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

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

sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

Regarding conspiracies: I don't think it makes it more or less likely, but it makes me less likely to believe it when it sounds like a conspiracy theory -- i.e. involves many people to cooperate in covering something up.

Regarding point #3: No they don't care about getting badmouthed. But they do care about doing something that they know WILL get them in legal trouble. There is a difference in the amount of hesistance it will cause.

Regarding #4: Fair enough

Regarding #5: It's easier to keep something a secret when it's something good and leaking will cost you your job, reputation and possibly put you into much legal trouble. When it involves keeping illegal practices quiet, it's harder. See the term "whistleblower".

Reply Parent Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

But they do care about doing something that they know WILL get them in legal trouble. There is a difference in the amount of hesistance it will cause.


It's a matter of risk assessment, I suppose, i.e. "what's the chance we have of getting caught, how much would it cost if we did, and how does this compare to the value (monetary and strategic) this has for us."

It's easier to keep something a secret when it's something good and leaking will cost you your job, reputation and possibly put you into much legal trouble. When it involves keeping illegal practices quiet, it's harder.


Right, although it's not that clear-cut in this case. Would you risk your career on something which is not guaranteed to be declared illegal? Whistleblowers do exist, but they're (unfortunately) few and far between. Most people would rather close their eyes, especially on something as relatively innocuous as this (compared to, say, what was happening with the tobacco industry).

I certainly hope that Microsoft has changed its ways enough to refrain from these types of dirty tricks, and I'll wait until more information is available before making my mind about the case. However, my original point still stands: it's much too early to dismiss the case off-hand.

(As a side note, this particular criticism was not aimed at you, but rather at the first few posters in this thread.)

Reply Parent Score: 2