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7/3/2007
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Google Wants Inclusion In Microsoft Antitrust Deliberations

The company petitions to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly that the changes Microsoft has promised to make to Vista won't address Google's concerns.

Google on Monday asked the judge overseeing the Microsoft antitrust case to allow it to participate in the case as a "friend of the court."

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last week said she would look to the plaintiffs in the case, the U.S. Department of Justice and the state attorneys general, rather than to Google, about whether Microsoft's Vista operating system violates the consent decree that settled the government's antitrust case against Microsoft.

The judge made that decision following a request by Google last week to extend the consent degree, part of which is scheduled to expire in November. Google claimed that an agreement reached by Microsoft and the plaintiffs to make the Vista operating system more friendly to third-party search software needs to be clarified.

In a legal filing Monday, Google argues that it offers an important and useful perspective in the court's oversight of Microsoft's behavior. "As the developer of a major desktop search product and the company that brought the desktop search issue to the attention of the plaintiffs, Google has familiarity with the issues raised and is well positioned to provide information to the Court," the filing says.

Google wants to make sure its opinion gets heard because it isn't convinced that the changes Microsoft has promised to make to Vista will address its concerns. "Google would not suggest that the Court consider using this authority to require additional information if the matter at hand were minor or routine," the filing states. "While all parties have given attention to the issue of Microsoft's violation over many months, the remedial measures appear to have been settled upon very quickly, and few details have been provided to Google, the public, and the Court."

Chief among Google's complains is that Microsoft does not intend to change how Vista handles search queries entered via right-click menus and window pane menus. Currently, these get processed by Vista's internal search technology. Google would like Vista users to have the option to execute these queries using its own search system.

Google has also complained that Vista's internal search system continues to consume computer resources when Google's desktop search product is used.

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