy policies and folded 60 of its 70 previously separate product privacy policies under one blanket policy. The EU has been challenging many of those changes in recent months. Microsoft, meanwhile, came under the microscope of the EU Oct. 24 for allegedly violating a 2009 commitment to allow European users to have a choice of Web browsers inside Microsoft's Windows operating systems. The 2009 agreement addressed competitive concerns that came from the EU and included the stipulation that Microsoft would offer a screen of browser choices to European users of its Windows OS through 2014, from which users could decide which browser they wanted to use.
The agreement called for a choice screen that also featured such browsers as Mozilla’s Firefox and Google Chrome. The regulators now say that Microsoft has failed to comply with the order, sparking the latest investigation. In July, Microsoft admitted it had accidentally violated the earlier agreement and said that it would make corrections.