Microsoft to alter Vista to address Google complaint?

Summary:If new news reports are right and Microsoft is caving to a Google claim regarding antitrust concerns over the desktop search integrated into Vista, I'll be interested to see how the Redmondians will alter a feature that's already shipped with the more than 40 million copies of the latest version of Windows.

On June 19, the U.S. Department of Justice was slated to release its latest Microsoft antitrust compliance report. (It's past 8 p.m. EST. Still no sign of it yet.)

In the interim, Reuters and Bloomberg are both reporting that Microsoft has agreed to alter Windows Vista in some way to appease Google, which complained last year that Microsoft's desktop search facility -- Instant Search -- was interfering with the performance of Google Desktop Search when loaded on Vista systems.

Last May, federal regulators gave a thumbs up to Microsoft's plans for its search-box plans for Internet Explorer 7 (which is part of Vista), but did not address Instant Search.

If these new news reports are right, I'll be interested to see how Microsoft can alter a feature that's already shipped with the more than 40 million copies of Vista that Microsoft has said it has sold.

Could a patch -- or perhaps Vista Service Pack 1 -- include functionality that will aid third-party search indexers to work better with Vista?

I asked the Vista team for comment. No word back Their statement, via a corporate spokesman: "Microsoft won't be making any comment until the (DOJ) report is filed. "

Stay tuned.

Update: 10 p.m. EST: The DOJ report isn't expected until after midnight EST.  The New York Times is reporting that Microsoft will be making changes to Vista.  No real details on how/when, however. The Times says:

"Lawyers involved in the proceeding said the changes to Vista would allow consumers to decide which desktop search program they want to use, and that selecting software from Google or some other company would no longer slow down the computer as it does now. They said that as part of the settlement, Microsoft would let Vista users know how to change their desktop search program. But the settlement would not require Microsoft to make all the changes that Google had sought."

Topics: Windows, Google, Microsoft

About

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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