In a story released today, the Associated Press reported that Google has filed a 48-page document with the U.S. Justice Department and other government agencies. In the document, filed April 18, Google claims that Vista, Microsoft’s new operating system, is not allowing users to choose who they want to use for their desktop searches.
In 2004, Google released their own version of a desktop search system. It is able to go into the hard drive of a computer and index it. It is similar to memory of what is stored on a user’s system. This allowed the user to search their computer system, just as they would the internet. The simplicity of the utility is great. It is not a stand alone program, according to PC World.
Vista, the latest Windows operating system released by Microsoft, has a desktop search utility. Google claims that Microsoft has made it almost impossible for a computer user to turn off the Vista system to use another, according to Associated Press.
In 2002, Microsoft was ordered to comply with a decree that would allow the end user the ability to add or remove programs from the Windows operating system. Microsoft was not to interfere with the ability of the end user to use a competitor’s program or utility that Microsoft already made available in the operating system. This information comes from the final judgment paper.
Google is claiming that Vista does just that. The desktop search that comes with Vista is being pointed at as slowing down other utility programs.
“The search boxes built throughout Vista are hard-wired to Microsoft’s own desktop search product,” Google’s Ricardo Reyes told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. “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 and Google have been at odds for years. This is nothing new. Microsoft is asking that the possible merger of Google and DoubleClick be checked into, this according to ARS Technica. They quoted Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, as saying…the deal “raises serious competition and privacy concerns in that it gives the Google-DoubleClick combination unprecedented control in the delivery of on-line advertising, and access to a huge amount of consumer information by tracking what customers do on-line.”
According to ARS, the government gave Vista a good report before it’s release. Microsoft worked with government staff to ensure that Vista’s middleware did not violate any of the antitrust issues, by installing a bug-tracking system.
I guess this means we can probably be looking forward to a new service pack being issued. Make sure you have your security alert set. Sometimes I long for the old Commodore 128.
Associated Press, Michael Liedtke, Google Complains about Microsoft’s Vista, http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/G/GOOGLE_MICROSOFT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2007-06-12-07-44-46
PC World; Juan Carlos Perez, Google Updates Desktop Search Tool, http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,119894-page,1/article.html
US Gov; Antitrust Case Filings
ARS Techinca; Nate Anderson