Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 12th Jun 2007 19:46 UTC, submitted by Dale Smoker
Legal Internet search leader Google is trying to convince federal and state authorities that Microsoft's Vista operating system is stifling competition as the high-tech heavyweights wrestle for the allegiance of personal computer users. In a 49-page document filed April 18 with the U.S. Justice Department and state attorneys general, Google alleged that the latest version of Microsoft's Windows operating system impairs the performance of 'desktop search' programs that find data stored on a computer's hard drive. Besides bogging down competing programs, Google alleged Microsoft had made it too complicated to turn off the desktop search feature built into Vista.
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archiesteel
Member since:
2005-07-02

See the whole DR-DOS saga. I trust you are familiar with it? It's not exactly the same thing, but it's an example of Microsoft wilfully hampering competition through technical means.

Again, I'm not saying that Google has a case or not. Unlike you, though, I'm not automatically assuming that Microsoft is probably in the right. In my opinion, there is not enough data right now to say that Google's chances of having a case are good, even or slim.

Reply Parent Score: 5

sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm guessing that Microsoft is "in the right" based on a few things:
1) Conspiracy factor
2) Them understanding the consequences based on history.
3) The internet factor making it harder to subdue such information
4) The shared-source initiative
5) Many more people would be in the know of this (related to point 1 really) making it harder to keep secret

Signs point to it being quite unlikely, not impossible.

Reply Parent Score: 3

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Well, point number 1 really isn't something that makes it more or less likely. Conspiracies do exist, even if they are not as common as some would believe. But you can't say that something would be less likely to happen *because* it would be a conspiracy. That doesn't make any logical sense.

Point #2 makes more sense...although one can't exactly say that MS has shown a propension to learn from its mistakes in the past. On the contrary, it has often been able to get away with some pretty serious anti-competitive behavior with not much more than a slap on the wrist (especially in the U.S.).

Point #3 seems to be the same as #1 and #5, i.e. they can't do this and expect to get away with it. Again, precedent shows that MS isn't above taking this kind of risk, and being bad-mouthed on the Internet is probably the least of their concern (really, how much worse could it get...)

Point #4 is irrelevant if the code in question is not part of the shared source initiative. Since we don't have enough details yet, it's premature for you to bring this up.

I also disagree with point #5. It's possible to have secret "task forces" within a company, and it's possible to keep a secret with NDAs that are threatening enough. Apple managed to keep the lid on the iPhone for months, what makes you think a company such as MS, with much more resources, couldn't include a bit of code to degrade performance of other desktop search apps?

I still think it's premature to qualify Google's case, and that opinionating on either side right now simply highlights one's bias.

Reply Parent Score: 3

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

The "DR-DOS saga" occurred 14 years ago (and involved code in a beta version of Win3.1, code that was removed for RTM). Can we please stick to this millenium?

Reply Parent Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Why? Did MS undergo a profound change in attitude due to the Y2K bug?

Look, I'm not saying that Google's case is solid or not. I'm merely reflecting on the fact that it's rather amusing to see the Microsoft Defense Brigade pre-emptively try to declare the case as invalid, to say the least. An unbiased observer would wait until more information was available to pass judgement.

Edited 2007-06-12 23:33

Reply Parent Score: 2

twitter Member since:
2005-07-25

Too bad the DR-DOS "saga" happened 15 years ago and it was added to a beta version of Windows 3.x that never shipped. It was removed without threats of legal action or antitrust actions. They got rid of it before Windows shipped.

But hey, FUD is so much more fun, isn't it?

Reply Parent Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Read up on the whole DR-DOS saga. It wasn't just an isolated incident - Microsoft actively tried to make it harder for this competitor.

There are similar stories floating around about ACPI, and how that has made it harder for other OSes to run correctly on laptops. But, hey, Microsoft can do no wrong, right?

Reply Parent Score: 2