Apple-vs.-Google-vs.-Microsoft Spells Fustercluck

fustercluckApple Computer’s patent infringement complaint filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware attacks Google’s Android handheld operating system and the horse it rode in on — virtually every smartphone manufactured by HTC.  Read the Complaint

Meanwhile, Microsoft is hedging its bets, releasing an app called “Tag” in both the iPhone App Store and in Android Market.  According to the New York Times, “Microsoft’s Tag technology allows you to use your phone as a mobile barcode reader. You simply point your phone’s camera at a tag (think: a smaller QRCode), snap a picture, and the Tag program will interpret it. This can be used to place things like coupons in physical locations, for example. ”

And as ZDNet reported, over in Europe, the EU Antitrust regulators have received complaints about Google rigging search results to favor its own businesses, a misfortune for which Google blames Microsoft:

Google Feb. 23 said three Web companies have filed complaints with the European Commission alleging that the search engine is demoting their Websites in Google search results and not respecting fair competition.

The European Commission, the antitrust body for the European Union, received complaints from UK price comparison site, Foundem, a French legal search engine called, and Microsoft’s Ciao from Bing, a product shopping site.

While the Commission said it has not opened a formal review of Google over these complaints, Google denied the allegations and pointed to search rival Microsoft as the possible instigator.

And as reported in Wired, Google has of course returned the favor by joining in the EU Antitrust complaint against Microsoft:

The Internet company joins the Mozilla foundation, producer of the Firefox Web browser, and Norway’s Opera, a privately held company. Google adds the voice of a significant and well-financed player in the case against Microsoft.

In January, European regulators brought formal charges against Microsoft for abusing its dominant market position by bundling its Internet Explorer Web browser with its Windows operating system, which is used in 95 percent of the world’s personal computers.

Many people are likely to say, well if all three accuse each other of illegal conduct, probably none of it is true.  But here’s a hypothetical for you.  Suppose all three are telling the truth, and like Apple says, Google really is rolling its OS out on a platform that infringes Apple patents, and like Microsoft says, Google really is rigging search results, and as Google says, Microsoft really is using monopoly power to maintain a lock on the browser market?  Where is the consumer in the midst of this three-way orgy of market dominance.  Can anybody spell Fustercluck?