Google slams Vista search ‘anti-competitive’

12 Jun 2007

As Google faces an antitrust lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), supported by Microsoft, in light of its planned purchase of DoubleClick, the company itself has privately filed a complaint against Vista’s built-in indexing function.

Google claims that Microsoft Vista’s incorporated desktop search engine is anti-competitive by nature, coming installed automatically with Vista, and is almost impossible to turn off, pushing other desktop indexers, like Google Desktop, out of the market.

In a turnaround for the US justice department, Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general for antitrust, urged state attorneys to dismiss Google’s complaint.

Previously, the US government has sought to break up Microsoft Corp into smaller divisions on the grounds that the company had got too big and powerful, culminating in the 2002 antitrust trial which found Microsoft guilty of monopolising the market in PC operating systems.

It was revealed in the trial that Microsoft had threatened to cancel the licence of several PC manufacturers to distribute Windows if they removed the Internet Explorer icon from the desktop.

Although Google has not gone public with this complaint, it is reported that the company filed a 50-page document to the US justice department and all state attorneys, outlining in detail how it believes Microsoft Vista is breaking its 2002 anti-competition agreement.

By Marie Boran