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Microsoft and Google prepare to battle again after ending six-year truce

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A pact on battles like Scroogled is over, and the gloves are off again

microsoft logo stock Photo by Sam Byford / The Verge

Microsoft and Google have reportedly ended a six-year truce on legal battles. The Financial Times and Bloomberg are both reporting that Microsoft and Google formed an unusual truce in 2015, which expired in April. The pact was reportedly forged to avoid legal battles and complaints to regulators. It meant we haven’t seen Microsoft and Google complaining publicly about each other since the days of Scroogled, a campaign that attacked Google’s privacy policies.

Now the gloves appear to be off once again, and we’ve seen some evidence of that recently. Google slammed Microsoft for trying to “break the way the open web works” earlier this year, after Microsoft publicly supported a law in Australia that forced Google to pay news publishers for their content. Microsoft also criticized Google’s control of the ad market, claiming publishers are forced to use Google’s tools that feed Google’s revenues.

The rivalry between the two has been unusually quiet over the past five years, thanks to this legal truce. Microsoft was notably silent during the US government’s antitrust suit against Google last year, despite being the number two search engine at the time.

Microsoft has had to turn to Amazon for Android apps on Windows 11.
Image: Microsoft

The Financial Times reports that the agreement between Microsoft and Google was also supposed to improve cooperation between the two firms, and Microsoft was hoping to find a way to run Android apps on Windows. That obviously didn’t pan out, and Microsoft has turned to Amazon instead to get Android apps running on Windows 11.

Some of the battles between Microsoft and Google were intense before this agreement, and they’re likely to get heated once again. During the height of Windows Phone in 2013, there was a particularly bitter battle between Microsoft and Google over YouTube. Months later, Microsoft was out selling anti-Google mugs and T-shirts, and acting rather nervous about Chromebooks.

A lot has changed for both Microsoft and Google since the days of Scroogled — including new leadership on both sides — but Google’s scathing attack on Microsoft earlier this year proves that these tech giants are ready to battle once more.