Microsoft and Google end truce, prepare for legal warfare

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The Visitor's Center at Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington.Source: Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Microsoft

Legal warfare is back in style, if Microsoft and Google letting their litigation truce expire is any indication. The 2015 pact the two companies forged to end outstanding lawsuits and prevent future ones is no longer in operation.

As reported by The Financial Times, the 2015 agreement meant that neither company would resort to regulator complaints or lawsuits without escalating disagreements internally in pursuit of an amicable resolution. Now that said agreement has run its course and not been renewed by both sides, anything goes.

The pact seemed to be a way for both companies to maintain direct competition while removing the “dirty trick” legal elements from their back-and-forth stabs. But the years-long kumbaya moment has been falling apart, as evidenced by recent public spats between the companies pertaining to matters such as Australia’s controversial, recently introduced media law.

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As the fighting spills over into the public eye and the companies continue to butt heads on all sorts of issues, it seems that litigation will be a natural escalation tool for some squabbles, a tool that both parties are keen on having in their arsenals once more.

There’s also the regulatory angle to consider. As mentioned in The Financial Times’ coverage of the topic, the decision for Microsoft and Google to let their pact expire without renewal occurred as regulators all over the globe have been fighting practices that prevent open competition and protect the leading tech companies. Two of the biggest tech corporations in the world refusing to fight each other in court could have been an unsavory look in a time of intensifying regulator scrutiny.

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