Microsoft and Google were able to reach a compromise over desktop search feature

The battle between Google and Microsoft rose to a new level after Google accused Microsoft of unfairly shutting companies out of Vista.  In a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice last December, Google claimed a Vista search feature violated Microsoft's anti-trust agreement with the U.S. government.  

The Vista feature is hard for users to disable and reportedly hinders the performance of Google's software with Microsoft's latest operating system, according to the complaint.  Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer recently described Google's complaint as "baseless."  

"We continue to comply with the consent decree we signed with the U.S. government in recognition to the findings around our position with windows," Ballmer said in response to the accusations.

Google's complaint occurred several days after Microsoft pressured regulators to investigate Google's acquisition of DoubleClick.

Even though the complaint was officially rejected by the U.S. Justice Department, several states were ready to support Google's position.  In the deal made with the DOJ and Google, Microsoft agrees to modify Vista so that third-party software is able to properly run on the operating system.  The change will be added to a Service Pack that will be available to users before the end of 2007.

The addition to the SP will allow users to choose a default desktop search provider, allowing the software to no longer be "slowed" by Microsoft.

"This agreement, while not perfect, is a positive step toward greater competition in the software industry," said Jerry Brown, California Attorney General.

While the companies were able to come to agreement, the case is not yet fully settled.  A judge next week will make an official ruling as to whether or not the deal between Microsoft and DOJ is fair to both parties.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke
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