Kudos to Main Justice competition reporter Aruna Viswanatha for her scoop — five days ago — about Microsoft Corp.’s apparent stealth war on Google Inc. on antitrust grounds.
Today, the Wall Street Journal re-packaged our story on its front page, deploying four reporters to do a job that Viswanatha managed to do all by herself. Since the WSJ didn’t give proper credit, we’ll do it ourselves.
Some excerpts from Viswanatha’s Feb. 24 article:
In January, Google filed suit against a comparison shopping site myTriggers.com in Ohio state court, hoping to collect on $335,000 in unpaid bills.
Instead of paying the bill, myTriggers enlisted the help of both Microsoft’s antitrust lawyer, Rick Rule at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and famed trial lawyer Stanley Chesley, who worked on several of the largest settlements of the past few decades including those for the Lockerbie bombing and Dow Corning’s injury-prone silicone breast implants. [...]
Rule also advises another search engine, TradeComet.com, which filed a similar suit against Google in a New York federal court last year.
Observers have questioned both lawsuits’ ties to Microsoft, but in an interview with Main Justice, Rule denied Microsoft’s interest in either matter.
“Microsoft is not involved,” he said, “our clients are only the named plaintiffs.” Rule declined to explain how his firm was hired in either case, but did say: “It is my practice to answer phone calls, and I’ve been blessed that I haven’t had to go out and elicit clients.”
And from the WSJ today:
Seeking $335,000 in unpaid advertising bills, Google Inc. filed suit against a small Internet site in Ohio in October. The complaint was so routine it was just two sentences long.
Google never expected the response it got. Last month, the small Internet site countered with a 24-page antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the search-engine giant of a litany of monopolistic abuses.
But what really caught Google’s attention was the Internet site’s legal counsel: It was Charles “Rick” Rule, long the chief outside counsel on competition issues for Google archrival Microsoft Corp.