Google Claims IE's Searchbar Is Uncompetitive

from the this-could-backfire dept

Although Google is trouncing Microsoft in the search wars, they’re using every option to go after their rival. The company has been talking to the Justice Department about the fact that Microsoft’s forthcoming IE7 will have a searchbox pointing to MSN. They claim that this move is similar to other actions by the company, which got them into trouble in the past. This argument seems flawed for several reasons. It’s very easy for the consumer to switch browsers, unlike operating systems. The rapid growth of Firefox proves that the company has no monopoly when it comes to browsers. Even within IE, it will be easy to add the Google toolbar or go to Google.com in the address bar. There’s also the fact that Google has signed deals with Firefox and Opera to be the anchor tenant of their searchbars. By getting into bed with the government in going after a distant rival, the company is probably making a strategic mistake. Like Netflix’s suit against Blockbuster, they may legitimize MSN search, to both consumers and analysts. More importantly, a company with the market position that Google has is bound to regret any move that expands the scope of antitrust case law. Would anyone be surprised if at some point the government investigates Google’s “bundling” of search and email? Google’s doing a great job competing with Microsoft; it’s hard to see what they have to gain by getting the government more involved in their battles.


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Comments on “Google Claims IE's Searchbar Is Uncompetitive”

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43 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Your wrong

Microsoft bundles Internet Explorer with their operating system, found by court to be a monopoly, and has the vast majority of browser market share, surely also a monopoly with around 75% penetration. They are now illegally tying their browser to their search engine.

Google has a strong case, although the Bush DOJ couldn’t give a rat’s ass about the law.

Posterlogo says:

Re: Your wrong

First of all, learn some english. It’s “You’re”, not “your”. Second, someone who doesn’t like Microshit or Microshit’s products should take their money elsewhere, not use them and then sue the makers. I have never thought bundling was “monopolizing.” Most people appreciated the added integration, ease, and value. I don’t. So I download my own damn favorite browser. More and more, people want the government or some other power to step in and tell them what to do for their own good. I’d rather decide for myself.

eXilius (user link) says:

Re: Your wrong

This is the first time I ever felt like posting.
You group people into arbitrary, limiting, and illusionary groups that can in no way be representative of the whole. Your *apparent* self identification with “non-bush” or “non-microsoft” is dependent upon the existence of these two negated entities in question. However, I fail to see any insight or out-sight gained from your post. So I ask, what is the use of your time and ours in such a non-responsive action?

Condition yourself more, perhaps….

Max Howell (user link) says:

Re: Good Products Don't Always Win

Hyrodogen Fuel Cells are better than petrol engines in terms of efficiency, pollution, cost to product, noise, etc. They’ve been around since 1950 yet they never replaced the petrol engine.

Sometimes things have too much momentum to be displaced. Here IE has too much momentum to not have a negative effect on Google if they don’t offer the user a choice on first run.

Seems to me the techdirt summary is missing some points.

PS I know Fuel Cells have other issues, like hydrogen storage, and production of storage, but some basic research 60 years ago could have addressed these problems a long time ago by now.

jdw242 says:

uh, who's wrong?

I suppose that’s why you posted your half-truths on this forum as anonymous?

Yes, IE is bundled; no they have never been called a monopoly by any court (submit proof if you have it); that market share is calculated based on usage, and most users don’t know how to upgrade to a real browser; once again, the only way MS could be a monopoly is if they had no competition for the PC market – last time I checked there were enough Linux distros to start a basketball team, and then some which constitutes competition; they have always set their products to point to their website. to do otherwise would be idiocy, and without the expierience of being the CEO of MS you cannot argue otherwise.

garfalk says:

i use firefox so i don’t really care. i use google every day, and i only use msn if i want something with information from encarta. which sucks. also msn’s front page is drowning in stuff that you don’t want to see. google’s is nice and clean, and their homepage service is better then my.msn.com for a variety of reasons. so i don’t see why google cares.

Bermuda221 says:

gOOGLE in firefox

I use the Firefox browser and you don’t hear MS bitching about google being the default search engine and homepage in it. Granted, they don’t have nearly the market share that M$ does. At the same time, they’re gaining popularity. The firefox list includes most everything except MS. at least by default, I know you can add some engines to it but not sure how many.

Dave says:

Case looks weak to me.

Based on its recent actions, Google clearly would like to become the “searching method” for every Firefox browser. Exactly how does that differ from what MS would like to do? I suppose somebody can find some technical minutiae or legal hair-splitting that would differentiate them, but the general principle is the same.

Google is not stupid; they must already know this, so I assume they have legal fine print supporting their case, but it really looks asinine from where I’m sitting.

I definitely favor Google over Microsoft, but it’s not without some mixed feelings. As Google has gained power, they have striven for less accountability, and deep down I think they’d love to be a monopoly themselves, just one that’s well-covered legally.

Russ (profile) says:

Re: Case looks weak to me.

Two major differences.

First, MS has been found a Monopoly which acknowledges that they have an unfair advantage in bundling features to their OS.

Second, Google pays for the placement in FF, MS won’t pay for placement in IE.

MS is relying on human nature, if it is good enough, then they won’t change. And this is all about the money, not better search.

It will be interesting to see how difficult it will be to change default search engines.

Matt says:

All of this talk about monopolies and bundling just drives me nuts. It’s the same case over and over again. Get a better product, and steal the customer base. If these cases start taking off I’m going to write a new calculator program and sue MS for putting me out of business. It’ll cost $99, and I’m going to sue them for $99x(number of windows sold), because as we all know, if MS hadn’t bundled it, I’m positive that they would have bought my software. It’s ridiculous, you don’t see Adobe screaming because of Paint, it’s the same deal.

More related to this article though, I think this is a huge mistake for Google. I love the Google search, I think it works great. GMail is awesome. But the biggest asset they have is their name. They’re Google, everyone wants google, google good, MS bad. This move puts them into this whole whiner category, it takes from there name; that’s never good.

Buzz (profile) says:

Re: RE: Matt's comments

I agree with Matt. I have the utmost respect for Google, but it does seem semi-childish to make this attack. I personally would be 100% okay with Google having a monopoly on everything. Provided they kept their simplicity and idealistic views the computing world would only improve. Microsoft has lots of money, but they have no wonderfully amazing ideas anymore. It seems like everything they put out nowadays is just another piece of spyware for them to keep tabs on their users. 🙁

Jon (user link) says:

The Average Idiot

There’s STILL the average computer user who just searches on whatever website comes up as their homepage. For years my family searched on Excite or whatever subpar search engine Comcast/ATT set our homepage to. Those are the people Google knows they’ll miss out on, not all of the people familiar with switching to Mozilla or installing the Google bar.

I agree with Techdirt that Google and MS both fight dirty, though. So if Google want’s the referees to call the game consistantly, then they can’t bitch when MS uses some of the same tactics that they do (ie. Google’s bundling of software and deals w/ Opera, Firefox)

Anonymous Coward says:

Boohoo Google. I just think this has got to be the stupidest lawsuit of all. This makes no sense to me, and if Google continues these stupid ass practices they are gonna start to lose people. People seem to forget that thanks to MS these people are able to make money. Otherwise they’d be under Linux fighting their way up the ladder. Once again go after the Giant cause he’s got lots of beans.

Max Howell (user link) says:

Re: Re:

> Thanks to MS these people are able to make money.

This kind of comment blindly assumes that without MS there wouldn’t be a computing industry. Which is kinda stupid an assumption. Without MS we’d have been a bit behind 10 years ago, but since then, the increased competition of an industry without a single vendor would have made the whole industry richer as a whole. All we owe MS is thanks for making the computing industry boring and stagnant for the last decade.

Lauren says:

MS has been ruled a monopoly

FYI: From the Findings of Fact at

http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm

34. Viewed together, three main facts indicate that Microsoft enjoys monopoly power. First, Microsoft’s share of the market for Intel-compatible PC operating systems is extremely large and stable. Second, Microsoft’s dominant market share is protected by a high barrier to

entry. Third, and largely as a result of that barrier, Microsoft’s customers lack a commercially viable alternative to Windows.

Alpharocker (user link) says:

Yahoo search tool in Firefox

WTF?!?! I didn’t install a Yahoo search tool in my firefox. Must have already been there when I installed Firefox. Meaning that I, therefore, have the option to use something other than Google. It just takes a click.

Options are already installed.

Unlike IE7.

“Otherwise they’d be under Linux fighting their way up the ladder. ”

Who would?

Google? Why?

“I just think this has got to be the stupidest lawsuit of all.”

Why? Alot of people bitch about lawsuits, and how ridiculous they are. Some of these people are forgetting that a lawsuit is the door through which a citizen (a corporation, or individual) accesses the legal process.

If someone thinks someone is doing something wrong, they press charges if the matter is criminal; or sue if the matter is not. This is how things were designed.

Topher3105 (profile) says:

Pot calling Kettle black

Look, MS deserves most of the crap they get because of their questionable business “ethics” in the past, but I tire of these double standards.

Guess what. Google is the default search engine for FireFox, Safari, Opera, and a slew of desktop and browser toolbars.

Is Microsoft crying over Google being the defactor search engine in all these cases?

No, instead, microsoft is promoting their Own search technology in their OWN browser for their Own OS. I mean, to put it to Google another way, if you HAD your own Browser and HAD your own OS, would you ensure that people could select MSN as their default search engine too? F*ck no! You would ensure that its Google tools and technology for every freaking search, mail, spell checker feature in that bastard OS.

Yes, Google does dominate the search engine arena, but that is ONLY because they are guilty of the same anti-competitive practices that Microsoft has done in the past. Firefox did not ask my which search engine I want to use, it Defaulted to Google, so too did Safari and Opera. Google is forming relationships with anybody that will sleep with them, and that is a very long list.

IE7 WILL allow you to select Google in a simply options panel, change it once, and forget about it JUST LIKE FIREFOX AND SAFARI AND OPERA, etc. Why does everybody bitch when its an MS feature but the SAME thing happens with every other OS and browser.

So, get over it, period! Most of you won’t even use IE7 when it comes out, you will stick with Firefox and stick with Google because that was the default search engine that Firefox set up.

Max Howell (user link) says:

Re: Pot calling Kettle black

> I tire of these double standards.

If you can’t see how it is an unfair business advantage for MS to promote their own products using their unfairly aquired market share then I despair for you.

In fact I’d still be on Google’s side here if MS had fairly aquired their browser market share. There has to be limits on what super-huge comanies can do so the smaller players can get in on the action. Yes Google is not a small player, but it is a specialist provider. MS want to have fingers in every pie, and such a homogeny of technology solutions will not benefit the IT industry or its consumers.

Yes I will be wanting google to stop being the default on Opera and Firefox (without an explicit dialog asking for choice) when their market share exceeds IE’s too.

WTF is with people? This is easy to think about, it’s a matter of everything in sensible moderation.

Murf says:

Gee, I had no problems...

I installled the IE 7 Beta 2 a few days ago. It automatically picked up the fact that I had set Google to be my default search engine in IE 6 and it retained the setting. The search box in IE 7 now works just fine with Google with no further configuration from me. Even if I hadn’t had Google already set up, it’s very easy to select additional search providers in IE 7 and change the default…and yes, Google is listed by Microsoft as one of the available web search providers.

PotKettleBlack says:

Google = IE autosearch hijackers = hypocrites

Google is undeniably hypocritical here given that the Google IE Toolbar *HIJACKS* IE autosearch (in the name of the Browse-By-Name “feature” which would more accurately called the “Autosearch Hijacking” feature). IE has an open mechanism for changing the autosearch provider, and Google *shuts down* this mechanism: the user can not change their autosearch provider once GTB is installed. Google is far more egregious in this care than MS has ever been.

rochette (user link) says:

Google's IE7 Browser Complaint

Google’s IE7 Browser Complaint

Find more providers…

The issue is a search box built into the new ie7 browser, which enables users to search without opening a search engine directly in the browser. The function is already available as a plug-in for existing browsers. For instance, the Google toolbar will modify Firefox browsers to enable Google to be accessed in a single click.Ability to change the search providers default setting could create another wars, with ie7 search providers working on partnerships with the Dells and HPs to convince them to ship machines with the search box set to their site. IE7 users can easily add or remove providers from http://ieproviders.com/ or http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/searchguide/default_new.mspx.

Whocares (profile) says:

Whatever

Come on you techie freaks…Who gives a rats shizass about this…if you like freakin google use it…if you like MS use that! Republican Democrat Ford Dodge Chevy…its all a matter of free choice…and if you cant figure out how to side step a few of the simple corporate land mines then you better stop using your computer, because your probably just spreading viruses and spyware.

People are so intense about the dumbest stuff sometmes!!!

John Billog says:

Use Logic, not quick Emotion

Russ said, “Google pays for the placement in FF, MS won’t pay for placement in IE.”

There is no logic whatsoever in that statement. Who will MS pay for the placement in IE? Of course, the proprietor of IE: Microsoft. The idea of Microsoft paying Microsoft is as ridiculous as you owing yourself money.

And to the person who said MS is trying to dip its fingers in everything technological? What about computer hardware hardware? Google is holding a double standard and doing the same: building a monopoly. I know that because I use Google’s search engine blindly because it is Firefox’s default, not because it is a superior product. Yahoo! and Windows Live Search are just as good as Google.

Those who bash Microsoft for everything it does without looking at logic need to wake up. It’s just like those conservatives who believe in the freedom to give what you want to whoever you want but then hypocritically yell (although, they are entitled to) at Bill Gates for relying on affirmative action (no, I don’t support affirmative action, but Gates should be allowed any form of discrimination he wants in giving to whoever he wants) to give away money in his charities (yes a bit off-topic, but an clear example of hypocrisy).

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