Google launches antitrust complaint against Vista's desktop search

Discussion in 'Vista News' started by Jason, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. Jason


    Sep 26, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Maby google should stick to the web..

    Who's the monopolist, Google or Microsoft? The two companies have been trading antitrust criticisms over the last few months, with Microsoft most recently asking the federal government to scrutinize Google's proposed merger with DoubleClick. Google has been playing the same game, but it has conducted its campaign in secret and directly with the federal government. The New York Times has just revealed that Google months ago filed a confidential complaint with the Justice Department, asking that Microsoft be forced to alter Vista's desktop search behavior on antitrust grounds.

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    The complaint says that Vista's indexing service cannot easily be turned off and creates a drag on system resources when operating at the same time as rival indexers, like the one in Google Desktop Search. Google argues that this behavior is anticompetitive, and several state Attorneys General seem willing to pursue the issue. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer managed to wring a response from a Google spokesman that sheds more light on the claims. "The search boxes built throughout Vista are hard-wired to Microsoft's own desktop search product," said Google's Ricardo Reyes, "with no way for users to choose an alternate provider from these visible search access points. Likewise, Vista makes it impractical to turn off Microsoft's search index."

    Microsoft's Bradford Smith, the company's general counsel, sounded a conciliatory tone. "We've made a decision to go the extra mile to be reasonable," Smith told the Times. "The discussions between the company and the various government agencies have been quite fruitful."

    This might be nothing more than a business dispute between rivals, but the Times also reveals that the man in charge of the Justice Department's antitrust division, Thomas Barnett, circulated an unusual memo to state Attorneys General in recent days that asks them to reject Google's complaint (many states were party to the main US antitrust case against Microsoft). While such a request is rare enough, it invites additional scrutiny because Barnett also served previously as the vice chair of the antitrust and consumer protection practice group at DC law firm Covington & Burling—a firm that represented Microsoft throughout its antitrust battles with the government.

    Barnett, who has a degree from Yale and Harvard Law, had no direct involvement with the Microsoft case while at Covington & Burling and recused himself at Justice from handling any issues related to the company out of an abundance of caution. The Times reports that an internal ethics panel has now cleared him to work on Microsoft issues. There's no evidence of any pro-Microsoft pandering here; rather, the paper points out that this is only the latest in a long line of actions that the Bush administration has taken to defend Microsoft (and other large US companies like Apple).

    As part of its consent decree, Microsoft also worked with the US government before Vista was released to ensure that no problems would result, and the government signed off on the operating system. The company also made changes to placate the EU before Vista was released, so it's not as though Microsoft hasn't made a good-faith effort in this area. According to Google, though, Microsoft still needs to go one step further: provide a way to swap out the back-end desktop search engine.
    Jason, Jun 11, 2007
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  2. Jason


    Aug 1, 2006
    Likes Received:
    MS search indexing is part of vista. Its part of what you pay for. Its like saying aero should be disabled because it makes the computer slower and hence making my program run slower. Google need to get their priotities straight.
    kingofnexus, Jun 11, 2007
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