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Google Hopes to Persuade Judge in Microsoft Case

  Antitrust  -   POSTED: 2007/07/05 18:56

Google Inc. is still hoping to persuade a federal judge to consider its concerns about a search feature built into Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista.

In a court filing this week, the search company reiterated its request for standing to submit a brief for consideration by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The judge said last week that Google should instead continue working through the Justice Department and other plaintiffs in the Microsoft antitrust case.

Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich described the latest filing as primarily a procedural matter, complying with the judge's statement in court that Google needed to answer Microsoft's response to its original motion for standing in the case. He said the filing doesn't signal that Google is looking for further means of pressing its case.

At the same time, Google made it clear in the filing that it still believes the judge should consider its concerns directly.

The filing said Google "offers an important and useful perspective" in the Microsoft case.

The dispute revolves around Windows Vista's desktop search function, which indexes files for fast searching by users.

Google argued that the way Microsoft built desktop search into the operating system wasn't fair to competing desktop search tools, such as its own Google Desktop.

Microsoft, the U.S. Justice Department and state antitrust officials agreed to a compromise two weeks ago that opened up some elements of Windows Vista's desktop search function to competing programs. Google said it wasn't sure that the changes went far enough.

Google last week asked the judge for standing to request an extension of Microsoft antitrust oversight, scheduled to expire later this year, so that the court and government officials could ensure that the compromise had the desired effect.

Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans reiterated Tuesday that the Justice Department and states said they were satisfied with the compromise, and that Microsoft believes Google has provided no new information in its filings to suggest otherwise.

Google's latest filing outlined the reasons the company believes it should be allowed to participate in the case and file its request. Because it wasn't a plaintiff in the case, it's seeking standing as amicus curiae, or friend of the court, to be able to make its case directly to the judge.

"As the developer of a major desktop search product and the company that brought the desktop search issue to the attention of the plaintiffs, Google has familiarity with the issues raised and is well positioned to provide information to the Court," the filing said.

Google concluded by asking the court to either let it participate as amicus curiae or defer ruling on that matter until the company has the information it needs to better assess the desktop-search compromise.


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