Software

Google says Vista search violates consent decree: Netscape Part II?


According to Ars Technica, Microsoft's "capitulation" to Google’s antitrust complaint isn't really the capitulation that the mainstream media everywhere appears to be reporting.

Upon inspection of Microsoft's joint filing, it is apparent that Microsoft is not going to allow a complete override of the default search services in all Explorer windows. Microsoft also rejects Google's concerns about performance.

Google chief legal officer David Drummond said in a statement:

We are pleased that as a result of Google's request that the consent decree be enforced, the Department of Justice and state attorneys general have required Microsoft to make changes to Vista

Furthermore, Drummond said that:

Microsoft's current approach to Vista desktop search clearly violates the consent decree and limits consumer choice... [the proposed] remedies are a step in the right direction, but they should be improved further to give consumers greater access to alternate desktop search provider.

For more information, check out these additional news sources:

At this moment, the entire situation as well as the legal recourse available to Google is still ambiguous.

Whatever it is though, this time round Microsoft will be finding itself up against another gorilla much closer to its size, and with a growing stash of lobbyists to boot. Do you think Microsoft will be able to pull off another Netscape, this time on Google?

What are you thoughts on the matter? Join the discussion.

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

21 comments
cathysgardens
cathysgardens

Microsoft seems to do anything they want to. No I don't think they should be able to make you use anything you don't want to. But micro$ can get away with being the top spyware in the business so I would think they will make you use what they want you to use on their software, or as they say use something else besides windows vista$

DanLM
DanLM

The MS crowd brag about the fact that more third party software and more vendor drivers work on windows then other operating systems. They seem to change their tune when it is found that MS picks and choose's who it allows free access on its os. MS allowed all virus scanning software complete access until they released their own. MS allowed the desktop search until it released it's own. It seems that MS only stifles competition when they want to get into that specific market. Then all bet's are off. Even if that product had access before. But, your right. If we don't like MS toys. All we have to do is go buy different ones. Dan

samuel_ervin
samuel_ervin

Microsoft is probably doing the right thing for the consumer here by not allowing outside desktop searches. Its a major security risk if just anybody can click and bam you have a new desktop search with holes large enough to drive a mack truck through. I think this is an area where limited access and corporate partnerships should be made cause i certainly don't want a bunch of crackers opening me up every other day cause someone other than Microsoft forgot to plug a hole.

Absolutely
Absolutely

But Google isn't just "a bunch of crackers opening me (you) up every other day cause someone other than Microsoft forgot to plug a hole." Still, it is an interesting perspective and I think I partly agree. What technical criteria would you use to draw the line between third-party software that a consumer is able to install, and "an area where limited access and corporate partnerships should be made"? The security argument makes sense, and security is my #1 complaint with Microsoft operating systems, so I'm really interested in knowing more of your thoughts on this.

shardeth-15902278
shardeth-15902278

They aren't blocking third-party searches. Other desktop search apps still work, they just perform poorly in comparison to MS desktop search, due to the resource drag presented by MS desktop search, as it is always there whether you want it to be or not. No, Hackers can still happily slog their way through your data.

GreyTech
GreyTech

If it follows the rules that the OS allows then it should be held to the security of the OS. If not then the OS has the holes. If MS use unpublished internal APIs to do a better job then they should publish the APIs. If they go beyond that and use OS Kernal access not available to external apps then they will be in breach of the DOJ order.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

What is it has been included as a feature integrated to the OS, as part of the OS?

paulmah
paulmah

Do you think Microsoft will be able to pull off another Netscape on Google? Tell us your opinion?

newtoitall
newtoitall

I think the whole desktop search - antitrust case is rediculous. Here is a similar analogy. I Just brought a new Mercedes car (Microsoft) but i dont like the body shape so i want a BMW M3 coupe body (The desktop). I dont have a choice, I cant by a mercedes with a BMW body, I cant even ask for a non mercedes paint colour or diferent steering wheel. When i buy the mercedes, i know what to expect and receive what i paid for. If I dont want the Vista Desktop Search then dont buy the software. If google wants me to use their desktop search then they should spend the money and develop their own operating system, if not willing to do this then its there fault not Microsoft. P.S. I live in Australia and have tried the Google desktop, the only thing it seems to do is block all internet access when installed. After removing i get internet access again. Not usefull at all

DanLM
DanLM

I screwed this post completely up. I had dates on the release of both desktop searches to show that Microsoft was last, and I lost them. Screw it, it's not worth it. I'm going to bed. Dan

paulmah
paulmah

Maybe I should do a poll on how often web-based forms trip us up.

paulmah
paulmah

Actually a better analogy would be: All cars have no sound-systems. Someone thought of this idea for the first time and created a sound system to be installed (Google Desktop). Mercedes car (Microsoft) saw this and decided to create their own sound system too. However, somehow, they created in such a way that you can't really install any 3rd party sound systems easily. That is the crux of what I believe this case and even Netscape is about.

Absolutely
Absolutely

The definition of an operating system is an abstraction layer that provides access to the computer's hardware. Your analogy to the basic functionality of a car is spot-on. A web browser is "intrinsic" to an operating system like a GPS system is "intrinsice" to an automobile: even if it is a standard feature on luxury brands, cars have been known to function without a GPS altogether!

akklaxon
akklaxon

Google has their hands in every thing you download/install now days. I am either fending off Google or Yahoo tool bars left and right. It has virtually become another form of MalWare, just one more piece-o-junk to slow things down. This alone makes me hope that Microsoft wins in the end. I'm still at a loss as to where Google even started the case. Whats so wrong with an OS being able to search within it's self? Just because Google is prying for that ever important real estate (your desktop) does not mean that I want them them there. "Legally" or other wise. Isn't all of this up to us? The end user? Help me understand this first!

paulmah
paulmah

Based on whatever little I know of antitrust legalese, it does seem that MS saw a good product (OS search), and using its dominant position in OS (Vista) to force OS search down everyone's throat. Which in itself is not wrong - as long as they provide a level playing field in which 3rd party vendors is allowed to build similar tools to "plug" into.

DanLM
DanLM

That they were locked out of offering you that ability? I agree with you, I will not be installing it either. But, by them being able to offer that service. I am able to choose. By Microsoft structuring it so that any third party product is automatically has degraded performance, they have unfairly biased customers about a product. Thats my take on it anyway. Dan

DanLM
DanLM

They have become a bureaucracy where I do not think forward thinking is appricieated like it use to be. And if they do have these forward type thinkers still, they are being overridden in the deployment decisions by management. Dan

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

Microsoft has become too big. Their OSes are bloated. They have lost perspective and are akin to being the BORG. EMD