Judge lets Google file brief in Vista search antitrust battle

Google has gotten an official nod to file a brief critical of Microsoft's compliance with the antitrust decree prescribed by the US government, as the search giant does not feel that Microsoft has done enough to allow third-party desktop searches to function in the same way as the integrated search in Windows Vista. US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly gave Google the go-ahead in an order this week, despite the fact that she feels that Google's complaint has already been appropriately addressed. 苏州美睫美甲

Late last week the DoJ reviewed a Windows Vista machine with beta changes meant to address concerns raised by Google. The DoJ said last week that Microsoft's compliance on the matter was satisfactory, but we believe that this battle will continue because Google does not believe Microsoft is acting fairly.

Google has been quietly fighting Vista's desktop search for months now. It started in June when the company alleged that Vista's own indexing service could not be properly disabled and that it caused system performance problems when customers used competing desktop search products, such as Google Desktop Search. Google argued that the behavior was anticompetitive because it discouraged customers from installing anything else.

Microsoft responded by promising some changes to Vista that would allow end users to select a default program to perform desktop searches, while Vista's own search results would continue to be displayed in some contexts. It also said that it would not change how the system indexed files. Much to the chagrin of Google, the DoJ accepted Microsoft's proposal.

Google was naturally irked by this and responded by saying that Microsoft's changes were not enough. Google's chief legal officer said that the changes violated the 2002 consent decree between the Department of Justice and Microsoft and limited consumer choice. In late June, Google moved to have the decree extended, because it felt that Microsoft needed to do more before the judgment expired in November. At that time, Judge Kollar-Kotelly told Google to take its complaints directly to the DoJ instead, because she did not believe Google had proper standing with their complaint.

With the DoJ and 17 states' attorneys siding with Microsoft on the matter, Google doesn't seem to have much hope of pressing the issue in terms of Microsoft's compliance with the consent decree. While Judge Kollar-Kotelly's decision is largely procedural, it is another cog in the wheel of a dispute that will likely extend beyond the November expiration of complete DoJ oversight. Google has indicated in the past that it won't give up the fight until it has run out of angles to pursue.