back to article Google calls for court to tighten Microsoft's anti-trust leash

Google has escalated its legal tussle with Microsoft over search features built into the Vista operating system. It has asked a federal judge to extend a 2002 antitrust consent decree to ensure Microsoft fulfills its pledge to fully resolve the stand-off. Google made the request in a legal document filed in US District Court …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well that's fair...

    So, mac's all happy and peachy with their search, but Microsoft has to dumb down THEIR os for a COMPETITOR?

    Find me an alternative to MS (other than windows itself), that does NOT have google as its default; does that not in itself discriminate against ms live, for example?

    I am not saying I support either one, directly, but this 100% bashing to Microsoft is getting quite old.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yes, it's fair

    After all, Apple aren't on the wrong side of an anti-trust decision. MIcrosoft screwed many people/companies, and now it's their turn to dance.

  3. sleepy

    It's the MS OS monopoly

    MS has a PC OS monopoly. That was established beyond contest in court. Naturally occurring monopolies are not illegal per se. Leveraging a monopoly to gain competitive advantage in another market is illegal, but MS does it all the time. MS must not engineer or configure their OS to prevent competing non-OS products from working as well as MS's version. That's what MS has done here, and they appear to be conveniently saying they will finish fixing it right after the courts can't check up on them any more.

    Having a monopoly is a huge benefit, almost a license to print money. It carries extra legal responsibilities. In MS's case it also carries a few billion a year in expenses to pay off parties whose rights they have abused (one estimate is $20 per Windows licence sold - no idea if it's correct).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    M$ Bashing

    Much as I hate to defend Microsoft, I'd like to agree with and quote the first post.

    "Why should MS have to change their OS for a competitor?"

    If Google has a problem playing nice in someone else back yard they should go home and play with their own toys (except we're still waiting for the 'famed' Google OS...)

    Unfortunately if Gates got sick of all the agro and decided to take his ball home there wouldn't be a mass shift to *nix or Mac, there would be a public outcry to give MS whatever they wanted to get their software back.

    Google: just as big, just as nasty. If you can't play with the big boys go back to playing in the sandpit and behind you mummy's skirt (except they keep playing the friendly start-up card...)

  5. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Search is part of the OS, but

    All OS have some search facility (find / grep in *nix), and any OS-maker is well within his rights to improve it. Therefore, I do not see why Microsoft can be said to be "leveraging their monopoly in another market" in this case. The underlying issue as I understand it is whether they have documented their APIs in such a way that others might also implement competing software effectively. I do not know whether this is the case.

  6. JimC

    Why should MS have to change their OS for a competitor?

    When you've broken the law as an individual bad things happen to you and it can mess up the whole of the rest of your life. It seems perfectly reasonable for the same thing to happen to corporations. After all otherwise it considerably reduces the incentive for other companies not to break the law...

  7. Robert Hirst


    "The underlying issue as I understand it is whether they have documented their APIs in such a way that others might also implement competing software effectively."

    I think the problem not documentation on APIs (google engineers can no doubt reverse and understand any API in days) but that the built in search cannot be disabled, so both end up running at the same time causing Vista systems to turn to sludge (or at least get sludgier, anyway).

  8. tim chubb

    its a fricken OS feature

    what next, someone demanding that the file system in vista be made interchangable so that you can use something else?

    the fact is that google want to be able to track and advertise to you at every opertunity, the only reason they could possibly need further integration, is to really snoop on you as far as im concerned.

    i mean as long as they can traverse the file structure thats enough access for a sodding file search.

    i mean what next, will they want a gdir command incase some one fires up command prompt and types "dir <lostfile name>*.* /s"

    thing is, u know M$ will be getting thousands of support calls from plebs, not understanding that the google search is nothing to do with ms, but cus its so well integrated it will appear to be part of m$'s remit for support, i dont see what good it can do other than cause a great deal of confusion. i mean if numpty bush talks about 'the google' god help the rest of the uneducated american masses (no offence at the 5% of the american population or so that manage free thought)

    besides who needs a desktop search to index all your stuff, is it really to much hassle to just create a logical folder structure?

    e.g. my docs/word/[project, topic, subject name]/<file name>

    obviously it is, and why on earth youwould want the install files, samples and help files included in the index i dont know

    basically to my mind this is a non problem, as better integration of a shit product, just makes a well integrated shit product.

  9. Adrian

    Changing from one monopoly to another

    Well, ,I'm writing a search engine. I demand that Google rewrites their entire code so it works with my attempt.

    Er, what's that Mr Google ? I can take my code and put it where ?

    Strange how it's one rule for them and er,one rule for them.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Microsoft doesn't have to dumb down their search, they just have to give other companies equal access so that purchasers of their product can choose on their own which one they would like to use.

    Why? Because they got caught in an illegal monopoly. So now they have to play nice, it's their punishment.

    Google doesn't have to rewrite anything as they do not have an illegal monopoly, they don't even have a monopoly for that matter. You see, if you play nice, you don't have to be punished.

    Why is Google getting involved? Because they can and they want to make sure that if any customer wants Google as the default search in Windows Operating Systems and work as easily as Microsoft's, they are able to do it. Great business sense, plain and simple.


  12. Daniel

    "Shared" API's

    Personally, I develop MS based software often. I have no issues with the available APIs out there. Sometimes it does look like it was written quickly enough just to get it done, but it's called trial and error on my part.

    I'm also tired of non-technical reporters freaking out when THEY cant understand MS API's...

    Now back to the search feature, Mac's search feature is built in as well.. just saying

  13. SpitefulGOD


    Who the fudge is google? Why don't google pay up for the additional work to have this implemented? While they're at it stop paying Billions for crap-tech companies and pay for some solar, wind and water farms in the developing world like Bill does.

  14. yeah, right.

    Ah, Microsoft groupies, gotta wonder.

    It's obvious from the comments above that many people don't understand the concept that Microsoft was found guilty, in court, of abusing their monopoly position. This "consent decree" is like terms of probation which were incredibly lenient in the first place. This lead to the court ordering certain remedies, one being that Microsoft wouldn't do it again. But look, in the field of business called "search engine", Microsoft is yet again leveraging the fact that they are a monopoly to squeeze out a competitor. That's what got them into court in the first place. I see Microsoft just can't bloody learn, can it? Instead of waiting until the decree was over before trying its dirty tricks again, they had to have another go as soon as possible, knowing that any "fix" would be due after the court supervision (ie: probation) was over.

    Yes, Google is a competitor. So what? Microsoft still owns the desktop computer market. This means they have certain responsibilities in ensuring that their competitors can, in fact, compete. By not allowing the consumer to turn off their search and use a competing search, by making it extra difficult to even use a competitors product, they are yet again leveraging their monopoly to shut a competitor out.

  15. SpitefulGOD


    @ yeah, right : At least the judge has the sense to drop this crap, with the points you've raise anyone with a product that does anything on a PC that the OS also does can come up to Microsoft and say "oi.. you.... NOOOOOO!", which in my book just stops Microsoft from doing their job.

    Next in line I suppose is, I want MY task switcher instead of Microsoft’s, I want MY task manager instead of Microsoft’s, I want different Context menu styles, I want a different Defragger, I want the start bar replacing, I want the clock on the left and to be made by Apple.

    Where does it end???

    If a competitor came to our company and said integrate our inferior products, I'd tell them were to go, Microsoft should have put up more of a fight becuase this crap is getting old.

  16. Michael Martin

    RE: Blah @ SpitefulGOD

    Look up the definition of Operating System. Anything that does not fit that definition is an add-on. Microsoft Vista is an operating system with a set of tools packaged with it, much like how find/grep are applications that run inside *NIX operating systems. It should be JUST AS EASY to run a competitor's product, because SEARCH IS NOT INTRINSIC TO AN OPERATING SYSTEM. Microsoft is overstepping its bounds by making it MORE DIFFICULT TO RUN A COMPETING PRODUCT.

    They tried to do the same thing with Internet Explorer, and they succeeded. IE is, in case you couldn't tell, integrated completely into the operating system of Windows XP and its ilk. If you managed to completely rip out Internet Explorer, you would cripple the operating system. I doubt it would even boot. Google is simply trying to make sure that its product (Google Desktop Search) which was PREVIOUSLY easily integratable remains capable of competing. Microsoft tried to prevent it by closely tying it in and preventing anyone else from making it as easy to use a competing product.

    Incidentally, all those things you suggested are entirely possible in Windows XP with the exception of Task Manager, and in fact, all of them SHOULD be possible. (In fact, I find Process Explorer phenomenally more useful than Task Manager.) Competition lets products continue to improve.

    The issue isn't Google coming up to Microsoft, handing them their code, and saying 'Make it work!' The issue is opening up the possibility of making sure Vista is modular enough that Microsoft doesn't HAVE to integrate someone else's work - the program creators can do it themselves. Nearly any programmer worth his salt will tell you that in most instances, hard-coding is a BAD IDEA. It kills flexibility. Modularity is one of the prime things that is catapulting Firefox into the spotlight as a real competitor for IE. If Vista had that sort of flexibility, it might actually be a worthwhile product.

  17. Daniel

    To the last commentor...

    Actually, the search feature in vista is a menubar "replacement".

    Google's desktop search was "add-on". Also, when microsoft's "indexer" sees the system get busy, it CANCELS. None of this BS about "hogging" resources on google!! Google's app would have WAY higher priority than the build in indexer.

  18. Surpised - NOT


    Rather than just moaning about MS's "illegal" monopoly (only governments create monopolies by force - so how's it "illegal"?), why don't those people who actually don't like using Vista just not buy it (perhaps they didn't anyway) - and if they really have such a bee in their bonnets, why don't they go off somewhere and write a better, "opener", OS as I'm sure they'll soon find themselves in a monpoly position when everyone "wants" to use it!. But I suspect everyone knows the answer to that already.

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