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Google Wins This One: Microsoft To Allow Changes To Vista Search

Google’s complaint to the Justice Department regarding Windows Vista’s search feature has resulted in a victory for them as Microsoft capitulates. Microsoft, seeking to avoid any more antitrust litigation, announced it would be changing the way Vista search works in Vista’s first service pack, letting users and computer manufacturers choose desktop search providers, and if they chose one other than Microsoft’s, shut off Vista’s own search indexing.

Under the changes, if users choose a desktop search other than Vista’s, the Start Menu and system search features would be powered by that search program, not Microsoft’s. In addition, search fields within Windows Explorer would still be powered by Vista to search the current folder, but would include a button linking to the desktop search provider for wider and more advanced search.

Google Desktop does not currently use the Vista Start Menu, so it would either have to be programmed to display search results in the Start Menu, or typing in there would launch a web browser window in order to show search results. If Google does not go with the first example, most Vista users would argue that launching a browser is a degradation of the feature as it exists in the regular unaltered version of Vista.

In addition, Google pays PC makers to pre-install Google Desktop. Google most famously paid Dell a billion dollars to pre-install Google Desktop, which means all Dell users would get a version of Vista with different features than those advertised by Microsoft, and in some ways, less elegant implementations.

This is the price you pay for being evil in the 1990s. Microsoft is afraid of going through what happened with its earlier antitrust battles, which ultimately came thisclose to splitting up the company, that it cowers at the idea of future ones. There are the battles Microsoft doesn’t have the stomach to fight.

Luckily, most users will get Vista as intended, although many will be saddled with a very different experience, especially Dell customers. Still, PC makers have conditioned their users to be used to getting shafted with “craplets”, so they probably won’t notice the difference. If Google thinks this change is going to be enough to get Google Desktop to beat Windows Sidebar and Vista’s search, they haven’t been paying attention to their users.

June 21st, 2007 Posted by | Google, Law, Vista, Windows | 5 comments

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  1. microsoft won’t turn off vista’s indexing even if you install a third-party desktop search:

    Comment by nobody | June 22, 2007

  2. The post is incorrect. Microsoft has not agreed to turn off Vista’s built-in indexing if a third-party desktop search is installed:

    Comment by Human Being | June 22, 2007

  3. The post is incorrect. Microsoft has not agreed to turn off Vista’s built-in indexing if a third-party desktop search is installed.

    Go to arstechnica dot com, search for “vista search”, and read the article “Google says Vista search changes not enough.”

    Comment by Human Being | June 22, 2007

  4. Did you read the entire post? The second paragraph makes clear exactly what happens. Microsoft does shut off Vista’s search, except in one very limited case, and I explain all of that.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | June 24, 2007

  5. [...] is talking about Microsoft’s giving in to Google’s plea to the Justice Department and analysts who say Microsoft is now being [...]

    Pingback by » Microsoft Is Held To A Different Standard »  InsideMicrosoft - part of the Blog News Channel | June 25, 2007

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