Google Still Going After Microsoft In The Courts

from the git-'em dept

It looks like the legal tiff between Google and Microsoft is set to hang around for awhile. At issue is Google's claim that Vista's design prevents its own desktop search software from effectively functioning. In response to the allegation, Microsoft rushed out a fix, which seemed to put the issue to rest. But Google is apparently unsatisfied, and has asked the government to maintain regulatory oversight of Microsoft, per the company's antitrust settlement in 2002. Such oversight had been set to be lifted in November of this year. Without knowing the technical aspects of the issue, it's difficult to say which side is in the right on this one. But from Google's standpoint, there's no downside in keeping the heat on on its rival. So unless there's some overriding reason why Google wouldn't want to needle Microsoft, it's safe to assume that the government (and the taxpayers) will continue to be used as a weapon of competition. Of course, Google still needs to be careful about what it wishes for, since one day it could be haunted by any expansion of antitrust laws.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Steve Bargelt, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 10:53am

    Dell, Vista and Google

    Google is just plain acting like a baby in this case.

    New Dell computers now come with Google as the standard search engine. The Vista sidebar is disabled and Goog's desktop search and sidebar are in it's place. So how does Vista cripple the Google search?

    It took me 10 minutes to get rid of all that Google crap. Should I start a class-action against Dell and Google? I mean I think I aggravated my carpal nerves with all the clicks it took to get back to a default Vista install.

    Stop whining, GOOG. You are winning the battle... stop being a sore winner.

     

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  2.  
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    Shawn, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:14am

    Tech Dirt on MySpace News

    Wow you guys are on MySpace News. Cool!

    http://news.myspace.com/technology/internettech/

     

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  3.  
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    Sanguine Dream, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:18am

    Goodness...

    About a month ago Microsft was claiming that various companies were violating almost 200 of its...but did not identify which patents were being violated.

    The RIAA routinely tries to sue people for copyright infringment...when lots of times they can't even prove who the offending party is.

    The MPAA on an almost weekly basis trots out a new statistic about movie piracy...yet those numbers are next to impossible to prove or backup and some are even flat out wrong.

    And now we have Google saying that Microsoft is "engineering Vista so that it makes Google's search engine and desktop products difficult to use." What exactly is Miscrosft doing in order to create this effect?

    Sounds to me like Google is trying to do to Microsoft the same thing Microsoft has done to competitors, get the upper hand in the market then use any tactics (regardless of legality or morality) to crush the competition.

     

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  4.  
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    Overcast, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:36am

    Yeah, that's it - get the Government to do their dirty work for them.

    Sheesh

     

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  5.  
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    mc, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:44am

    What really gets annoying is people were bitching about msn was on everything and microsoft search engine, and now people bitching about google is being cry baby.. people make up you damn mine wtf do you want.

     

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  6.  
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    Flamsmark (profile), Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:56am

    Making Sense

    The allegation is a lot more logical than the posts here suggest.

    Almost every piece of software on a computer can be replaced. You can swap Internet Explorer for Firefox, and Windows Media Player for iTunes. Google's gripe is that you *can't* swap Windows Live Desktop Search for Google Desktop.

    Both pieces of software work in the background, indexing all your files, and possibly also listening for system calls telling them that there have been file updates. Running both at the same time means using twice the idle processor and hard drive resources (assuming that both applications are equally efficient). Microsoft wouldn't let users turn off Live Search indexing and opt only to use Google's indexing. That's like saying that whatever webpages you open in Firefox must also be opened in Internet Explorer.

    Furthermore, Microsoft won't allow the replacement of the search boxes littered about the operating system. The search boxes that automatically appear in Windows Explorer (for instance) *only* point to Microsoft's search package: they can't be replaced with Google's package.

    Google wans 'search' software on Vista to be just as interchangable as web browsers, media players, Java platforms, and word processors. So far, Microsoft has only made nominal changes, and it's understandable that Google's not happy with this.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:08pm

    It looks, to me, that Google needs to mass produce and distribute their own OS. Hell I'd probably use it istead of MS but they should really quit whining and write their software to run on the OS it's designed to run on and quit trying to force MS to do all of their work for them.

     

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  8.  
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    Eric, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:14pm

    GOOGLE IS A FAG

    Wtf .. google wants us to use more of our tax dollars to oversee another corp. ?/????????

     

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  9.  
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    TheDock22, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Making Sense

    Mac has the same functionality in OS X (the spotlight) for an indexed search utility built into every window of the OS. You can not disable it or easily substitute Google Desktop instead.

    Google does not seem to be going after Apple though. If they win this lawsuit, do you think they will? I'm not sure; I can understand not wanting your product to be crowded out by the OS, but if the functionality is part of the basic design. How can Google expect Microsoft to change that?

     

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  10.  
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    FUG Buster, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:39pm

    I want alternative Searches on my Google

    Dear Us Attorney General,
    Google has such a stronghold on the market that they make rules for sites carrying their ads. The #1 retailer is now shipping Google installed on their PCs.

    Please investigate them for anti-competative practices. I would like results from Microsoft and ASK.com included on my Google search results pages that are now part of Dell machines etc. I as the consumer need YOU the GOVERMENT to protect me from Google...

    It is unfair for a company to have that much power..please act now I am being harmed.

     

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  11.  
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    Block Google, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:42pm

    Time to Block Google

    http://underscorebleach.net/jotsheet/2004/09/block-google-text-ads

    This will block the google ads and cost them money.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    DML, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:14pm

    Sorry, but Google in the wrong here...

    Using government force to help you compete is wrong (I don't care if MS really *IS* breaking their functionality).

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:21pm

    I say it should be up to Microsoft what Windows does and does not do. So what if Google isn't happy. We keep talking about markets changing and companies having to adapt. I for one am a huge fan of Google, but lately I've been getting a little wary of their tactics and software. I had to uninstall google desktop because anytime something took up the full screen, the sidebar popped up and I couldn't get rid of it easily.

    It saddens me to say it, but I think Google is slipping...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    UniBoy, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:48pm

    Antitrust Laws

    Using a monopoly position (in this case, the Microsoft monopoly over PC OS's) as leverage to compete unfairly in other markets (in this case, Internet search) is a violation of what Antitrust Laws are designed to prevent. Without these laws, monopolies would become all powerful and would be highly effective at stifling their competition across a broad range of markets. Fair competition within a relatively level playing field is the only way to acheive progress and innovation.

    So, if the Google lawyers can prove the merits of their complaint, then Microsoft ought to be forced to comply with the laws.

    If you do not think Antitrust Laws serve any useful purpose and should not exist, then that is a matter for the legislators and not the courts. But good luck convincing lawmakers of that.

     

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  15.  
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    Armrha, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:14pm

    This isn't unethical. Google is just calling for the courts to look at the agreement and continue it rather than discontinue. The court will have to look at it and determine if it should continue the antitrust punishment.

    This is one of the functions of competitors -- Keeping the competitive model fair. People at Microsoft have no incentive to pursue their own antitrust case, so why not a competitor?

     

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  16.  
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    Koala MeatPie, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 3:58pm

    I Got 2 to 1 that Google Buys out Microsoft within the next Decade.

    Any takers?

     

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  17.  
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    reed, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Re: Making Sense

    "I'm not sure; I can understand not wanting your product to be crowded out by the OS, but if the functionality is part of the basic design. How can Google expect Microsoft to change that?"

    When do you draw the line? When people are making good products and then you include that product concept at no charge in your OS then your cutting them out of the picture. Instead of trying to do everything (and rather poorly at that) why not just invite these companies to develop modules for Vista?

    Vista should have been the friendly modular system the world was waiting for. It should of been able to run on very slow to very high end hardware and be 100% backwards compatible. It should have been welcomed with open arms as superior in almost all respects and priced so anyone in the world could afford it.

    This is not what Vista is though. Instead it is a bloated behemoth that pretends to be more secure and more productive. It is really sad when a "hobbyist" operating system like Ubuntu can match and exceed Vista in so many respects.

     

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  18.  
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    buckykat, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 11:09pm

    google is the only one with the resources to sue m

    anybody else would just get bogged down in legal fees and give up but google can do it. they have an obligation to nail microsoft outlined in "don't be evil" which i take to mean prevent evil where possible. go google!

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    TheDock22, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Making Sense

    When do you draw the line? When people are making good products and then you include that product concept at no charge in your OS then your cutting them out of the picture.

    Google Desktop is not a good product. It's an annoying social virus making people think it works better than it actually does. But, again nobody is complaining that Mac offers the exact same functionality of Google Desktop search, does not easily allow Google Desktop to replace their search functionality and no one is complaining about it. I find that odd.

    Vista should have been the friendly modular system the world was waiting for. It should of been able to run on very slow to very high end hardware and be 100% backwards compatible. It should have been welcomed with open arms as superior in almost all respects and priced so anyone in the world could afford it.
    I completely agree with this. Vista is way too high priced and requires way to much for physical requirements. I see no advantage to upgrading to Vista right now. Windows XP was welcome (mostly to upgrade from that horrible Windows ME) and I have had little to no problems with it. Then again, Windows XP was bashed when it first came out and grew into the favorite OS of many computer users. Maybe Vista will as well, but for me I am wary.

    It is really sad when a "hobbyist" operating system like Ubuntu can match and exceed Vista in so many respects.

    The problem with Ubuntu and hobbyist systems is support. If I have a problem with XP it takes a phone call, not begging on some forum for people to help me out. And beside, people can claim Linux distributions are more secure, but they have never been tested against the best and brightest hackers. Windows XP has a wider distribution and more people, why would someone want to compromise the security of a system very few people use?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    Dissatisfied Vista user, Aug 1st, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    Vista's

    Seems the user is being ingonerd in the MS/Google bashing.

    I, as a user, should have choices. A philosophy that says "The computer should work for me. NOT I, it". In this case the "LIVE" junk may be helpful to some. But gets in the way of what I'm doing by "Doing" things for me that I don't want or need. The residual is it is collecting information (somewhere besides my computer) that is not relevant to me but the marketing arm(s) of those it is passed to.

    SO, Give the user the choice "TO TURN IT OFF"!

    Haven't seen or found where that can be accomplished.

    If LIVE search is so good.... Where is them instructions. LOL

     

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