Microsoft agrees to alter Vista search; Google wants more

“Google issued this statement [yesterday] from its chief legal officer, David Drummond, after Microsoft and antitrust regulators announced an agreement to make changes to Windows Vista in response to Google’s concerns about the Microsoft operating system’s built-in desktop search tool,” Todd Bishop reports for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Microsoft’s current approach to Vista desktop search clearly violates the consent decree and limits consumer choice. We are pleased that as a result of Google’s request that the consent decree be enforced, the Department of Justice and state Attorneys General have required Microsoft to make changes to Vista. These remedies are a step in the right direction, but they should be improved further to give consumers greater access to alternate desktop search providers.

Bishop reports, “Asked for more details about what the company would like to see, a Google spokesman said Microsoft should give users a choice of desktop search engines from all search access points on the desktop, and make it easier to disable Windows Vista’s desktop search index.”

Full article here.


  1. MS Vista strategy:
    1) Make changes for the sake of making changes with no thought of usability and call them “all new features.”
    2) Kludge the OS with boggy eye candy so only a gaming machine will be able to run it.
    3) Force PC manufacturers to abandon XP
    4) Force consumers to upgrade when they buy a PC.
    5) Destroy the user experience (What there was) and call it new security features. (i.e. UAC)
    6) Cripple different features and don’t allow any version to have all the features. Then put a high price tag on the real useful features (i.e. networking).

  2. See there! Hum! They going to “alter vista search”… It took them 5 years to make a soso-lala OS work approximatly. Now i wonder what a mess it will do if they go back in there and start “changing things”… I’m affraid windoze users have yet a weird bunch of weird days to go through!

  3. Wait… I don’t understand how Vista’s desktop search is substantially different from Spotlight. I get that MS is under all sorts of scrutiny from the Feds around antitrust issues, but (particularly with rising market share) won’t Apple be similarly open to this type of decision as it relates to Spotlight?

  4. Yeah, and Google should allow me to disable Gmail and use Hotmail instead from the Google homepage if I want that.

    And Apple should allow me to watch WMV on my iPod.

    Please, this is ridiculous!

    Give those guys at Microsoft a fair chance to leverage their monopoly like everybody else does.

  5. Vista’s search IS similar to Spotlight (from a legal standpoint). Apple would only be vulnerable, however, if it get’s caught with monpolistic practices that hurt consumers. That history is why M$ is being prevented from doing things that are otherwise perfectly legal. Still, I frankly don’t think the feds (or states) can do anything useful in this area–we would all be better off if they just stayed out.

  6. “but (particularly with rising market share) won’t Apple be similarly open to this type of decision as it relates to Spotlight?”

    No, because even if Apple got 51% market share there really is an alternative in the market, albeit a crappy one plus Apple isn’t locking out competitors. Besides, Spotlight really isn’t an internet search.

    I’d love nothing more for Apple to get 51% market share.

  7. I dislike Windows operating systems just as much as the next guy, but isn’t this being a bit unfair? Why should a product like Vista not be allowed to have its own “closed” system of anything (like desktop search)? Isn’t it like saying the iPod should be forced to play wmp files, and so on?

    Consumer dollars should dictate which features should be in the OS, not the government. If Google and MS made their own deal, fine; but the gov’t should not be doing this I think. If people don’t like being limited to Vista-only search, then they should buy a different OS or use a 3rd party solution.

    Like CaveDoggy said, it’s just like Spotlight too. Isn’t it?

    MDN: Standard; as in, we should all be held to the same standard

  8. “I get that MS is under all sorts of scrutiny from the Feds around antitrust issues, but (particularly with rising market share) won’t Apple be similarly open to this type of decision as it relates to Spotlight?”

    Uh, no, as Apple has not been found guilty in the U.S. of illegal antitrust issues.

  9. Apparently if you have M$ desktop search and Google search running at the same time, then they both perform slowly.

    The result is the user is likely to switch off Google search rather than the M$ one. Not too sure if you can switch of Ms one yet.

    I don’t think Spotlight slows down the system if you’re also using Google search.

    It’s just the same as when you open an MS App and a non-MS app at the same time. The MS app will generally open fast because it probably is able to get priority for CPU time.

    A subtle way to make your wares look fast and competitors look slow.

  10. The important thing about anti-trust cases is that it isn’t so much what you do, it’s what you do with a dominant market share, whatever the product.

    If Apple had done what M$ was nailed for a few years ago over its browser war with Netscape, there wouldn’t have been any reaction from the Justice Department.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.