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Microsoft, Google agree to stop complaining to regulators about each other

Microsoft has pulled out of two groups seeking antitrust action over search, but the software maker says it isn't taking a position for or against the current actions by the EU.

Chestnot and Justin Sullivan / Getty

Microsoft and Google say they have recently reached an agreement under which they will drop pending regulatory complaints against one another across the globe. The pair have also agreed that they will try to work among themselves to settle any future issues before running to regulators.

“Microsoft has agreed to withdraw its regulatory complaints against Google, reflecting our changing legal priorities,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement to Re/code. “We will continue to focus on competing vigorously for business and for customers.”

Google, meanwhile, offered up a similar statement, affirming that it too will withdraw any regulatory complaints it has made. “Our companies compete vigorously, but we want to do so on the merits of our products, not in legal proceedings.”

Neither company made any product commitments to one another as part of this deal.

The timing is interesting, coming just as European regulators charge that Google is abusing its position in the Android market. However, both sides say the deal was in the works for some time.

Microsoft says it isn’t taking a position on either the European Union case against Android or an earlier EU inquiry with regard to search. It has, though, dropped its memberships in FairSearch and ICOMP, two groups supporting antitrust actions over Google’s search business.

What has changed most between the two companies is the leadership, with current CEOs Sundar Pichai and Satya Nadella enjoying a far more cordial relationship than Steve Ballmer and Eric Schmidt, who tussled over all manner of issues from search practices to browsers to the hiring of Kai-Fu Lee.

Under Nadella, Microsoft has also moved to embrace Android and Apple’s iOS amid its declining fortunes in the smartphone business. The company has brought a number of products to those operating systems, including Office and Skype.

Last September, Microsoft agreed to drop its remaining patent litigation against Google, though the company continues to seek patent royalties from hardware makers that use Android and Linux in their products.

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