Microsoft Might Have To Share Millions Of Internal Documents

It looks like Microsoft is stuck in a mess of its own making, the company initially complied with the Department of Justice, helping them build an antitrust case against Google. The company is now facing a subpoena seeking millions of documents that could reveal the efforts made by the company to beat Google in the search engine market. It’s still not known how many documents Microsoft will be required to give. After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Amit Mehta came to the conclusion that more information was required by the court before Microsoft could be guided as to how much data it would be required to present. “These are hard issues for any judge to resolve in a way that’s objective and meaningful,” said Judge Amit Mehta adding “and that’s particularly so given that, with respect to the additional custodians, I don’t have any sense of the volume that would produce … or what that volume would mean for the timing of production.”

The Department of Justice filed an antitrust case against Google in October 2020, alleging anti-competitive behaviour when it comes to search and search advertising. The above is just one of the many cases filed against the tech giant. More than four hundred thousand documents were provided by Microsoft before the Department of Justice went on to file charges against Google, however, according to a recent filing, Google argued that Microsoft must provide a similar number of documents that might be helpful in Google’s defence. “No third party is more central to this litigation than Microsoft. The DOJ and Colorado Complaints refer to it or its products dozens of times,” the filing mentions. “Having so obviously pressed for and cooperated in the preparation of the present complaints to be filed against Google, Microsoft cannot credibly avoid significant discovery in these cases.”

In April, Google issued its first subpoena to Microsoft requesting “older documents that will shed light on whether Microsoft was actually restrained from competing with Google, or whether it simply failed to compete successfully on the merits.” However, Microsoft did not allow all twenty-seven of the executives to be searched so in the end only seven executives were searched. Google in its filing mentioned nineteen current and former executives of the company who may have information relevant to this particular case. “These executives cover issues at the core of the case: the development and distribution of Microsoft’s various search engines, Microsoft’s search advertising business, and Microsoft’s effort to market devices that would give it yet more search access points beyond the ever-present Windows desktop,” the filing says adding “Google simply seeks discovery commensurate with Plaintiffs’ allegations, which reach back two decades."

Microsoft argued in a filing of its own that the search giant is filing such requests only to delay the case. “In the past nine days, in fact, Google has proposed seventeen additional custodians,” the filing says adding “including nine on July 19, five on July 26, and three today, July 27. Google has not explained why it believes searching these additional twenty-eight custodians ... is necessary.”