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Google Desktop and Windows Vista search and sidebar share many of the same features
Justice Department official dismisses Google's claims that Windows Vista is anticompetitive

It was during the Clinton administration when Microsoft faced the Department of Justice’s heavy scrutiny of antitrust laws, but now, in a twist of events, the U.S. government appears to be defending Microsoft from such antitrust allegations.

According to The New York Times, Google filed complaints with federal and state prosecutors claiming that the indexing program built into Windows Vista operating system impedes the operation of Google Desktop. Users trying to run both Windows Vista indexing and Google Desktop are frustrated because the operation of both considerably slows the operating system, claims Google.

In its complaint, Google points to Microsoft’s antitrust settlement in 2002, “which prohibits Microsoft from designing operating systems that limit the choices of consumers.” Google also “asked the court overseeing the antitrust decree to order Microsoft to redesign Vista to enable users to turn off its built-in desktop search program so that competing programs could function better.”

In stark contrast to the DOJ’s attitude to Microsoft’s previous case, high-ranking Justice Department antitrust official Thomas O. Barnett urged state prosecutors to reject Google’s claims. Barnett was previously a partner at Covington & Burling, the law firm that represented Microsoft in the antitrust case and continues to represent the company.

Barnett, however, was cleared by ethics lawyers to handle Microsoft-related cases as he was never involved with Microsoft during his time at Covington & Burling. According to the paper, Barnett sent a memo to state attorney generals dismissing Google’s claims. State prosecutors disagreed with the DOJ’s letter and said that they intend to investigate the claims with or without the federal government.

In a recent interview, Barnett declined to comment on the Google complaint, but did offer several comments on the requests for the U.S. government to monitor Microsoft’s actions. “The purpose of the consent decree was to prevent and prohibit Microsoft from certain exclusionary behavior that was anticompetitive in nature,” he said. “It was not designed to pick who would win or determine who would have what market share.”

“We want to prevent Microsoft from doing those things that exclude competitors,” Barnett added. “We also don’t want to disrupt the market in a way that will be harmful to consumers. What does that mean? We’ve never tried to prevent any company, including Microsoft, from innovating and improving its products in a way that will be a benefit to consumers.”

Microsoft says that it is unaware of the defensive measures that the DOJ has taken in its place, saying it does not know of any such memo from Barnett. Furthermore, Microsoft also claims that it was already made changes to Windows Vista in response to complaints by Google, and that the built-in indexing software can be disabled.

Although Microsoft may be unaware of the memo, state prosecutors are confirming its existence. Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal said, “Eyebrows were raised by this letter in our group, as much by the substance and tone as by the past relationship the author had had with Microsoft ... In concept, if not directly word for word, it is the Microsoft-Netscape situation. The question is whether we’re seeing déjà vu all over again.”

The Times points out that the difference in the Justice Department’s view on Microsoft’s practices may be related directly to the shift from the Clinton to Bush administration. Microsoft also did its part by spending more than $55 million on lobbying activities and adding more legal help, which the paper says made the software company a more effective lobbying organization.

“With the change in administrations there has been a sharp falling away from the concerns about how Microsoft and other large companies use their market power,” said Harry First, a professor at the New York University School of Law and the former top antitrust lawyer for New York State who is writing a book about the Microsoft case. “The administration has been very conservative and far less concerned about single-firm dominant behavior than previous administrations.”



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Google Too
By dever on 6/11/2007 1:22:45 PM , Rating: 5
Maybe Google's desktop is "anti-competative" because when I install it on an XP machine, I invariably have several other applications that won't work. It must be a conspiracy.




RE: Google Too
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 6/11/2007 1:30:38 PM , Rating: 4
Sounds more like Mcafee and Symantec crying that Kernel lockout prevents their products from working effectively.

Google needs to stop crying and find a better way to index that wont conflict with Windows. Microsoft built the OS from the ground up, far be it for competitors to demand Microsoft add certain things to an OS that they spent $0 to develop, test, and deploy.


RE: Google Too
By Proteusza on 6/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: Google Too
By Flunk on 6/11/2007 1:50:36 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, you can disable it. Open the Services panel in the Administrative Tools section of the control panel (or Microsoft Management Console). Find the entry for "Windows Search Indexer" and set startup to "Disabled". This makes Windows fall back to the XP style searching system (no indexes).

Granted this is not super simple, but you can do it and it doesn't require registry hacking.


RE: Google Too
By oTAL on 6/11/2007 2:31:21 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Furthermore, Microsoft also claims that it was already made changes to Windows Vista in response to complaints by Google, and that the built-in indexing software can be disabled.


RE: Google Too
By zombiexl on 6/11/2007 1:52:05 PM , Rating: 3
You said:
quote:
Vista's indexing doesnt seem to be such a critical part of the OS. And in not allowing users to disable it, they dont give users a choice


The text above (if you read it) states:
quote:
Microsoft says that it is unaware of the defensive measures that the DOJ has taken in its place, saying it does not know of any such memo from Barnett. Furthermore, Microsoft also claims that it was already made changes to Windows Vista in response to complaints by Google, and that the built-in indexing software can be disabled


Without even reading the actual source you could have seen that. At least read the damn page before posting.


RE: Google Too
By Proteusza on 6/11/07, Rating: -1
RE: Google Too
By Motley on 6/11/2007 6:17:33 PM , Rating: 5
I would say that file searching is part of file management and belongs in the OS.


RE: Google Too
By thebrown13 on 6/11/2007 9:39:00 PM , Rating: 1
Google needs to shut the fuck up. Just because Microsoft's quality indexer completely eclipses the need for Google's piece of shit doesn't mean they get to complain to the government.

Quit being a whiny fucking baby about Microsoft adding free fucking features to the most used OS on the planet. Thanks for your fucking consideration for the average consumer, dipshits.

People like this make me have to buy anti-virus instead of having it built into the OS. Fuckwads.


RE: Google Too
By Behlal on 6/12/2007 1:54:46 AM , Rating: 2
While I might not have put it quite the way you did, I have to agree with you. Companies should not be anti-competetive, but rulings like the ones made in Europe that force the removal of windows media player are wrong IMHO. The user can choose a different one (I do), but has that to fall back on. The argument that the user is too clueless or lazy to do that is a bad argument, because it just shows that companies aren't advertising themselves well enough. The idea that a user is too clueless to change a component seems to also indicate that they are unlikely to make a good or reasoned choice if there isn't a default.


RE: Google Too
By Spivonious on 6/12/2007 11:25:54 AM , Rating: 3
I think the reasoning behind the media player case is that the user says "oh, this player is good enough" and never bothers looking for alternatives. Should the government have stepped in and said "no you can't include a media player"? No, but I can at least see the reasoning behind it.

A file search feature has always been a part of Windows. Just because they changed how it worked doesn't mean they're trying to shut Google out. This case is ridiculous.


RE: Google Too
By soydios on 6/11/2007 2:09:45 PM , Rating: 3
Google Desktop is working fine on my machine...I don't see what all the fuss is about. This seems like a pretty frivolous lawsuit.


RE: Google Too
By MobileZone on 6/13/2007 10:55:59 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that's what Google wants: their "desktop" running fine on everyone's machine.

I've been a Big-G user for years and years and I can say that I was some kind of heavy-user, doing around 100 searches per day or so. Also using U-Tube a lot and some other services.

From now on, I use anything BUT Google. I can use Ask, Yahoo, Altavista, Live, any service, but all Google cookies are definitely banned in my computer and close ones as well.

I'm not sure how much their "Don't be evil" motto is true or not.


Anti-trust my arse.
By therealnickdanger on 6/11/2007 2:03:18 PM , Rating: 3
Sheesh, just let them make the product how they want and let the consumers make the choice.

"Oh, shame on Microsoft for wanting to build a complete, secure, and robust operating system loaded with bells and whistles!"

Sorry for the rant, but this is one of my pet peeves.




RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By redbone75 on 6/12/2007 4:20:02 AM , Rating: 3
As one poster already stated it's all about who has the bigger market share. You don't see anyone going after Apple and its free iLife suite (or whatever it's called), do you? Nope, no crying foul there. No matter how big the company, they just want to ride the coattails of MS's success.

"No, wait Microsoft! You can't include that feature in your OS for free and make it more appealing so consumers think it's worth buying or upgrading. We want to be able to charge people for it so we can buy jets, too!"

Seems to always be the case, imo.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Olaf van der Spek on 6/12/2007 7:49:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, wait Microsoft! You can't include that feature in your OS for free


What do you mean by free? Are you saying the developers of those features don't get paid? If they do, where does that money come from?
Consumers? Then how can you claim it's free?

I'm using Firefox, I'm not using Windows Live Messenger and Internet Explorer. Why do I still have to pay for their development?


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By theprodigalrebel on 6/12/2007 10:27:07 AM , Rating: 3
It's the year 2007. When I install an OS, I expect a certain amount of out-of-the-box functionality.

Suggesting MS scrap developing IE/Mail/Live Messenger/Media Player/Movie Maker/DirectX etc. because you have replacement apps such as Firefox/Thunderbird/Trillian/MPC+ffdshow/OpenGL etc. doesn't make much sense.

An OS is expected to offer its users close to complete functionality at least for basic-to-intermediate users. I don't use IE/WLM myself but I wouldn't want a barebone OS that demands you go hunting for all the little apps and tools you need just to play a media file or access your e-mail. You can buy an OEM copy of Vista Home Premium today for $120 and MS only asks for that money once every few years. It's really not that big a deal.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Olaf van der Spek on 6/12/2007 11:04:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Suggesting MS scrap developing IE/Mail/Live Messenger/Media Player/Movie Maker/DirectX etc. because you have replacement apps such as Firefox/Thunderbird/Trillian/MPC+ffdshow/OpenGL etc. doesn't make much sense.

I'm not suggesting they scrap them. Offering a significantly cheaper version without them would be fine.

quote:
An OS is expected to offer its users close to complete functionality at least for basic-to-intermediate users.


Is it? I think there'd be tons of users that'd opt for a significantly cheaper version and use open source applications instead.

I know it's very hard to install software on Windows (no package mangement) :)
But that's no reason to include everything in the OS.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Spivonious on 6/12/2007 11:27:26 AM , Rating: 2
How would you get Firefox if you didn't have IE?


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Olaf van der Spek on 6/12/2007 12:11:34 PM , Rating: 3
Like you used to get IE, from a CD for example. :)


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Spivonious on 6/15/2007 3:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when Netscape came in a box. That was at least 15 years ago. I for one am glad the OS comes with a default browser. Maybe it does increase the cost of the OS by a few cents, but it makes choosing a browser much easier if I don't have to peruse the store, check out the boxes, ask around, read magazines, and then buy one that I hate and can't return. :)


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By thebrown13 on 6/12/2007 11:47:59 AM , Rating: 2
Lol. Nobody actually wants a stripped OS. Sure they'll ask for it, but once they have it, they'll be like... where's X? See XP N.

File system is base functionality. Nuff said.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Olaf van der Spek on 6/12/2007 12:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
XP N costs the same as XP. Why would someone choose for less if it costs the same?


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Ravenlore on 6/13/2007 5:04:56 PM , Rating: 1
If all things (cars, houses, cloths...) were sold this way people would not stand for it. Options are just that. An OS should be stripted down with a CD of options to choose from. OR MS could just sell the strip down version for less and a full version for more and give people a CHOICE!!

THAT is ALL people are saying. XP should cost a lot less they have made their money back and some. But they still sell it for nealry full price. Vista brings little update to XP and a lot of it is extras wich should not be bundled in. BUT MS did not make its BILLIONS by treating their coustermers fairly. They made it becasue people were bent over, it's just sad that some people like to bend over.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By Clienthes on 6/14/2007 4:31:15 AM , Rating: 2
The do this to an extent with Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate. People whined and cried about too many versions.
If it was like a car and you picked which options you wanted when you bought it the chaos, confusion and bitching would be unimaginable.


RE: Anti-trust my arse.
By CrimsonFrost on 6/12/2007 4:13:05 PM , Rating: 3
Wanna hear something interesting? This morning before I left for work, Firefox crashed on my Vista machine, and get this... Vista actually had a few suggestions on how to fix it, and a link directly to Mozilla for the latest version of Firefox... How's that for them not letting the consumer choose?

Oh and as far as disabling the search feature included in Vista: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&sa=X&oi=spell&r...
And I even used google to search for it, I don't think this is beyond most users...


BSDOJ
By whickywhickyjim on 6/11/2007 2:29:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Barnett was previously a partner at Covington & Burling, the law firm that represented Microsoft in the antitrust case and continues to represent the company.


The DOJ is unfortunately not very credible at the moment. It will be interesting to see how this plays out under a new, and hopefully more credible administration's DOJ post 2008.




RE: BSDOJ
By frobizzle on 6/11/2007 3:46:23 PM , Rating: 2
Can we say conflict of interest, boys and girls? Just because...
quote:
Barnett, however, was cleared by ethics lawyers


Oh! Cleared by ethics lawyers? Is that not the most stunning example of a contradiction of terms ever made?


RE: BSDOJ
By Spivonious on 6/12/2007 11:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
ethics lawyers

military intelligence

any more words that, when combined, make no sense?


RE: BSDOJ
By bldckstark on 6/12/2007 12:14:10 PM , Rating: 1
Hay, whatch et. Eye wuz in mitilary ingetillance.


RE: BSDOJ
By frobizzle on 6/12/2007 2:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
They're called oxymorons...like jumbo shrimp or deafing silence, for example. Carlin did a skit on them years ago.


RE: BSDOJ
By Spivonious on 6/15/2007 3:44:39 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I know the term, I was alluding to a Megadeth song. :)


RE: BSDOJ
By The Conanza on 6/11/2007 3:46:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Barnett, however, was cleared by ethics lawyers to handle Microsoft-related cases as he was never involved with Microsoft during his time at Covington & Burling.


Sounds to me like someone thinks he's credible. I seriously doubt there's some ethics lawyer conspiracy to help Microsoft.


RE: BSDOJ
By ThisSpaceForRent on 6/12/2007 8:16:53 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think it's ethical to allow him to say anything, period. Maybe he didn't help defend Microsoft, but he did work for the same law firm. The possibility that he would make a biased statement is just too great here. To make an extreme point, if I said I was a good Nazi, and my team of German lawyers agreed with me, would you believe me?


RE: BSDOJ
By Clienthes on 6/14/2007 4:38:59 AM , Rating: 2
You made no point, you only demonstrated Godwin's law and your own ignorance.


Sheer hypocrisy
By Bonrock on 6/11/2007 2:39:40 PM , Rating: 5
Google makes a version of Google Desktop Search for the Mac too. Apple's Mac OS 10.4 has a built-in desktop search feature that's similar to the one in Windows Vista. Why isn't Google complaining about that? Oh right, because Google's CEO sits on Apple's board of directors.

This reminds me of when Adobe complained of antitrust last year because Microsoft wanted to include PDF creation functionality in Office 2007, but for some reason didn't mind that Apple and OpenOffice.org include the same functionality in their products.

This is complete and utter crap. Microsoft's competitors are just trying to exploit the legal system to make Microsoft fight them with one hand tied behind its back.




RE: Sheer hypocrisy
By Vertigo101 on 6/11/2007 2:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Google makes a version of Google Desktop Search for the Mac too. Apple's Mac OS 10.4 has a built-in desktop search feature that's similar to the one in Windows Vista. Why isn't Google complaining about that? Oh right, because Google's CEO sits on Apple's board of directors.


Actually, I'd say that Google doesn't care about Apple's features because it's only ~4% of the market. This is the same reason Ad-ware companies don't target OS X: It's not worth the effort.
http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=...


RE: Sheer hypocrisy
By Darkskypoet on 6/12/2007 9:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
Not 100% certain on this... But considering the basic framework of OS X, I bet that running a second well written journaling / Search app for use with that file system would not be nearly as system resource intensive as what is done with Vista. The complaint was speed of operation as well as other issues. This means resource utilization for running two is quite high. In the Mac case, has anyone bothered to check if Google Desktop can simply access the already existing journals of the OSX file system? If so, then running two separate journaling tools is not required, thus there is very little performance degradation caused by running Google Desktop on OSX. Chances are however, MS doesn't allow this for its reasons, or has implemented certain things that cause more work to be done in vista for Google Desktop, then what is required. this would cause high resource utilization to run in effect two journaling tools for the File System.

Having a file system handle journaling duties is fine for an OS, in fact if done properly should be a proper part of a good file system... However, I still want to choose the GUI I use to interact with this aspect of the file system without hindrance from Bill.

Also, this idea that Microsoft gives us these tools out of the goodness of their hearts, simply to give us a much better experience cause they care is nonsense.

The business model for Windows computing is:

Make Windows dominant, sell Microsoft Office. Windows itself takes quite a while to make a profit, Vista won't for years. Office makes MS money, other apps for Windows makes MS money. Windows is like a console people, R and D at a loss, written at a loss, to support the plethora of other apps to make the profit. Over time, much like a console, it starts to break even, then maybe make a profit. But make no mistake, Windows is the vehicle for the sales of Office, Server seat/user licenses, etc.

Whether that in itself is overly monopolistic for prevailing notions of Anti-trust laws will be argued on forums forever, but Windows is a vehicle to sell other software. Been that way forever. Thats why full blown Office Pro costs so much, and windows (many times more complex, and expensive to code) is so cheap.


RE: Sheer hypocrisy
By FITCamaro on 6/11/2007 4:31:48 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah that BS with Office 2007 was crap. I, as Microsoft, would have sued Adobe for limiting consumers choice.


See it for what it is
By Griswold on 6/11/2007 1:39:10 PM , Rating: 2
Its probably a mere cheap shot at MS as payback for the doubleclick purchase complaint by MS (and others). Its so ridiculous, they cant seriously expect this to come to fruition.

Besides that, its beyond me why anyone would want to replace the built-in function of vista with a third party thing like google desktop.




RE: See it for what it is
By fic2 on 6/11/2007 7:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if it works like the crap search in XP then I can. I don't know if it still does, but it used to refuse to search inside .java files.

Also, it reports back to MS what was being searched for.

Give me grep any day.


RE: See it for what it is
By PitViper007 on 6/11/2007 11:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
And you don't think that what you search for in the Google Desktop is being sent back to Google? That's what Google's entire business model is based on, analyzing your searches (be they Google Search, Google Desktop, Google Earth, Google Apps, Google Maps, Gmail, etc.) to be able to target advertising at you. That's my major complaint against Google. But then, nothing is free in this world is it? You pay for all those "free" services and apps by "allowing" them to target ads at you based on what they feel you are most likely to buy.

PitViper


RE: See it for what it is
By Spivonious on 6/12/2007 11:33:55 AM , Rating: 2
The search in Vista is 1000x better than the XP search.

How would you search inside .java files? Those are all byte code. Perhaps you meant .jar files?


RE: See it for what it is
By glitchc on 6/12/2007 12:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to intrude, but .java files contain actual/readable code. It's the .class files that contain bytecode.


Damn NYTimes
By OddTSi on 6/11/2007 10:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
Surprising that the NY Times would write an anti-capitalist article. And I was about to say "what, no Bush-bashing?" until I got to the end of the article. Glad to see they didn't forget to include that. If only they could've found a way to blame MS (and Bush) for global warming it would've been the typical cookie-cutter NYT article.

Why is there no mention of the fact that MS worked with the DOJ (as well as the EU for that matter) while designing Vista to make sure that it didn't violate any antitrust laws. I would think that since the DOJ signed off on it before it was released they would have to stand by their word afterwards (which is what they're doing here).




RE: Damn NYTimes
By thebrown13 on 6/11/07, Rating: 0
RE: Damn NYTimes
By Benhad on 6/12/07, Rating: -1
RE: Damn NYTimes
By thebrown13 on 6/12/2007 2:05:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'd post intelligent counter-arguments to your claims, but then you'll just post the same BS somewhere else.


RE: Damn NYTimes
By Spivonious on 6/12/2007 11:36:52 AM , Rating: 2
And you know, patching every week is a bad thing. I'm sure you're still running your Linux 1.0 kernel too.


Choices
By SmokeRngs on 6/12/2007 12:01:32 PM , Rating: 3
I don't really care what MS decides to include in the OS (except for the development costs which get passed onto me) as long as I am allowed an easy way to disable, uninstall or choose not to install something in the OS.

MS took away the ability to truly customize the installation of the OS long ago. This is something which has annoyed me greatly each time a new OS has come out. Each one allows fewer and fewer choices concerning the software which is installed during the OS installation. There was a time when installing IE, Outlook and many other things were optional.

I haven't used Windows Media Player since version 7, never used Movie Maker, never used Outlook for my personal use (required to use it at work), I have my own software firewall I use and many other things. There should be the ability to have easy access to uninstall all Microsoft software installed on the OS.

There should also be a way to easily disable any "feature" of the OS that is not required for everyday operation. The indexing feature of the OS is not required for basic operation. Some people may find they cannot "live without it" but it's still not a required function. Especially since people have been living without it for years.

There are workarounds and "hidden" ways to remove parts of the OS or disable some features but there should be something a little easier to use.

I'm currently still running XP for my MS OS and I do use nLite to slipstream service packs and patches into the install disk as well as remove a lot of the software I have no use for. There are many programs I never have and never will use on my personal system and I see no sense in installing this software when the OS installs just so I can uninstall it at a later time or let it take up space on my installation partition. I shouldn't need to make my own installation disk to stop some software from being installed.

I've used MS OSes over the majority of my last 14 or so years of PC ownership. I've seen some good things and some bad things come from MS in that time period. I'm not on a rant about MS as a company. I don't even want MS to remove anything from the OS as it currently stands. I just want my choices back as to what is installed and what is and is not running.

I don't know if Google should have had a case or not under antitrust or anticompetitive laws and don't really care in this case. If MS would allow what I have described here, it never would have been a problem in the first place.

If someone prefers to use Google's indexer instead of the built in Windows indexer, I don't see a problem with that. To me it just means that MS should probably work on their indexer and apps a little more to find a way to convince the person to switch to MS from Google's indexer.

There is little I can do about having to pay for development costs of software I will not use in a case like a Microsoft OS. I would prefer to see something like the core OS functions with a much cheaper price along with something like the old Plus Pack for the extra software MS likes to bundle with the OS. I know it's not going to happen, but I can wish.




RE: Choices
By JB1592 on 6/13/2007 5:33:11 PM , Rating: 2
Agree whole heartedly.


Pot calling the Kettle black
By FXi on 6/12/2007 12:34:51 PM , Rating: 4
Hard to believe given their history, that Google would dare to accuse any other company of what it clearly does itself...




I Like Google!
By MobileZone on 6/11/2007 4:29:42 PM , Rating: 2
With it's cookie blocked!




No case
By Final8ty on 6/13/2007 4:32:28 AM , Rating: 2
Most 3rd party firewalls suggest that you turn off the one built into windows and will then do it for you or guild you through on how to do it with no complaints.
There is no reason why Google Desktop cant do the same with the built in Indexer.




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