Google petitions again to weigh in on Microsoft-DOJ case

Summary:If at first you don't succeed, complain, complain again. On July 2, Google filed a second request to be considered a friend of the court in the Microsoft-Department of Justice antitrust case -- after being rebuffed the first time.

If at first you don't succeed, complain, complain again.

Google has filed a second request to be considered a friend of the court in the Microsoft-Department of Justice antitrust case.

As noted by Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop, Google filed its latest five-page request on July 2, a week after Judge Collen Kollar-Kotelly rebuffed its initial attempt to weigh in on whether and how Vista's integrated desktop search violates terms of the antitrust consent decree.

On June 25, Google filed a brief asking Kollar-Kotelly to extend antitrust oversight of Microsoft, as well as to force Microsoft to provide more specifics regarding its plans to alter Windows Vista’s integrated desktop search technology in order to improve the performance of rival, third-party desktop search products on Vista. She said she'd look to the U.S. DOJ and states to represent consumers' interests.

Google's July 2 filing claims Google offers an "important and useful perspective" in the Microsoft case. From Google's new filing:

"As the developer of a major desktop search product and the company that brought the desktop search issue to the attention of the plaintiffs, Google has familiarity with the issues raised and is well positioned to provide information to the Court. Google worked with the plaintiffs for an extended period of time to ensure that Microsoft's violation did not go unaddressed, and nothing in Google's request for leave to participate as amicus curiae is inconsistent with the plaintiffs' fundamental role in enforcing the Final Judgment, as confirmed by the fact that none of the plaintiffs opposes Google's motion."

As Bishop notes, Google is attempting to build a case around its claim that desktop search is middleware. Hmm. Does that mean every new component in each release of Windows also should be considered "middleware"? Should the Photo Gallery middleware? Will the Windows Live Photo Gallery -- the services version of Photo Gallery in beta test -- be construed as a middleware service?

When I think of middleware, I think of an application or code that ties two disparate things together. What is desktop search tying together? One definition for middleware I found on the Web called middleware "a component that is not designed to stand alone." Doesn't Google's Desktop Search exist as a standalone product?

Do you see something I don't? Does Google have a leg to stand on here?

Topics: Microsoft, Enterprise Software, Google, Hardware


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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