The 10 Bloodiest Battles Microsoft and Google Fought in 2010

Microsoft and Google battle on a dizzying number of fronts.

By Jon Brodkin
Wed, December 15, 2010

Network World — In case you haven't heard, there are two companies called Microsoft and Google (GOOG) that really don't like each other very much. These tech behemoths are battling each other on a dizzying number of fronts in the consumer, government and business markets, the U.S. court system and the court of public opinion.

Google Apps vs. Microsoft Office

Let's examine 10 battles Microsoft (MSFT) and Google fought against each other in 2010.

Slideshow: Teardown: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Legal wars

Google and Microsoft each accused the other of being monopolistic in 2010, with Google, for example, suing to the U.S. Department of the Interior for favoring Microsoft in the bidding for a cloud-based e-mail contract, and Microsoft joining a group that's trying to block Google's planned acquisition of a travel software company due to fear that Google would dominate the online travel search market. 

[ For complete coverage of the Cloud Apps Wars -- including a complete guide to the business war, the competing products including Google Docs and Office 2010, the implications for users and IT, and more -- see's Cloud Apps Wars Bible. ]

Just for good measure, Microsoft also testified against a Google project to scan millions of books and, separately, filed patent complaints against Motorola (MOT) for its phones based on Google's Android mobile operating system. Microsoft has worked on softening its stance toward open source software, so the Android lawsuit illustrates just how seriously Microsoft is taking the threat posed by Google's mobile phone platform.

War for the desktop

Not content with dominating the search market, Google took aim at Microsoft's signature Windows operating system business by releasing a prototype version of the forthcoming Chrome OS. Google is so confident that it's reportedly dumping Windows for internal users, supposedly because Microsoft's OS isn't secure enough.

While analysts say Chrome OS is no Windows-killer, just yet, that doesn't mean Microsoft shouldn't be worried. If Google's vision of a "100% Web" world comes to fruition, Microsoft may have some catching up to do. But Microsoft's Tim O'Brien, senior director of the Platform Strategy Group, dismissed Chrome OS in an interview earlier this year, saying "The browser isn't the operating system. The operating system is desktop Linux and it runs one application and one application only, and that's Google's browser."

Browser battles

Speaking of Web browsers, Microsoft's Internet Explorer is still the most widely used tool for surfing the Web, and this year Microsoft took a leap forward with the beta of IE9, which is performing well in early HTML5 testing. 

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