Microsoft to alter Vista to address Google complaint?

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


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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  • All they need to do is put in a formal way to disable
    As I said in this blog, all Google needs to do now is disable the Windows Search service when installing Google Desktop Search. You don't ever want both running at the same time, it's either one or the other. But to appease the Feds and Google, Microsoft merely needs to provide a formal way to disable desktop search with a simple checkmark or something so that it's more explicit and exposed to the user.

    Microsoft pretty much got what they wanted by having the search bar in IE already default to Live Search and having the default desktop search program. Letting people turn it off isn't a big deal since most people leave the defaults.
    • George this is no big deal right .

      Do you remember last year when McAfee and Symantec were complaining that they were unable to get their products to work properly with Vista . Seems as Microsoft had no choice but to comply . Microsoft , the world is watching , and they are watching you under a powerful electron microscope .
  • Google is blacklisted in my router.

    Me and my parents will no longer trust Google for web/desktop searches.
    Grayson Peddie
    • And so you shouldn't!

      People with no critical facility should always protect themselves against being inundated with unfiltered free thought.
  • RE: Microsoft to alter Vista to address Google complaint?

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