Google and Microsoft agree to end regulatory battles

Microsoft had been a leading voice calling for antitrust investigations of Google

Google and Microsoft have agreed to end their long-running regulatory battles and stop complaining to government agencies about each other.

Microsoft had been one of the leading companies calling for governments to investigate Google over potential antitrust violations in recent years. Earlier this year, though, Microsoft withdrew its support for FairSearch, a coalition of companies pushing the EU to file formal antitrust complaints against Google.

The announcement of the new agreement between the two companies comes just two days after the European Commission filed new antitrust charges against Google related to packaging its apps on Android phones.

The two tech giants, over several years, have been waging a behind-the-scenes cold war against each other involving government agencies in the U.S. and other countries, but that's now ending, both companies said in short statements. 

“Microsoft has agreed to withdraw its regulatory complaints against Google, reflecting our changing legal priorities," a Microsoft spokesman said by email. "We will continue to focus on competing vigorously for business and for customers.”

The new detente stems from a global patent deal the two companies signed last September. That deal ended about 20 patent lawsuits between the two companies in the U.S. and Germany.

"Our companies compete vigorously, but we want to do so on the merits of our products, not in legal proceedings," a Google representative said by email. "As a result, following our patent agreement, we've now agreed to withdraw regulatory complaints against one another."

The new agreement, announced in statements released Friday, isn't driven by a single event but is a natural progression of the companies' relationship, said one person familiar with the deal.

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Grant Gross

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