Microsoft has no problem asking Google to remove links on Google search results related to software piracy of Microsoft's various products. In fact, Microsoft's the top copyright owner to submit URL removal requests to Google in the past month by a fairly hefty amount.
According to Google's new Transparency Report, Microsoft - or companies reporting on behalf of Microsoft - submitted more than 8,000 different removal requests since July of last year, targeting a grand total of more than 2.5 million URLs. That's a median of roughly 50,000 URLs per week that Microsoft asks Google to remove, which includes links from domains like todoroms.com, thewarezscene.org, or torrentreactor.net.
The peculiarity, however, is that Microsoft allegedly seems to have no problem keeping some of these URLs on its own Bing search service; it just doesn't want them to be searchable on Google.
Techdirt's Mike Masnick ran a little experiment where he took one of the URLs from a May 11 takedown request, filed by a company called Marketly on behalf of Microsoft, and ran it through both Bing and Google. The results? The BitTorrent file for a less-than-legal download of DIRT 2 for the Xbox 360 couldn't be found on Google, but appeared on Bing. Strange.
To Microsoft's credit, the issue isn't widespread, in that Masnick did find a number of URLs within Microsoft's takedown requests that were correctly removed from both Google and Bing. Some, but not all. It's an odd problem for Microsoft to have; one would think that Microsoft's own search engine would be the first place it would target for hunting down links to files that infringe the company's own copyrights.
"This would suggest that, either Marketly and Microsoft decide to leave up certain infringing content on Microsoft's own search engine while taking it down from Google... or that Microsoft certainly isn't that fast at doing removals", Masnick writes.
Wired's Alexandra Chang attempted to reach out to Microsoft to inquire about the peculiarities of its takedown practices across Bing and Google. However, the only answer Microsoft provided came in the form of the following statement:
"As a search engine and copyright owner, Microsoft appreciates the need for responsible enforcement online. So each month, Microsoft requests the removal of links to web pages that infringe Microsoft's copyrights so that customers are not deceived into purchasing or downloading counterfeit software".
As Chang notes later in her article, it's likely that Microsoft is just a bit slower about the takedown process than its competitor. For it would certainly be odd (and unlikely) for Microsoft to use URL takedown notices as a way to generate a little more Bing buzz by offering links that Google, by Microsoft's own request, cannot touch.