June 19, 2007 7:26 PM PDT

Microsoft agrees to change Vista desktop search

Microsoft agreed Tuesday to make changes to the desktop search feature in Windows Vista in an effort to assuage Google and head off a further antitrust battle with U.S. regulators.

In a filing made jointly with the Justice Department on Tuesday night, Microsoft said it would change the search feature as part of the first service pack to Windows Vista. In the filing, Microsoft talked for the first time about when that service pack would arrive, saying a beta version will come by the end of the year.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will create a mechanism whereby both computer makers and individuals will be able to choose a default desktop search program, much as they can choose a rival browser or media player, even though those technologies are built into Windows.

"Plaintiffs are collectively satisfied that this agreement will resolve any issues the complaint may raise under the Final Judgments, provided that Microsoft implements it as promised," regulators said in the filing made with the Judge overseeing Microsoft's consent decree.

Microsoft said it too, was glad to reach an accord.

"We're pleased we were able to reach an agreement with all the states and the Justice Department that addresses their concerns so that everyone can move forward," Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said in a statement.

A federal prosecutor said that the move satisfied the U.S. government as well as 17 state attorneys general and that the software maker was adequately addressing antitrust concerns raised by Google.

"In addition to reaching an agreement with Microsoft to resolve any issues about desktop search under the final judgments, the (Justice Department) has worked to ensure that Microsoft fully discloses and provides complete technical documentation for all protocols covered by the decrees," Thomas O. Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division, said in a statement.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he had become concerned with allegations that the desktop search feature in Vista was in violation of the antitrust accord Microsoft reached in 2002. In a statement, he offered qualified praise for the agreement.

"This agreement--while not perfect--is a positive step towards greater competition in the software industry. It will enhance the ability of consumers to select the desktop search tool of their choice," Brown said.

In a statement, Google Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said that "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," he said. "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."

Details of the agreement began to dribble out ahead of the filing on Tuesday.

Google first expressed concern over Vista's desktop search feature last year. Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the U.S. Justice Department was siding with Microsoft, while some state regulators, including Connecticut's attorney general, said they wanted to look further into Google's concerns.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer dismissed Google's complaints, saying at the Detroit Economic Club that the rival's objections were "baseless."

"We continue to comply with the consent decree we signed with the U.S. government in recognition to the findings around our position with Windows," Ballmer said, according to Reuters. "We think all claims to the contrary are baseless."

This is not the only antitrust skirmish going on involving Microsoft and Google, which have become increasingly fierce rivals. Microsoft has sought to get regulators to take a closer look at Google's planned acquisition of DoubleClick. However, the Federal Trade Commission is also reportedly evaluating Microsoft's planned $6 billion purchase of Aquantive.

As part of the pact, Microsoft is required to do three things in relation to desktop search. First, it has to add the mechanism for computer makers and users to change the default desktop search. Second, that default search program "will be launched whenever Windows launches a new top-level window to provide search results." That includes the Start menu, when a user selects to display results in a new window. However, in areas, such as the Windows Explorer, where Microsoft includes a search bar, Vista "will continue to display the search results using the internal Vista desktop search functionality." Microsoft, however, must also add a link that, when clicked, will launch the default desktop search program and display that program's results.

Finally, Microsoft will "inform" software makers, computer makers and users that "the desktop search index in Vista is designed to run in the background and cede precedence over computing resources to any other software product, including third-party desktop search products and their respective search indices," according to the filing.

Microsoft must emphasize that there is no technical reason why computer makers and users cannot install rival desktop search programs "even if those products maintain separate indices from that operated by Windows." Also, Microsoft will be required to provide the technical details to enable rivals to write programs that minimize the performance impact of Vista's own search index.

See more CNET content tagged:
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88 comments

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A shame.
Now computer makers will have another chance to charge a software publisher for distributing its crapware and add bloat, advertising and instability to a computer I pay for.
Posted by herby67 (144 comments )
Reply Link Flag
great point
I also wonder if Google pays t have their desktop search put on
PCs, then will the default search be changed to Google before the
users buys it....
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Link Flag
*shrug* - you pay for it then.
I use OSX and Linux; won't have to pay a dime for it ;)

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
I thought that's what everybody wanted?
Complain to all the great people who so well defend our interests regarding Windows.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Link Flag
Google whines too much
I'm really getting tired of Google. They are, without a doubt, the most evil company in the computer industry! No longer can Microsoft be called the Evil Empire.

Microsoft is trying to provide its users with an experience that has been in OSX for a few years, and Google whines. Desktop Search should be something built into the OS (which it is), and if a user wishes, they can have Google on top. If Google came out with a calculator, would they demand that users have the option to replace the 20-year-old built-in calculator with Google Calc? Are we going to see Google Windows Update that should replace the built-in Update app? No! They are built-in, essential OS functions.

Sorry, but this is just more reason that I hate Google.
Posted by heat_fan1 (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
wishful thinking
Monopolies in functionality are terrible for the consumer as they stifle innovation. I am glad that a company finally has the deep pockets and deep lawyers to force Microsoft to provide a choice to consumers.
Posted by bevo00 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Are you understand what is monopoly?
Heat_fan1,

I do not understand what the hell you are talking about. Microsoft uses its operation system to block other software to run except MS production that is monopoly. For Google, they just expand their production and make it easier and faster for user to use and you can choose any search engine you would like to use then why you say Google monopoly? are you stupiiid? are you understand about IT.
Posted by Wander9s (15 comments )
Link Flag
I Agree!!
Google are trying to take over the world. They should stick to what they are good at: SEARCH ENGINE. I don't know why anyone in their right mind would want stuff like Google toolbar. It takes up valuable page rendering space, and offers the same functions that most browsers have anyway, in a far more poorly thought out interface that is simply a waste of space. STOP BUNDLING THIS CRAPWARE WITH OUR DOWNLOADS GOOGLE! Clearly, if it wasn't bundled this way, it would never have been installed on so many machines.
If Google had their way, there would be "Google OS" running inside Windows, which once again would just be another interface doing what the OS and other software ALREADY DOES!
The Vista desktop search is a great function, and works extremely well. I have been testing Vista since Beta 2, and loved it. Why would anyone want to replace it with any other version? There is no way to further streamline the interface. It is minimalist, but very powerful underneath. This is the way programs should be. Lets hope "Google Desktop Search" isn't bundled with every download we get in the future.

-----Careful on the next button people!!-----
Posted by Jason83 (11 comments )
Link Flag
Where does it stop?
I don't like the Windows Start Bar, so I want to use a 3rd party. I think MS should abstract the start bar to a point where it can be replaced. Yes, I know it is part of the OS, MS invented the idea, and it will make things even more complex, but I claim anti-trust against MS for the MS product and the govt should make them change it.
Posted by frankwick (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sarcasm?
I know you weren't being serious, but it is possible, and very easy to replace Windows Exlorer (Star Menu/Taskbar etc) in windows with any other Shell.

Windows provide more than enough ability to configure their system, and people continue to complain because they are told Microsoft was "bad" 20 years ago and because they continue to be the biggest OS provider in the world.
Posted by yourpersonalangel (4 comments )
Link Flag
Monopoly?
Can the search function be called a monopoly? MS invented the concept, previewed a demo for the future OS called Vista, but Apple used the concept in OSX. It's an MS concept that Apple borrowed, so can this be a monopoly?
Posted by frankwick (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
At least Microsoft dose not spy on you like google
this is what google keeps on there servers and by there own privacy statement they say
When we use third parties to assist us in processing your personal information, we require that they comply with our Privacy Policy and any other appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
witch is nice that they give out our personal information to anyone they see fit.

and check this out
Google processes personal information on our servers in the United States of America and in other countries. In some cases, we process personal information on a server outside your own country.

so they are transferring our information all over the world thats nice.

and you can well there not getting nothing but an ip address yes if the only thing you to is type in a search but look at the other evil things google does.

Google Desktop: an index of the user's computer files, e-mails, music, photos, and chat and Web browser history and it is kept on there servers everything you can on your computers hard-drive is indexed. but if you don't mind google having an index of everything you have to on computer go head.

Google Talk: instant-message chats between users

thats right google logs your private conversions
so if you think what your saying on google talk is private think again.

Google Maps: address information requested, often including the user's home address for use in obtaining directions

Google Mail (Gmail): a user's e-mail history, with default settings set to retain emails "forever"

Google Calendar: a user's schedule as inputted by the user' yep thats right not even your personal Calendar is private.

Google Orkut: social networking tool storing personal information such as name, location, relationship status, etc.

Google Reader: which ATOM/RSS feeds a user reads

Google Video/YouTube: videos watched by user;

Google Checkout: credit card/payment information for use on other sites

so i would say google is the new evil empire and they need to get the now before they get to powerful. like Microsoft did.
Posted by Zandor (6 comments )
Link Flag
windows 95
search first appeared in Win 95 IIRC. There was no OSx then.
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
How Do I Switch From Google On My Mac?
I actually being serious here: I'm fine with Spotlight, but in
Safari, I want to change it and use Ask.com instead. I've been
using Ask for about two weeks and it's faster and sleeker than
Google. Can I change it without switching to Firefox (which uses
a ton of resources on my G5)? Please give me tips if you have
any....

My reasons for this are not only because Ask.com works better
for me, but also because I've grown quite tired of Google
behaving like this article displays. They've become a 1995
version of Microsoft! And I thought Google's slogan was "Don't
Be Evil".
Posted by toosday (343 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You would need an Ask plugin
Seems to me that would Ask's responsibility, but perhaps someone else has done it.
Posted by J.G. (837 comments )
Link Flag
This might work...
Here's a discussion of some options, but they're very hacky in
nature, and I'm not sure if they will work with ask.com.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?" target="_newWindow">http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?</a>
story=20030514035516436


BTW ... I found that by typing "change safari search from
google" into google. It was the top link. ;-)
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Don't reply like a technician
Buddy, I program in six languages. I studied computer engineering at Georgia Tech. That info was just to say I do know a little and Vista is NOT in any way sp3. Does it have things about it I don't like? sure, like the expanded drm functionality. However, being a geek, I find it quite easy to bypass.
The code that runs vista in now way is similar to xp. I've been writing DX functions directly with the win32 api, bypassing managed code, that do amazing 3d in the desktop environment, it's a blast. Even though the desktop looks the same, don't be fooled; It is a true 3d environment. The possibilities for programmers are entirely up to the imagination. The dx functions with dx10 are as different from dx9 as winxp was from win98. The changes that come vista have opened whole new possibilities for what can be done on a computer, while xp had pretty much been fully explored.
For these reasons, and others, new programs and games coming out that run well on vista will no longer work on xp; xp simply does not offer the same functionality. Believe me, in a year or two, when you start seeing some of these amazing things in games, you WILL upgrade. I've been using vista ultimate for about 5 months now and I love it, but, like I said, I am a geek and have no problem working around, or disabling, any of the features I don't like, like drm.
Posted by rick7069 (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree with this but...
First and for most I just don't play games as much as I used to. I believe Microsoft should save all that newtech for the XBox. Microsoft should be first and formost a busines oriented company and build software for the home, small and large business. Their software also runs goverments and charities among various other things. If Microsoft can't do this right then perhaps a Linux distro should step up to the plate. Just a suggestion for Microsoft: instead of an all in one package, why don't you do a business and gamer package seperatly?
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Link Flag
Buddy, who are you talking too?
Vista has a long way to go, that's all there is to it. If it's installed on a computer that can do all the nifty 3D desktop stuff, and it's not the stupid "vista basic" version, then yeah, we'll see. For those of us who don't program in 6 languages, I for one want an OS I use to be stable and not get in my way every time I try to do something simple.
Posted by mattumanu (599 comments )
Link Flag
My Dell came with Google
I bought a Dell dimension desktop recenylt with Windows Vista on it and it came preinstalled with Google Desktop Search. Microsoft should file a lawsuit against Dell and Google for their conspiracy
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mine too
I removed the google crap.
Posted by kss113 (3 comments )
Link Flag
Stop buying Dells !!!
Dell hardware sucks? I just bought a dell and its motherboard failed in first week and had to be replaced. Dells also look ugly, next time its HP for me.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
WHY???
Does Microsoft have to tailor to other peoples grips and stuff. Like what googles wanting. (It's not fair waaa waaaa) you babies.

You don't see other companies with apps only tailored to Webshere working with IIS as well.

If MS has to bend backwards to do this stuff, then other companies need to tailor their apps, to use multiple browsers and webservers ect...
Posted by kss113 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about Spotlight?
It's just as integrated as Vista's search. Why isn't Google complaining about it as well?
Posted by vtflair (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Complain about what?
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://desktop.google.com/mac/features.html" target="_newWindow">http://desktop.google.com/mac/features.html</a>

It even uses spotlight filters.
Posted by toastermonkey (4 comments )
Link Flag
coz it's a insignificant market
with only 4% market share, maybe it's not worth the effort. Infact, Google didn't even have desktop search for Mac till recently
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Link Flag
The "Great" Escape of The 800lb Gorilla (OS/2)
With "eComStation 2.0 RC1 released" it is about time to shout: Run GOOGLE Run, Run MICROSOFT Run For Your Lives for it is time to stop your "child-like" games as both of you are about to be GOOGLED by the 800lb Gorilla that is OS/2. Whoooaahhhhh.....

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ecomstation.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.ecomstation.com/</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.ecomstation.com/ecomstation20.phtml?url=nls/en/content/version2_rc1.html&#38;title=eComStation%202.0%20RC1%20info" target="_newWindow">http://www.ecomstation.com/ecomstation20.phtml?url=nls/en/content/version2_rc1.html&#38;title=eComStation%202.0%20RC1%20info</a>
Posted by Commander_Spock (3123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Wow starts NOW
Wow it even supports most of my Windows 3.1 applications and some 32-bit Windows apps. Too bad it was released in 2007. It would have been great in 1994.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
and 99%.....
of the non-tech people will have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

I seriously doubt Google, Microsoft, or anyone else... has to "run". Its in freaking beta form!!
Posted by aSiriusTHoTH (176 comments )
Link Flag
I hope that was a sarcastic comment
wow... another operating system... Even their website looks so cheap.. I wonder how the OS will look like (perhaps Windows 3.1)
Posted by cary1 (924 comments )
Link Flag
CRY BABY
Someone needs to give google folks a trailer load of passifiers. All they do is cry, perhaps instead of getting rich off of Microsoft products they should share some of the technology they have stolen along the way from others with all the new upstarts.

Tom

Saint Louis,MO.
Posted by torti151 (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cry baby indeed...
This is insane. I thought better of Google. Will they go after Apple
for their superior Spotlight? They better not.
Posted by JDavis19 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let's take software design out of the courtroom
This episode should put an end to support for software design in the courtroom -- or at least through the Microsoft antitrust case. What satisfies government lawyers raises user concern that more junkware and bloat will come to PCs.

No other company complained about Windows Vista except Google -- and Google neither deserves nor needs (nor should it wish for) help from government. Google has complained that Windows Vista desktop search degrades performance. Well, let users decide, switch it off, or go with Copernic (a company not complaining, by the way).

In the end, a lot of lawyers paid with tax dollars spent a lot of time coming up with a minor tweak for something that didn't need tweaking. We can all live with it, but it shouldn't happen again.
Posted by Thom101 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anti Trust is what's in the courtroom.
The software changes are Microsofts efforts to stay out of the courtroom.

That's a key difference.
Posted by Renegade Knight (13748 comments )
Link Flag
MS victim of regulatory arbtirage
Successful companies beware. The feds will be after you, and soon they, regulators and your competitors will be designing your products, hobbling innovation to satisfy each unique constituency.

Poor system ruled by regulatory arbitrage, as we have just witnessed. The consumer loses out most.
Posted by mwendy (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Well, if they weren't a bunch of monopolists...
...and convicted ones at that, this wouldn't have been an issue.

Not our fault MSFT acts like a pack of bullies and gets slapped
for it, is it?

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
♥ bill gates sweating 4 days, mega-ultra rare & collectable
This is still for sale, maybe it would be of interest to advancing knowledge of what MS has to deal with:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://savannah.craigslist.org/emd/346578623.html" target="_newWindow">http://savannah.craigslist.org/emd/346578623.html</a>

Thank you
Posted by trueview (29 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeahhh....
I think I saw part of this on YouTube.

It wasn't funny really (like the listing makes out) and I don't think they should be trying to make money or provide entertainment by showing a person at their most vulnerable.

Maybe I should lighten up, but imagine if that was you.
Posted by o2mcgovem-20822100750713932708 (34 comments )
Link Flag
I Don't Get It!
Why? Isn't this muchadoo about nothing? I have Vista and I changed the default search to who I wanted. What's the problem?
Posted by Roberia (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sarcasm? Mayyyyybe...
While we're at it, we should be able to replace the entire taskbar, system tray clock, system tray functionality, control panel, all control panel applets (including "network connections"), "System Properties", "Device Manager"...heck, even explorer.exe...ALL with third party equivalents! What, explorer.exe is the core of the user interface? Too bad! It should be modular, right along with EVERYTHING else!
While we're at it, we should demand that you can use other instant messaging software to contact "Windows Live Messenger" contacts! What? Oh, Yahoo and AIM? But...those don't count! EVERY instant messenger should be able to connect to Windows Live!
And they should certainly be able to do all this, keep the operating system secure, provide security software, while making THAT both modular and secure at the same time, AND keep it all reliable and stable. And all for under $100!




Riiiiiiiiiight!
Posted by k1darkknight (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now you've done it...
Sssshhh the Google boffins probably never noticed. Watch this space! They'll be taking on the writers of OSX now! LOL!!
Posted by Jason83 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What about Spotlight?
Well, it would seem Apple and Google are really getting along these
days. I'm no big fan of Microsoft, but Google badgering Microsoft's
desktop search? What about Apple's Spotlight? I know Micrsoft
copied Apple but Google's not going after Apple, just Microsoft. It
just doesn't seem fair.
Posted by AY1138 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
re
Does Apple not allow you to remove Spotlight? Or at least stop it from loading at boot?

Windows doesn't allow you to remove their crap search, and no matter what you use it is always running. So windows forces users that want a choice to accept worse performance. Under any circumstances, this is unacceptable, but it is even worse when the OS in question is a bloated, slow, pig.

This is what this whole thing about, regardless of what the idiotic MS fanboys say.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
No problem -
Xcode already provides all the API docs and lib access that Spotlight uses, and anyone (including Google) is more than welcome to write their replacement for Spotlight, as well as automate the disabling of the thing.

*shrug*

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
so whts the point......
and i didnt really ask you...but anyway just explain me......... you are one of the freaks out there..who got vista(ihavent bought it yet)...so why you think microsoft is stupid?????

and yeah dont forget to use spell checker before writing....i asked ... wht are u actually using,,,,,thts simple english....and wht are i actually using....if u write this in spell checker i guess it wont give u any error...
Posted by jaspal.m (52 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft agrees to add (yet) another advantage to Vista
Steve Jobs-ruled Google has just made Vista the only OS in the market in which you can choose your deault desktop search provider.
Posted by Fil0403 (1303 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Who uses Vista?
I guess if you bought a new PC and had no choice that is
understandable, but was anyone fool enough to pay a couple of
hundred bucks for what is nothing more than XP SP3? Probably the
same 20 people that bought Zune players, hehe.
Posted by expatincebu (156 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I do because...
I fix pcs for fun and money. People buy new systems with Vista or think Vista is really cool, that's where I come in. Gotta test older software, learn the ins and outs, and the things that don't work well, i.e. Defragging. Let's say XP SP2 pre IE7 is a 10, which it's not, I'll give Vista a 6, due mainly to its incompatibility with older software and hardware.
Posted by superman227 (68 comments )
Link Flag
I do also...
For the same reasons as "superman227". I give it a four because of the very weird ways of having to accomplish simple file management (3rd party file manager programers please take note that I will be looking for your products).
I am working on a womans newly bought computer. She was literally in tears, thinking she was getting a new XP style computer only to get something she just could not comprehend. She really needed that computer (works for a phone company) but did not need the counter productive headaches that Vista gives. Sad very sad. I'll bet she gave it a resounding ZERO! If vista is XP service pack three.... Naaa! Never mind, I just won't go there.
Posted by Ted Miller (305 comments )
Link Flag
Did you lose your bridge?
because that comment is very troll like attempt to bait people. As far as numbers go, more people use Vista than any non Windows OS. Some of them don't even have Zunes!

Oh yeah, my wife and I both use vista. No, we're not going back. Why? Because contrary to some other posters, it just works...even with older hardware. Is there a learning curve? Well duh. It's not a completely new UI, but enough things are in different places than Xp that you occasionally have to make an effort (ie use the built in search) to find them.

Search, encryption, pre-fectching, ready boost, memory management, security, multi-media are all way better than anyone waiting for Xp SP3 could hope for. 64bit works quite nicely thankyouverymuch.

Are there things that could have been done better? Yup. For instance Aero on a laptop. I wish there were a setting to drop from Aero Glass to Basic when I went to battery power because eye candy matters less to me than how long I can run a charge before I need to go searching for an outlet. Apart from that Vista is five times more mobile friendly than Xp, and is so without having to tweak a bunch of obscure control panel settings or relying on third party apps.

So, no it's not perfect and I honestly won't tell my friends that they MUST switch now, but do let them know that when they do so, they might wonder why they waited so long.
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Link Flag
There is no reason or excuse
To use Windows ME part deux.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
 

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