Microsoft is hitting back at claims the company copies Google search results for its Bing search engine.
Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president of Microsoft's online services division, lambasted Google in a posting to the company's Bing search blog.
Mehdi denied claims made by Google that Microsoft was copying Google search results and click data.
"We do not copy results from any of our competitors. Period. Full stop," Mehdi wrote.
"We have some of the best minds in the world at work on search quality and relevance, and for a competitor to accuse any one of these people of such activity is just insulting."
Google said that it could prove the claim by offering the results of an in-house study. The company said that it set up a group of machines which posed random search queries that later appeared as Bing results.
Mehdi dismissed the experiment as a 'honey pot' technique from Google that was specifically designed to manipulate Bing results.
Mehdi said that the data came not from copying Google data, but from collecting user traffic information
"We do look at anonymous click stream data as one of more than a thousand inputs into our ranking algorithm," wrote Mehdi.
"We learn from our customers as they traverse the web, a common practice in helping to improve a wide array of online services."
Analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Market Research said that even if Microsoft had copied Google search data it was not necessarily doing anything wrong.
"This would be akin to arguing that in a football game teams are sending scouts to watch the strategy of other teams, which is commonly done," Enderle told V3.co.uk.
Enderle suggested that if Google does want a study into Microsoft's practices, it should arrange to have an unbiased third party look into the matter rather than rely on its own in-house experiments.
Even then, however, the analyst believes that Microsoft has done nothing wrong and the issue is little more than a "tempest in a teapot."
"To me, this is Google becoming a big old company, this is something that big old companies do," said Enderle.
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