TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Judge Defers to Feds on Google Complaint

Judge Defers to Feds on Google Complaint

Christopher Rugaber, AP (
Tue, 26 Jun 2007 23:36:33 -0500


The judge overseeing Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust settlement said
Tuesday she would not immediately address complaints Google Inc. has
made about Microsoft's Windows Vista software.

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said she would decide later this year
whether to consider Google's request to extend government oversight of
Microsoft's compliance with its 2002 antitrust settlement. That
oversight is scheduled to expire in November for most aspects of the

Kollar-Kotelly emphasized that it is up to the state and federal
agencies to decide whether to request additional enforcement action or
oversight from the court.

State and federal officials, meanwhile, said during a regularly
scheduled hearing on Microsoft's antitrust compliance that they are
satisfied with a compromise reached last week with Microsoft to
address Google's concerns.

The federal and state governments "stand in the shoes of the
consumers," Kollar-Kotelly said, while Google, she added, is not a
party to the case.

Google complained to federal and state officials that Microsoft's
desktop seach program, which helps Windows Vista users search their
hard drives, slows down third-party desktop search programs and makes
it hard for computer users to choose alternatives, such as Google's
desktop search.

In the compromise, detailed in a court filing last week, Microsoft
agreed to allow Windows Vista users to set a non-Microsoft program as
the default desktop search engine, and add a link to the alternate
program in the Windows Start menu.

But those changes didn't go far enough for Google, which complained
they were only "vaguely described" in the court filing. The online
search giant asked the court to extend the government's oversight to
ensure that Microsoft followed through on its desktop search

Under questioning from Kollar-Kotelly, Aaron Hoag, a Justice
Department lawyer, said Google would receive more information about
the compromise agreement than what was included in the court filing.

Both sides said they were pleased with the outcome of the hearing.

"As a result of our raising concerns about Vista desktop search, the
Department of Justice and the states secured remedies from Microsoft
that will provide consumers more choices than existed before," said
Alan Davidson, Google's senior policy counsel.

"The government represents the interests of consumers and Google
clearly does not," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, said.

Shares of Microsoft rose 3 cents to $29.52 Tuesday, while shares of
Google added $2.84 to $530.26.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.

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