Google may seek to reopen anti-trust action against Microsoft - although a US Department of Justice (DOJ) official has recommended against it, according to newspaper reports.
Google alleged that Vista put other search software companies at a disadvantage, making it difficult for users to employ non-Microsoft desktop-search software, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing lawyers familiar with the case, that Microsoft's own desktop indexing system is almost impossible to turn off. Google claimed in a white paper sent to both the DOJ and states' attorneys general, thereby affecting a computer's performance when running non-Microsoft search index, the report said.
Microsoft denied the accusations, saying that its own search indexing could be turned off, although with some difficulty, and that its program did not interfere with the operation of other search indexing software and therefore did not influence performance, according to the report.
Despite Google's efforts to draw its rival into a protracted legal fight, the company's anti-trust cries appear to be falling on deaf ears, especially at the DOJ, which fought Microsoft over monopoly accusations in the late 1990s until a settlement in 2002, according to The New York Times.
Thomas O. Barnett, now the DOJ's top-ranking anti-trust official, recommended in May that the DOJ and state attorneys general reject Google's complaint, the report said. Formerly employed by a law firm that represented Microsoft during the DOJ anti-trust suit, Barnett did not work on the case before joining the DOJ, and recused himself from involvement in the DOJ's ongoing monitoring of Microsoft that is part of the 2002 settlement, the paper said.
However, some state prosecutors may take up the case with or without the DOJ it said.