Steve Ballmer
Image: Wiki Commons

We have recently written about Microsoft’s race with Apple and Google to become the world’s first trillion dollar company. That would suggest the company is performing well and competing relatively evenly with its rivals. However, former CEO Steve Ballmer has described the power of Google as “out of control”.

He was speaking specifically about the company’s position in Europe. In fact, Steve Ballmer has urged regulators on the continent to continue to be hard on Google.

“I still believe that the … power of Google in Europe is out of control,” he said. “I think they should be regulated to permit competition. I thought that when I worked at Microsoft; I still believe it. Microsoft has backed off from that. That’s new leadership’s perspective. But I absolutely think there’s a problem, and the Europeans were on to an appropriate form of regulation.”

Ballmer led Microsoft between 2000 and 2014, and was a dividing figure in the tech sphere. Some people blame his for causing Microsoft’s problems that have only recently been solved by new CEO Satya Nadella. Others sympathize with Ballmer for helming Microsoft through major transitions in the industry.

Google has had consistent issues in Europe. Last year, regulators warned the company to better protect consumer rights. The commissioner said she is losing patience with social media companies and wants them to meet European standards:

“I am becoming very impatient,” commissioner Věra Jourová said at a press briefing today. “In our opinion there are in the terms and conditions of these American companies several very unfavorable conditions for the EU consumer. And if they want to make big business using the benefit of operating in the European market they have to be compliant with the EU consumer protection standards and rules.”

European Woes

Other issues Google has faced recently in Europe include accusations of avoiding tax payments. Also last year, Google was slapped with the biggest fine in European history, $2.7 billion. European investigators found that Google Search used its algorithms to undermine competitors in its Shopping search feature.