U.S. Deflects Antitrust Concerns About Microsoft IE7 Browser

By Ben Charny  |  Posted 2006-05-12 Print this article Print

The U.S. Department of Justice said it sees nothing wrong with Microsoft making its search engine the default one for its new Internet Explorer Web browser.

The DOJ's language concerning how the Microsoft IE7 browser "respects" user choice was part of a new report to U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly. The report details Microsoft's overall compliance with terms of a 2002 antitrust settlement with the government.

The decision doesn't seem to be going down easy at Google, which supposedly complained to the U.S. authorities about the IE7 browser's choice of default search engine.

Google does have concerns about the new browser, which were first reported by The New York Times. A Google spokesperson reached May 12 would not confirm that Google had ever made its objections known to the DOJ.

In a statement issued May 12, Google claimed Microsoft made it deliberately difficult to change the search engine that comes embedded in Microsoft's IE7 browser. The benefit of such a setup is that it allows the user to search directly from the browser, rather than have to steer the browser to a new Web page.

Microsoft disagrees with that assessment, and so do many Microsoft browser users.

"Changing the search engine may be simple by Microsoft's standards," Google wrote May 12. "But if it were truly simple, users would be able to change the default with one click - and that change would be sticky. Microsoft could have easily designed it that way. Instead, they've built it so users have to go through multiple steps to choose a search engine."

Google's supposed IE7 complaint stirred a lot of debate. If anything, it showed that Google is using more aggressive tactics as it competes against Microsoft's search engine, communications and other Internet-based services.

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