California Attorney General Brown Gets Microsoft to Change Vista
WASHINGTON D.C. – California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced today that Microsoft has agreed to make significant changes in the design of its desktop search feature in the Windows Vista operating system. Details of Microsoft’s agreement were outlined in a joint status report that was filed today in federal district court regarding the company’s compliance with a 2002 antitrust Final Judgment.
California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. said: “This agreement—while not perfect—is a positive step towards greater competition in the software industry. It will enhance the ability of consumers to select the desktop search tool of their choice.”
The California Attorney General’s Office became concerned with allegations that Microsoft was in violation of the Final Judgment after Google presented a complaint about the desktop search function in Vista, referred to as “Instant Search” in Microsoft’s promotional materials. Google argued that desktop search in Windows Vista is a “Microsoft Middleware Product” (MMP) and is therefore subject to the Final Judgment. The state contended that Vista’s desktop search feature is functionality that did not exist in prior Windows operating systems and is therefore covered under the Final Judgment.
Under the proposed solution, Microsoft will provide users and Original Equipment Manufacturers, such as HP or Dell, with greater flexibility to choose and access competing desktop search products. Microsoft has promised to deliver the required changes in a beta Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista, which Microsoft currently anticipates will be available by the end of the year.
The attorney general announced the agreement in conjunction with Microsoft, the United States Department of Justice and Plaintiffs in the New York Group (including New York, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin) and the California Group (including California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Utah, and the District of Columbia). The changes resolve complaints lodged against Microsoft under the California Group’s Final Judgment from November 2002.
The agreement is reflected in the attached joint status report, filed today in the federal district court in Washington D.C. The Final Judgment is also attached. The Judge is Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.