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Microsoft Changes Vista for Google

Microsoft has cut a deal with the US government and is going modify Vista to hush Google's complaints

Microsoft has cut a deal with the US government and is going modify Vista to hush Google's complaints that it discourages users from using Google's local desktop search as opposed to Vista's own desktop "Instant Search."

The move comes after Google charged Microsoft with violating its 2002 consent decree with the government on the theory that the search facility is middleware and basically a controlled substance subject to the Final Judgment.

Google's problem is that the Vista search can't be turned off and when the two run together the operation is as slow as molasses in January. It wanted Vista redesigned to turn the Instant Search off.

Well, Microsoft's not changing the way Vista works. But it will let users and OEMs install non-Microsoft desktop search by default and it will advertise the possibility.

Naturally Google isn't happy. It says Microsoft hasn't gone far enough. There will be a court hearing on June 26. Maybe Google will turn up.

The prospective changes, outlined in a pre-hearing status report filed Tuesday with the court overseeing the Microsoft settlement, are expected in a beta Vista Service Pack that Microsoft anticipates will be out by the end of the year. That's the first confirmation that there would in fact be a service pack for Vista.

Microsoft didn't admit that the Google complaint had any validity but by obliging Google, it's saving itself a lot of wrangling with state authorities.

The middleware provisions in the consent decree expire in November but Microsoft has pledged to continue to respect them voluntarily.

The status report also covered Microsoft's progress rewriting its troublesome protocol documentation. It says the project is on schedule and the "plaintiffs are encouraged by the quality of the new documents," bearing in mind that "it will not be possible to draw any final conclusion about the quality of the documentation until significant additional testing is completed."

Microsoft no doubt wishes it could elicit that tone from the European Commission. As the status report notes there is "substantial overlap" between the "American" Microsoft Communications Protocol Program (MCPP) and the European Work Group Protocol Program.

Microsoft recently told some reporter or another it had to go out and find a lot of ex-Microsoft people to help it explain how the protocols work.

There are now 41 licensees of the protocols, 29 of them paying royalties and 13 of them shipping product.

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.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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