Google considering Microsoft antitrust fight

Google may be seeking the reopening of an US antitrust action against Microsoft, according to press reports.

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Google may be seeking the reopening of an US antitrust action against Microsoft, according to press reports.

The internet search company alleged that Microsoft's new Vista operating system puts other search software companies at a disadvantage, making it difficult for users to employ non Microsoft desktop search software, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Microsoft's own desktop indexing system is almost impossible to turn off, Google claimed in a white paper sent to both the US Department of Justice and state attorneys. It said this affected a computer's performance when running a non Microsoft search index.

Microsoft denied the accusations, saying that its own search indexing could be turned off and that its program did not interfere with other search indexing software or the PC itself, according to the report.

But Google’s antitrust cries are falling on deaf ears. According to the New York Times, this is because the US government has already fought Microsoft in an antitrust case during the late 1990s until a settlement in 2002. Thomas Barnett, the US government’s top-ranking antitrust official, recommended in May that Google's complaint should be rejected, the newspaper said.

Barnett was previously employed by a law firm that represented Microsoft during the antitrust suit, but did not work on the case before joining the government. He is understood to have kept himself out of the ongoing monitoring of Microsoft that was part of the 2002 settlement.

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