The Google Book Search Brief
Microsoft found itself more on the attack in the recent controversy over the Google Book Search deal, joining Yahoo and a handful of other entities in asking the Department of Justice to examine Google's settlement with authors and publishers over digitizing potentially millions of books.
Microsoft, Yahoo and groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and professors at the University of California have all joined in the Open Book Alliance, started by nonprofit Internet Archive group, to challenge the Google settlement.
The original deal between Google, the Author's Guild and the Association of American Publishers saw the search-engine giant paying $125 million for the right to scan "orphan" books-i.e., volumes still under copyright but whose original rights-holders cannot be found-into its digital collections. The antitrust rub to the agreement comes with a provision under which Google must be offered the same terms in negotiating digital book rights as any future competitor-a possible antitrust violation.
Microsoft argued that it was directly affected by the Google settlement.
"Microsoft Corporation has substantial interests in this proceeding," read its Sept. 8 brief filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. "It owns Microsoft Press, a large technical publisher, and is a member of both the Publisher Sub-Class and the Author Sub-Class defined in Section 1.142 of the proposed settlement agreement with thousands of copyrighted works covered by its terms."
Microsoft also framed the Google settlement as a threat to its new search engine:
"[Microsoft] also operates Bing, an Internet search engine that provides users with access to all types of digital information, and would be harmed by the anti-competitive effects of the proposed settlement."
In non-legal-related news, Microsoft continued its ramp-up to the Oct. 22 release of Windows 7, its new operating system. On Sept. 8, the company released Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, a "solution accelerator" designed to help IT administrators deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. (The Toolkit can also assist in the deployment of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP.)
That application can be downloaded from this site.
Microsoft's ecosystem partners, notably Intel, have also started the drumbeat for an enterprise-centric tech refresh centered on Windows 7; in remarks fed by Dow Jones Newswires out of Taipei, Intel executives were quoted as suggesting that Windows 7 will "stimulate demand for corporate personal computers in 2010."
Throughout the summer, Intel had been very much a cheerleader in suggesting that Windows 7's adoption throughout the business community will be relatively rapid. On Sept. 1, Intel and Microsoft held a joint conference in which they attempted to show that Windows 7 will offer better processor performance and battery life for Intel-powered systems than Windows Vista, Microsoft's previous and much-maligned operating system.
In the midst of a global recession, both Intel and Microsoft will need such a massive tech refresh to bolster bottom lines that have been affected by a downturn in PC sales.