Windows Vista SP 1 Will Include Microsoft Capitulation to Google

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Windows Vista SP 1 Will Include Microsoft Capitulation to Google

by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@windowsitpro.com

In a surprising move, Microsoft has bowed to Internet rival Google and will change the design of Vista so that Google's desktop search product can more closely integrate with the OS. Microsoft also used this event to quietly change the shipping schedule for Vista SP1. According to Microsoft, Vista SP1 will appear in beta form by the end of 2007. Vista SP1 was originally scheduled to be released by the end of 2007. Apparently this desktop search change will delay that release.

"Microsoft has reached an agreement with the States and the DOJ to address a complaint filed by Google regarding desktop search in Windows Vista," a Microsoft representative told me late Tuesday evening. Brad Smith, Microsoft senior vice president and general counsel, says the company is "pleased to reach an agreement with all the States and the Justice Department that addresses their concerns so that everyone can move forward." Previously, Microsoft had described Google's complaint as "baseless."

Here's what Microsoft has agreed to do:

- Let consumers and PC makers select a default desktop search program in Vista, similar to the way they currently select defaults for third-party Web browsers and media players.

- Provide links to the default desktop search program in the Vista Start menu and Windows Explorer windows, whether the user chooses the default Instant Search feature or a third-party alternative.

- Provide information to developers so that they can create their own desktop search programs that are optimized for performance on Vista.

Microsoft also provided a final version of its 27-page joint status report detailing its ongoing compliance with its 2004 US antitrust settlement. The report includes several other details, including that Microsoft plans to implement these desktop search changes as part of Vista SP1, and the company says a beta version of that update will ship by the end of 2007. Microsoft also noted that Google's complaint that Vista was slowing Google desktop search was somewhat spurious: Contrary to Google's complaint, Vista doesn't slow down Google's product. Instead, the existence of two competing desktop search products, each running simultaneously and generating their own indices, slows down the PC.

I have more information about this startling and unnecessary change on the SuperSite for Windows:
http://www.winsupersite.com/article/showcase/instant-search-changes-to-windows-vista-service-pack-1.aspx

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