Microsoft to address Google search complaint in Vista SP1

Microsoft to address Google search complaint in Vista SP1

Summary: Microsoft is making changes to Windows Vista in response to a Google complaint that claimed Vista's integrated desktop search is harming the performance of Google Desktop and hampering customer choice. Microsoft plans to incorporate some of the search-related changes in Vista Service Pack 1, which the company is finally admitting will be out in beta form before the end of 2007.


The latest Department of Justice status report on Microsoft's antitrust compliance is out. And Microsoft's concessions to a Google complaint regarding integrated desktop search are a key component of that report.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Todd Bishop links to the 27-page PDF version of the full status report. He also provides the highlights of Microsoft's four-pronged plan for enabling third-party desktop search engines to work better with Windows Vista.

A Microsoft corporate spokesman, contacting the media via e-mail on Tuesday night, summarized the Vista search changes Microsoft is planning to make as follows:

  1. "Defaults: Computer manufacturers and consumers will be able to select a default desktop search program similar to the way they currently select defaults for third-party web browsers and media players in Windows Vista.
  2. "Easy Links: Links to the default desktop search program will be provided on the Start menu and in Windows Explorer windows.
  3. "Developer guidance: Microsoft will provide information to developers of third-party desktop search programs about how they can optimize their programs to minimize any performance problems."

Microsoft is promising to deliver a number of the required changes as part of Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista. A beta of that service pack, according to the status report, will be out before the end of this year.

(That's one way to get Microsoft to have to cough up a long-awaited acknowledgement of Vista SP1, as well as a partial timetable for it.)

What do you think of the proposed changes to Vista's integrated search capabilitiy? Gratuitious? Necessary? Confusing? None of the above?

Topics: Google, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • What a load of rot

    OK, so is Mac OSX similarly open. As usual one standard for Microsoft and one for everyone else. Why in hell should they have to allow ANYONE to do anything to their OS. If people don't like their products there are choices....lets move on people.
    • Do you know the definition of MONOPOLY ?

      Obviously you don't . Microsoft was found to be guilty to be MONOPOLISTIC when it came to their products . The D.O.J. was just doing their job , it's part of the ANTI-TRUST settlement . APPLE in no way is a MONOPOLY . Hence , like you stated , Microsoft gets the shaft , APPLE just walks .
      • Oh really...

        So your trying to tell me that Apple aren't a monopoly on the MP3 market?
        • 70% marketshare is not a monopoly,

          but 95% marketshare COMBINED with anticompetitive behaviour as confiremd by the antitrust ruling on MS is a monopoly.

          Apple does not use dumping prices on iPods to squeeze out competition (in contrast to MS' heavily subsidized Xbox an Zune)
        • I see no monopoly there

          The I-Pod is one product on shelf on at least 20 alternatives. The Alternatives are also much cheaper to boot. Sure they might not have the Apple logo and maybe a little less functionality in some but they all do the same thing if all you want is a portable music player. On top of that I can use I-Tunes and buy songs at the higher price with more quality and it can be put easily on any device I buy not just Apple's products. I don't call that a Monopoly, far from it in fact.
          • So then you agree with the following

            Windows is just one OS with dozens of alternatives. The alternatives are often cheaper (in most cases free) to the consumer. They may not have MS's logo or interface, but they are viable OS's that run on the same architecture as Windows. What's more, you can install a front end that looks almost identical to XP (some versions may have this UI preinstalled)

            On top of that, if you use emulator software, you can run many (most?) of your windows apps on those OS's, though in many cases cheaper (free) versions are available.

            So I guess you think that justice is wrong, and MS isn't a monopoly :rolleyes:
          • So then you agree with the following

            GASP! Someone with a brain, MS can only be a Monopoly if you play their game, buy their software etc. Yada?.. Yada Think Different and try an alternative OS if you don't like MS. Comsumers have more power than they seems to think!
        • The difference between Microsoft's OS ...

          ... business and Apple's iPod/iTunes business is that Apple has not been convicted of using its considerable market penetration to keep competitors out. It has simply offered a better solution than its competitors -- staying one step ahead of them.

          Apple's iTunes service even permits users to 'burn' their DRM-protected music downloads onto WAV and MP3 files. The only "quesitonable" action taken by Apple is when it used its considerable market clout to keep prices uniform and low when the RIAA tried to strong-arm them into introducing variable muliti-tiered pricing based upon content.

          Microsoft, on the other hand was convicted -- on two continents -- of using anti-competitive practices to keep the competition out of the OEM market. Microsoft is paying its dues for its behavior.
          M Wagner
        • Now, now he you just bashed Apple...he will have to go tell his mommy

          Spot boy isn't going to like that he's got double standards...
        • Oh really...

          "So your trying to tell me that Apple aren't a monopoly on the MP3 market?"

          So Don't buy an iPod, no one is forcing you to, Microsoft makes one go buy that. Apple makes superior products, therefore people buy them. And have far fewer problems.
          • Actually...

            I buy both Apple and MS products because both have their pluses and minuses. And yes I do own an iPod, I have had 4 now and I love it but I do so hate the fact iTunes is crap on Windows. Now why is it that both Quicktime and iTunes both seem to run wonderfully on Apple products but are downright slow on every PC I have ever tried them on. Could it be that Apple want it to be this way so that i might go "Hmmmm, maybe i will buy a Mac"

            Hey why we are on the subject of Apple I find these arguments about how secure and stable Apple products are laughable to be honest, when i sit there with my PC and my wife next to me with her Mac Book and regularly here "Oh no I have the wheel of death" or "bugger, Safari just shut down on me.". And why is Mac OSX percieved to be sooooo secure? Because all the hackers out there know to play the odds and figure writting virus for 90% of the market share is more in their interest than the 10% of the others. if OSX ups it's market share just watch the number of vulnerabilities climb.

            And on another but related subject I used to hear the same lame arguments from Lotus Notes developers years ago about how great it was compared to Exchange. And hey you know what, as soon as I dabbled in Notes development, Notes had all the same issues and more that all these self righteous Notes developers where banging on about.

            So please, don't give me the Apple/Googles of this world are perfect and Microsoft is evil stuff because they are all playing the same tactics and are just pissed that they didn't get it right in the first place.

            Keep up it Apple with your little sanctimonious "Hi I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" ads cause if and when you get marketshare they are going to come back and bite you in the butt BIG TIME!...but they are bloody good Ads :-)
          • Actually...

            "Keep up it Apple with your little sanctimonious "Hi I'm a Mac, and I'm a PC" ads cause if and when you get marketshare they are going to come back and bite you in the butt BIG TIME!...but they are bloody good Ads"

            Gawd I love those things!

            Apple (and Linux)are preceived as being more secure since they have a smaller market share, writters of crapware, spyware, viruses don't bother wasting their time when Microsoft has the Lions share of OS and software market. Hey bragging rights and frankly it's allot more fun to take down the big bully rather than the skinny little guy in the corner! If Linux or Apple were on top you would see them in the same boat Microsoft is.
          • Ok, here is the thing...

            First of all,I'm a big time fan of Apple and their products. Right now I don't own a Mac because I don't have the money to buy one. At the same time, I am a big time Microsoft user, but I'm not a loyalist for either software company.

            So you think Microsoft is monopoly. Well, in the past it was too powerful and too dominant to the extent of eliminating competition using bad practices. Today is not as powerful and there are many governments not only in the US that are checking to see Microsoft if falls in the same business crap of crushing competitors.

            For those who think that a Mac is more secure than Windows are losing completely the right perspective. Windows OS market share at this moment 90.55. TAKE that in a world of more than 1 billion computers sold worldwide. It means that more than 900,000,000 millions came with a Windows OS installed on it. So yes, hackers will attack more Windows PCs because on those Windows machines takes place the majority of transactions on Internet with credit cards, instant massaging and Web browsing. I will also add that what makes Windows less secure is that it's a closed source code business, and there are less people than Linux studying the recipe looking for some bug or flaw in the system.

            Mac OS X is another story. It has a %6 market, and that makes it more secure. I really don`t think that mac is inherently more secure than Windows, it's just that there's far less people using it. Last year in Defcon investigators prove how a Macbook can be attacked targeting the wireless drives. If hackers put the same consideration into Apple it would be another story.
      • It's not illegal to be a monopoly

        Just if you are deemed a monopoly you must play by different rules.

        I'm with the other poster. Why not let users choose in stead of propping up the monopoly by forcing Microsoft do the thing that will keep them in a Monopoly status.

        If Google desktop search is better and it works on Mac or Linux then people can choose Mac or Linux. There has to be a reason to switch and forcing one company by law to remove a reason to switch is not right in my opinion. Google search is just one product but what of all the others? If suddenly 20 little apps are better in Linux or Mac then people will go there. If Google finds it easier to go to court to get their product in Microsoft's OS then we all lose.
        • It is illegal to be a MONOPOLY in the US . <NT>

          • No it isn't......

            There are regulated monopolies all over the place. Your local phones, your electricity, your water, are all run by local monopolies.

            You need a good course on economics 101.
            linux for me
          • So let's regulate MS as a monopoly!!

            Hurray! Wouldn't Bill G. love that one!
          • BINGO...well put (NT)

          • No it isn't......

            Hey you forgot cable!

            But your correct in a way. You could always move to a different area. But all of the ones you mentioned give you NO choice. You live in their service area your stuck, screwed etc...
          • No, it's not

            It's illegal to abuse your monopoly position, but it's not illegal to be a monopoly. The real question here is, is having desktop search in the OS an abuse of monopoly position? Is desktop search a legitimate feature of an OS?

            Carl Rapson