Connecticut AG looking into Google's charge against Microsoft

The U.S. government rejected Google's initial complaint that Microsoft was engaging in anticompetitive behavior, but at least one state attorney general is willing to look into it.

When Google recently charged that Microsoft was engaging in anticompetitive behavior because its Windows Vista operating system doesn't accommodate Google's Desktop Search software, the U.S. government rejected the complaint. But at least one state lawmaker is willing to investigate Google's allegations: Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general, said Monday that he was taking Google's allegations seriously and would continue to look into the matter. Several other state attorneys general are also participating; Blumenthal's office did not put out a formal statement, but confirmed that the attorney general was working on such an investigation.

"We'd been working with state and federal antitrust officials for two years prior to the release of Windows Vista to make sure that there were no concerns about the features that were incorporated into that product," said Microsoft spokesman Jack Evans on Tuesday. "We don't believe that there are any compliance concerns with Desktop Search." Evans added that Microsoft is willing to discuss ways to resolve any issues that other parties have raised.

Google representatives have not responded to requests for comment.

Google initially voiced concerns about the then-unreleased Vista's lack of support for its Desktop Search over a year ago. In its recent complaint, the details of which were made public over the weekend, the company alleged that Vista did not permit the downloadable search application to run properly, and claimed that it showed anticompetitive behavior on Microsoft's part--in other words, that it was making it difficult for third-party applications to run in Vista.

It's a dispute with quite a backstory. After a long and heavily publicized antitrust battle with the Justice Department several years ago, Microsoft reached a settlement in 2002 that required it to open up application program interfaces and communications protocols to third-party developers so that they would be able to create applications that would run effectively in the Windows operating system. The terms of the agreement expire in November.

Microsoft, meanwhile, has been critical of Google's recent bid to purchase ad firm DoubleClick, also citing anticompetitive behavior.

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About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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