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Microsoft's IE7 Search Box Bugs Google 803

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the now-wait-a-minute dept.
tessaiga writes "The New York Times reports that Google is crying foul over a new IE7 search box feature that defaults to MSN Search. Although the feature can be modified to use Google or other search engines, Google asserts that "The best way to handle the search box [...] would be to give users a choice when they first start up Internet Explorer 7." Google goes on to assert that the move "limits consumer choice and is reminiscent of the tactics that got Microsoft into antitrust trouble in the late 1990s". I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available."
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Microsoft's IE7 Search Box Bugs Google

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  • Defaults vs. Presets (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:39PM (#15237909) Homepage Journal
    The main difference between the IE7 search box and the Firefox and Opera search boxes is that the IE7 search box comes preloaded with only one search provider: MSN. Firefox and Opera both include a half-dozen or so providers when you install them. (You can add additional search engines in all three.)

    Well, that, and Firefox doesn't have a setting for a "default" provider. It "defaults" to the last one you used, which can be helpful if, say, you use Google most of the time and want to do a bunch of IMDB lookups in a row. (Yes, you can add IMDB as a search engine.) Of course, if you've never used the box before, it starts out with Google...

    Of course, you can always read what the IE team has to say about searching [msdn.com]...
    • by mode_m (967608)
      I thought it was strange that my IE7 beta 2 defaulted to google search...I have the google toolbar installed but the default box is google not msn search. Anyways, Google should stop crying for all the other reasons given (ie; firefox and safari default to google).
      • by sbrown123 (229895) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:58PM (#15238128) Homepage
        There is a major difference between Firefox or Opera defaulting to Google and IE7 defaulting to MSN: neither Firefox or Opera are owned by Google. Google makes no money in the sell of either. Firefox and/or Opera could change their default to MSN if they so desired. Microsoft could even pay them to do that. But Microsoft deploys IE7 and Microsoft makes money on MSN. That is a problem.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:07PM (#15238239)
          Microsoft could even pay them to do that. But Microsoft deploys IE7 and Microsoft makes money on MSN.

          That's not quite what the problem is either.

          The real problem is that it's illegal to abuse monopoly powers by using your (otherwise legal) monopoly in one industry to force users to adopt your inferior product in another industry.

          For a concrete example - if you have a monopoly in Operating Systems, you can NOT use your operating system monopoly to force users to use your online-store or your media-player or your single-sign-on-service. Google's arguing that you are also not allowed to force people to use your search engine either -- and that users are so unlikely to switch default browsers that making this the default in IE is effectively forcing the users.

          Firefox does not have this problem, because it is not illegally abusing any monopoly powers.

          • by Irish_Samurai (224931) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:29PM (#15238485)
            If Google has leading market share in the search marketspace, how can they claim that Microsoft's intent to default to MSN in IE7 is a not competative practice. I see how the argument works from the OS/effective monopoly perspective, but the argument seems a little weak if approached a different way.

            IE defaults to MSN as it's home page, correct? Well, MSN search is there. Google's stating that people won't use their search because users won't change the toolbar default is equivalent to saying that people don't change their default home page - which is untrue.

            Where does this end? The default home page? The toolbar option? At some point this gets ridiculous.

            The problem doesn't stem from not being able to make a choice, because the settings can be changed. The problem stems from the public not even understanding the difference between the competitors and not caring to change. Who's fault is that? The entrenched vendor who has no reason to promote its competitors or the competitor who needs to make consumer education a priority?

            In this case, how do you establish that? The OS is entrenched, but Google market share is significant over MSN's search. I mean hell, its almost 50%. [hitslink.com] How can you argue that your dominance is in danger by a company who holds 8%?
            • by GreyPoopon (411036) <gpoopon@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:48PM (#15238678)
              If Google has leading market share in the search marketspace, how can they claim that Microsoft's intent to default to MSN in IE7 is a not competative practice. I see how the argument works from the OS/effective monopoly perspective, but the argument seems a little weak if approached a different way.

              I would have thought this was an easy question by now. Microsoft has a monopoly in the desktop operating system market. Microsoft leverages this monopoly to gain a new monopoly in the web browser market. Now Microsoft is leveraging the browser monopoly to overthrow its competitors and establish a monopoly in the search engine market. Can't you see where this is going? The rules are different when a company develops a monopoly. Up until that point, a practice like this would be considered shrewd business tactics, and provides healthy competition. In fact, it's even OK for their competitors to use this tactic. But when a company that has a monopoly uses tactics like this, it is considered anticompetitive and illegal. They are using a monopoly in one part of the market to gain market share (and eventually set up a monopoly) in another part of the market.

              IE defaults to MSN as it's home page, correct? Well, MSN search is there. Google's stating that people won't use their search because users won't change the toolbar default is equivalent to saying that people don't change their default home page - which is untrue.

              Actually, it's true. Many people DON'T change their default home page. I helped set up three computers for family and friends in the last two years. Not one of them changed the default page from MSN until I went back later and installed Firefox. In fact, one of them asked me to make MSN the default page for Firefox because that was what they were accustomed to.

              The OS is entrenched, but Google market share is significant over MSN's search. I mean hell, its almost 50%. How can you argue that your dominance is in danger by a company who holds 8%?

              Google does not yet have a monopoly in the search engine market. But for argument's sake, let's assume that they do. If they used their monopoly in the search engine market to push Google OS and Google Office to their customers (at the obvious expense of competitors), then they would be guilty. It's because the OS (Windows) and Internet Explorer are entrenched that Microsoft could easily erode the dominance that Google has. The 8% market share that MSN Search has means nothing. The 90+% market share that Internet Explorer has means EVERYTHING. Think about it.

              • They are using a monopoly in one part of the market to gain market share (and eventually set up a monopoly) in another part of the market.

                When everyone made the switch to Google that gave them dominant market share in search, wasn't the default "search from address bar" setting in IE at MSN? If thats the case, and MS is so awesome at leveraging their monopolies - how did Google gain share? How did they become dominant?

                People keep arguing that MS is leveraging a monopoly that was already in existence when Go
                • When everyone made the switch to Google that gave them dominant market share in search, wasn't the default "search from address bar" setting in IE at MSN?

                  Umm, I think the migration to Google began BEFORE IE had a search from address bar setting, but I could be wrong, here.

                  If thats the case, and MS is so awesome at leveraging their monopolies - how did Google gain share? How did they become dominant?

                  This one is easy. The MSN search was absolutely HORRIBLE before. In order to get decent results, people

            • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:09PM (#15238882)

              If Google has leading market share in the search marketspace, how can they claim that Microsoft's intent to default to MSN in IE7 is a not competative practice.

              Easily. MS is using its monopoly to gain an advantage in the new market. That is the whole point and that is what the law forbids.

              IE defaults to MSN as it's home page, correct? Well, MSN search is there. Google's stating that people won't use their search because users won't change the toolbar default is equivalent to saying that people don't change their default home page - which is untrue.

              No, it is equivalent to them saying not all users will be knowledgeable or motivated enough to change it. Firefox is far superior to IE in most ways. Even the US government recommends all users switch for security reasons. Still most people use IE. That is not because MS has forced them not to switch, it is because most don't know they can or why they should. Thus consumers use an inferior product and everyone suffers (except MS).

              It does not matter that they can switch it. The point is some users won't know they can. Others will know they can, but won't know how. Still others will know they can and how but will be too lazy to bother. The net result is MSN gains marketshare. Can Google set the default browser included with a monopoly on all desktop OS's to google.com? No, they don't have a monopoly to abuse. Thus MS has gained market using their existing monopoly. That is blatantly illegal.

              Where does this end? The default home page? The toolbar option? At some point this gets ridiculous.

              Legally, all of the above that reference a product in another market. If people make money doing something and MS takes part of that money away using their OS monopoly, they have broken the law.

              The problem stems from the public not even understanding the difference between the competitors and not caring to change. Who's fault is that?

              It is not Google's job to educate or motivate the people to have to change, rather the onus is upon MS to not make choices in their OS design or settings for people that gain them market share in other markets than desktop OS's. It is part of the price you pay for having a monopoly. When you're really big, the law says you have to watch where you step so you don't crush those smaller.

              In this case, how do you establish that? The OS is entrenched, but Google market share is significant over MSN's search. I mean hell, its almost 50%. How can you argue that your dominance is in danger by a company who holds 8%?

              MS's market share in Web browsers was 8% once too, before they started bundling it with the OS. Their market share for server OS's was below 8%, before they started tying it to the desktop with secret protocols. Now their products are still inferior, but one has dominated the market entirely and the other is gaining market share. Google has not locked people in in any way to their service. All MS has to do is get their search "good enough" that people won't go out of their way to change settings and they will win with this tactic. That is what is illegal. They aren't winning by producing a product that is better or even as good, just one that is "good enough" and bundled. "Good enough" is not what consumers deserve and the people that make a product that is just "good enough" should not be profiting on it over more innovative companies, just because they already have a monopoly on something else.

              • MS's market share in Web browsers was 8% once too, before they started bundling it with the OS.

                Except that's not true. Microsoft achieved nearly 40% market share BEFORE IE was ever bundled with Windows. People switched to IE because, at the time, it was BETTER than Netscape. Simple as that.

                I suggest you read David Bank's Breaking Windows [amazon.com]. It has a lot of great information about the browser wars and what really happened, as apposed to the popular myths and misinformation proffered on Slashdot.
          • The real problem is that it's illegal to abuse monopoly powers by using your (otherwise legal) monopoly in one industry to force users to adopt your inferior product in another industry.

            Yet, Microsoft is NOT forcing anyone to adopt it. If you want to change it, you can. If someone is so unlikely to switch that's a laziness/ignorance issue on the part of the end user, not Microsoft.

            Regardless of who is making money on what here's the bottom line:

            Firefox defaults to Google, but you can change it.
            IE7 defa
            • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:47PM (#15238660)

              Yet, Microsoft is NOT forcing anyone to adopt it. If you want to change it, you can. If someone is so unlikely to switch that's a laziness/ignorance issue on the part of the end user, not Microsoft.

              You're wrong, both conceptually and under the letter of the law. Will setting MSN as the default search engine gain MS market share for their service? Yes. Can Google gain the same advantage, not having a monopoly on desktop OS's to use? No. Thus MS has gained an unfair advantage by leveraging their monopoly. That is illegal.

              Whether or not this exploiting the fact that people are lazy and ignorant does not figure into it.


    • Firefox and Opera both include a half-dozen or so providers when you install them.

      Yes, but MSN search is conspicously absent from Firefox's supplied search engine list (I don't know about Opera's list).

      Well, that, and Firefox doesn't have a setting for a "default" provider. It "defaults" to the last one you used

      Before you use the search bar, it is defaulted to Google. Looks like a 'default' to me.

      Now, I'm a happy FireFox user myself, but in this case, you really have to call it as you see it. IE users can
      • No, there is grounds for complaint.

        1) Firefox does not own Google.

        2) Firefox is NOT the dominant browser.

        3) Google IS the dominant search engine.

        4) Firefox must be intentionally downloaded as an alternate to Microsoft.

        For these three reasons it is reasonable for Firefox to make Google the default, but it is not reasonable for Microsoft to make their own product the default.

        Because Firefox does not gain from making Google a default, it is more permisable. As a monopoly induced dominant browser,

        • by qodfathr (255387) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:26PM (#15238439)
          Because Firefox does not gain from making Google a default


          Didn't Mozilla.org make a TON of money off of Google referals directly related to the Firefox search box?
      • IE users can (and probably will) add Google to the search list, just as they can (and probably don't) add MSN to Firefox's list. There's really no ground for a complaint here, unless you want to complain about the core isue of a browser being bundled with the OS in the first place.

        Except:

        1) Google doesn't control which search engines are added to Firefox's 'alternate engines' list MS does control which search engines are added to (or removed from) their list)

        2) Firefox doesn't have a dominance in one market
    • by jxyama (821091) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:45PM (#15237998)
      >Of course, if you've never used the box before, it starts out with Google...

      That's precisely what "default" means.

    • by sehryan (412731) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:47PM (#15238010)
      The problem with that defense of Firefox and Google is that Firefox doesn't ask you to specify which one you would like to use, it just defaults to it. And as the summary points out, MSN isn't even an option. Google isn't bitching about that, because it is in their favor (default home page is also a Google site), as opposed to IE7, which isn't.

      The stronger case is made in the fact that, when released, IE7 will become the dominant browser on the market. So whatever the default is set to, is probably going to remain on a bulk of the computers it is on. But if someone is going to bitch about setting a default without asking, the same standard should apply to Firefox/Google.
      • by kimvette (919543) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:29PM (#15238484) Homepage Journal
        Hmm,

        I run Firefox 1.5.0.1 and MSN is indeed an available option. IIRC I did have to select "Add Engines" but it is most definitely in the list now, as is Dictionary, IMDB, and Wikipedia respectively.
      • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday May 01, 2006 @03:06PM (#15239403)

        The problem with that defense of Firefox and Google is that Firefox doesn't ask you to specify which one you would like to use, it just defaults to it.

        • Google - has a monopoly on nothing. Thus it has no ability to illegally leverage a monopoly.
        • Firefox - has a monopoly on nothing. Thus it has no ability to illegally leverage a monopoly.
        • Microsoft - has a monopoly on desktop OS's. Thus it is forbidden from using that desktop OS to gain market share in another market, i.e. search engine services.

        But if someone is going to bitch about setting a default without asking, the same standard should apply to Firefox/Google.

        The same standard is applied. As soon as either of them gains a monopoly and enters into the other's market (or any other market) they will forbidden from abusing the first monopoly from gaining market share in the second. For example, If google dominates the search services industry and is declared a monopoly it is illegal for them to intentionally change their search algorithm to always return GoogleOS or GoogleBrowser as the first search result for "OS" or "Web browser."

        Microsoft is in the wrong here.

    • by Muerte2 (121747) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:55PM (#15238095) Homepage
      I don't know where you got your information. My copy of IE7 came with: MSN, Yahoo, Google, and Ebay. I quickly switched from MSN to Google in about 3 seconds. Then I remembered I was running IE7 and promptly switched back to Firefox.
      • by Kelson (129150) *
        I don't know where you got your information.

        I got it from installing IE7 beta 2 and clicking on the down arrow next to the search bar. MSN was the only search engine in the list, but there was an option to add more providers. Google was, indeed, on the page that led to.

        My copy of IE7 came with: MSN, Yahoo, Google, and Ebay.

        Just to hazard a guess, do you happen to have the Yahoo and/or Google toolbars for IE? According to the IE blog, they pick up settings from any search toolbars that are installed.
    • by MtViewGuy (197597) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:07PM (#15238244)
      Talk about sour grapes.

      When you first install Firefox, the default search provider is Google, and in fact Google even kindly provides their own startup page for Firefox users!

      The fact you can easily change the configuration of Internet Explorer 7.0 to default to Google instead of MSN Search shows that (IMO) Microsoft hasn't really done anything wrong.
    • by Androclese (627848) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:32PM (#15238522)
      The main difference between the IE7 search box and the Firefox and Opera search boxes is that the IE7 search box comes preloaded with only one search provider: MSN. Firefox and Opera both include a half-dozen or so providers when you install them. (You can add additional search engines in all three.)

      Everybody is missing the primary point. You almost got it right, but your first sentence went a few words too long.

      The main difference between the IE7 and the Firefox and Opera is that the IE7 search box comes preloaded.

      IE will come with any new OS. Firefox and Opera will not.

      IE is, by definition a Default & Preset. IE is forced upon you, Firefox and Opera is chosen.

      That is where the compaint is based from.

  • Safari search (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mapinguari (110030) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:40PM (#15237921)
    Google didn't complain much when Safari came out with a Google-only search box.
    • The funny thing is (Score:3, Interesting)

      by PhrostyMcByte (589271)
      The initial IE7 beta actually had a 5 or 6 useful search providers- including Google. I'm guessing suits hadn't gotten to it at that time. A couple betas later it only had MSN.
  • by Poromenos1 (830658) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:40PM (#15237929) Homepage
    Microsoft didn't cry foul about that either, I think Google is wrong (or not very right, anyway) in this case.
    • To me, this brings up the entire issue of all of the antitrust action against Microsoft. Is MS a bully monopoly that violates anti trust laws? You bet. Is adding it's own WMP to the desktop of MS operating systems the most egregious case of this? I've never thought so.
      • You seem to be saying that it is not ok for Microsoft do to things that other companies engage in... like Google, you know the company that will pay you a buck for having someone install FireFox whose default search provider is Google.

        Pathetic.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:41PM (#15237934) Journal

    From the slashdot summary:

    I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pull-down menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available.

    Google's concern and complaint is Microsoft is once again leveraging their monopoly in their Windows domain to control unfairly users' choice to some other market or product, in this case, search engine choice. It could be problematic, maybe even legally, that Microsoft sets the default search to theirs, even though they offer other choices. I agree with Google's complaint and would like to see Microsoft forced to make choosing the search engine part of the setup procedure.

    As for the slashdot summary observation Firefox hasn't done the same, Firefox has no monopoly and is therefor in no way obligated in the same way as Microsoft to change the default behavior.

    As an aside, and a question, has anyone else had trouble with IE7? In keeping with "knowing your enemy", I installed IE7, and it crashes consistently every time I open up a new page in a new tab. Anyone else seen this?

    • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:47PM (#15238013) Journal
      I agree with the parent post, but I'll attempt to target the real problems with the analogy a little more concretely.

      The most important difference here is that Google is not a subsidiary or owned by the Mozilla Foundation whereas MSN is owned by Microsoft.

      Firefox and Google are two companies that are (to my knowledge) completely independent. Firefox can choose whatever search engine they want to set to default. On top of that, you don't pay for Firefox where you kind of paid for IE7.

      The author's analogy of:
      I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available."
      Is, in my opinion, a poor one. A Mozilla based browser is free for almost any operating system while IE7 is free ... so long as you've purchased Windows [microsoft.com].

      To recap, Microsoft putting Microsoft as the default search engine is bad because they are using their operating system and browser market dominance to corner the search engine market. They have no right to do that. Where would we make them stop? It's kind of a slippery slope. It's fine that they've put unlimited funds toward web search and the console market--it's not fine if their forcing or even defaulting their users to themselves in other markets.
    • In keeping with "knowing your enemy", I installed IE7, and it crashes consistently every time I open up a new page in a new tab.

      It is a microsoft beta software. What else do u expect. Just be happy that it only crashed, instead of killing your family and burning down your house
    • by MikeRT (947531)
      Firefox, Opera and Safari together have at a minimum 10% of the market, and by some estimates probably have at least more realistically around 15-20% now. Have you forgotten that Microsoft ceded the entire Mac browser market to Apple? Every desktop Linux installation is in a similar situation.

      Yes, that's such a monopoly. There's no viable competition since the competition only has a low double digit marketshare as opposed to 50% or more!

      Why aren't you bitching about Google trying to buy its way into the sam
    • Microsoft continues the illegal leveraging of their Windows desktop monopoly in the marketplace. What a surprise.

      No matter how much Microsoft's PR drones say that Microsoft is going to behave better in the marketplace, a true and sustainable change in Microsoft's behavior will come about only when Gates and Ballmer leave the company.

    • Since you're trying IE7, can you comment on MS's statement that the default search is 'easy to change?' Does it have a simple pull-down like FF, or do you have to dig through eight levels of tabs and buttons?
    • Microsoft is once again leveraging their monopoly in their Windows domain to control unfairly users' choice to some other market or product, in this case, search engine choice. It could be problematic, maybe even legally, that Microsoft sets the default search to theirs, even though they offer other choices.

      MS could probably argue that nobody is forced to install IE 7 and that this particular version therefore has no monopoly in the browser market. Remember that after IE 6 was released in 2001, it took q

    • it crashes consistently

      Oh, that feature's been in there at least since 4.0!
  • One other detail (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vengeance (46019) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:41PM (#15237936)
    Firefox isn't a Google product, and isn't subject to the same sorts of antitrust restrictions that IE is. Various combinations that rhyme with 'Clucking Nidiot' were going through my head when I read the blurb.
  • by Verteiron (224042) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:41PM (#15237942) Homepage
    Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, and thus is subject to a different set of rules. If Firefox had 90% of the browser market then things might be different. As it stands, however, Firefox can include or exclude whoever they want. Microsoft may not be able to.

    At least, that's the excuse Google can use. Frankly I'm inclined to think it's "just business".
    • > Microsoft is a convicted monopolist, and thus is subject to a different set of rules.

      Keyword: convicted. Now, you got that right out of my mouth. Mod parent up!

    • This phrase has always bothered me. Apart from the fact that Microsoft wasn't "convicted" of being a monopolist (the DOJ went out of their way to say that Microsoft's monopoly wasn't illegel, The term "conviction" infers criminal proceedings but Microsoft's anti-trust trial was a civil action. Further, the judgement was overturned on appeal, and Microsoft settled with the DOJ, even negating the idea of a judgement.

      So, not only would it appear to be inaccurate, but it just makes you look like an idiot to u
  • by Shayde (189538) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:42PM (#15237953) Homepage
    I'd hardly call this an antitrust issue. A microsoft product is referrign to a microsoft search engine. It's very easy to change it to use a different one. It's when Microsoft makes it impossible to use anything _BUT_ their own products that there's serious problems. Case in point is the inability to 'remove' IE at all, and Microsoft's assertion that it was impossible to do so (then later making versions of windows that have IE removed).

    I think Google is starting to feel the pinch. They've tweaked the lumbering behemoth that is Microsoft, and Billy boy is fighting back the best way he can. Back room deals, silent contracts, and subtle manipulation of the market. Google should be more worried about Microsoft pushing their products into the colleges and large businesses, not what the default search engine on one box in one browser is.
  • by xmas2003 (739875) * on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:42PM (#15237955) Homepage
    Article points to page 2 - here is page 1. [com.com] Note also that Markoff contributed to the reporting.

    Nice writeup submitter as you presented an excellent balanced example rather than the often one-sided point of view.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:43PM (#15237959)
    Google should auto-magically have a script that makes it the default search engine when an Internet Explorer user visits http://www.google.com/ [google.com] to make a search.
  • Firefox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kohath (38547) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:43PM (#15237963)
    I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google

    - Google doesn't make firefox
    - Google isn't a monopoly
    - Firefox isn't a monopoly

    Your comment is irrelevant. I hear that Adobe Premier doesn't let you search on Alta-Vista too.
    • MSIE has included search functionality that has pointed to MSN for ages. It's just now that Microsoft is moving it into a separate search bar (like every other major browser) that there's suddenly a problem. This is nothing more than Google using the courts as a weapon. That makes them just as evil as any other abuser of the justice system.
    • Re:Firefox (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ecuador_gr (944749) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:54PM (#15238084) Homepage

      If you want to push this argument, I have to tell you that Google is very close to being a monopoly, and that is exactly how they got Firefox to default to them.

      And as a personal rant I have to say that as a consumer I have never felt hurt by MS's monopoly (my Linux box is doing fine right next to my XP box - thank you very much), however I have been hurt by telco monopoly numerous times. Maybe some articles devoted to the woes that our dependance on companies like Time Warner Cable on monopoly markets would be a refreshing change to all the MS bashing on slashdot.

      • Re:Firefox (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:45PM (#15239193)
        If you want to push this argument, I have to tell you that Google is very close to being a monopoly, and that is exactly how they got Firefox to default to them.


        Its not illegal to be a monopoly (and even less so a near monopoly) in one market and, as a result of that, to have other players then promote your monopoly (or near-monopoly) product in its own market.

        It is illegal to leverage your monopoly power in one market to gain an unfair advantage in another market.

        Now, my guess is that using MSN search as a default in IE (which, IIRC, predates IE7; if you type an invalid address into the IE6 address bar the default behavior, ISTR, is an MSN search -- I can't check because even though I have IE6, mine has Google Toolbar which replaces the default behavior with a Google search) probably doesn't reach to that level, and, insofar as it does, the IE7 search box behavior is probably less problematic than the pre-IE7 address bar behavior.

        But to pretend that there was some parallel between Microsoft using its OS dominance to push the MSN search system through the IE browser it controls, and Google using its search dominance to push Google search through the Firefox browser which it doesn't control is, well, missing the point rather badly.
  • Makes sense (Score:2, Insightful)

    Microsoft is releasing a browser which you DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE (it won't be tied into the system as IE currently is), and it defaults to their search engine. Makes sense, if you ask me. What's wrong about this? If it was to give you a choice upon startup of MSN, Google, or Yahoo, they wouldn't get as many search queries. Have they done anything wrong? No. It's not even unethical.
    • Yes It Will (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Iscariot_ (166362) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:02PM (#15238177)
      It's the default browser in Vista, come '07 your statement is wrong. And that's the big problem here. IE is bundled with an OS (Vista) and Firefox is not. If IE was a completely seperate application then I'd have no problem here, but with Vista that is not the case.

      On another note, Google doesn't own Safari or Firefox, so they can pick whatever default search they want.
  • I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available.

    Completely irrelevant. It's not Google's place to be fighting Microsoft's battles for it. I'm not even touching the fact that Microsoft has been found to be a monopoly. I'm sure there are dozens of others who will m

  • would not change (Score:2, Interesting)

    by supe (163410) *
    I tried changing the default search to google and it would take.
    Is this because it's beta? I didn't like the thinbg anyhow. And too,
    a new home page wouldn't take either not even about:blank
  • Adding MSN Search (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SeanDuggan (732224) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:44PM (#15237968) Homepage Journal
    I agree that Google is being a bit hypcritical here. It makes business sense that they don't want MSN to be the default, especially since Microsoft is also muscling into the search engine wars, but I think their case would have been stronger if they'd included MSN search in their search options on installation. Then again, part of me is wondering if that might not have caused legal problems in and of itself. "Appropriation of competiting technology and repackaging under a different brand name" or somesuch.
  • by 3770 (560838) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:44PM (#15237975) Homepage
    It's not Googles job to cry foul over things that benefit them. Especially, when it is a third party software.

    Complaining about Google being default in Firefox is Microsofts job (or Yahoo or someone else). However, if Microsoft had complained about that they would have _had_ to make it optional in IE7 as well. So, Microsoft kept quiet about that.

    If Google had complained about them being the default in FireFox then they would have been on the moral high ground when complaining about IE7. But they wouldn't be in a much better position to convince Microsoft though.
  • Google didn't write Firefox. Microsoft did write IE7 AND MSN Search. If Google wrote Firefox and put their search in, that would be hypocritical. That's not the case.

    This is another instance of Microsoft using its dominance in one market to force its way into another market. They used Windows to force themselves into the browser market, and now that they dominate the browser market they're using it to force themselves into the search market.
  • It isn't Google's responsibility to complain that Firefox doesn't have MSN search in their search box. Microsoft is the one that should bring up that issue. Furthermore, there is a difference in that Microsoft is both the manufacturer of the browser and the search engine. Google doesn't own Firefox.


    All that said, I don't see any problem with Microsoft doing this as long as the browser isn't bundled with the OS.

  • I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available.

    I don't use Firefox, but I'll assume what you're saying is correct ...

    What Firefox does isn't abusing what may be considered a monopoly power. Microsoft, on the other hand, is using their power in one field to force

    • What Firefox does isn't abusing what may be considered a monopoly power.

      Although it can be argued that Google is a market force in the search market the same way Microsoft is a dominant force in the Desktop OS market. Sure there's Linux, and maybe a few SkyOS or whatever BeOS is called nowadays, the same way there's yahoo search or askjeeves or msn search compared to google.

      I like google, but in this case they are wrong. They've benefited from the a similar marriage that they are wanting to stop.
  • I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available.

    I seem to miss the business need for Google to demand more competitors into the Firefox search. Of course Google is going to cry foul over the IE issue, it is a disadvantage to them. But I'm not sure why Google needs

  • Ok, a choice between what? Who gets to decide which serach engines get listed as choices and which dont?
  • pay attention man (Score:3, Informative)

    by tehwebguy (860335) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:47PM (#15238012) Homepage
    "I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search"

    it only has 2 web search engines, the rest are specialized (ebay, answers.com, etc) but it DOES include an "Add Engines" link. the page it leads you to does have MSN search
  • Don't search!!!!! (Score:5, Informative)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:47PM (#15238015)
    "The best way to handle the search box [...] would be to give users a choice when they first start up Internet Explorer 7."

    OTOH, I would much prefer it DOES NOT search for anything. For example, if I type in stuff like 'wwwww.yahoo.com', that STUPID IE just search for it and with the address bar ending up modifed as "http://sea.search.msn.com/dnserror.aspx?FORM=DNSA S&q=wwwww.yahoo.com". Now I need to go delete those characters to modify the original URL!! Ernest

  • I notice that in my version of Firefox the search box defaults to Google, and that the pulldown menu of pre-entered options doesn't even include MSN Search, but Google seems to have been oddly quiet on that front for the many years prior to IE7 that Firefox has made this feature available.

    This is true, but there is a slight difference... Firefox and Google are 2 different entitities, whereas IE and MSN search are both owned by Microsoft. IE has 90% of the browser market share, thus its decision to set MS

  • by everphilski (877346) on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:50PM (#15238042) Journal
    Click the magnifying glass, click "Find search providers." You get a list of providers, including Google and Wikipedia.

    Google needs to buck up and become a man, whining doesn't get you much of anywhere. Just like Firefox and Opera you can change your default search engine.

    I also thought it was pretty interesting that IE supports OpenSearch [wikipedia.org], an open standard to add search engines (unlike FF and Opera).

  • by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1&verizon,net> on Monday May 01, 2006 @12:50PM (#15238043) Homepage
    " Google goes on to assert that the move "limits consumer choice and is reminiscent of the tactics that got Microsoft into antitrust trouble in the late 1990s".

    I like Google, but this does not limit consumer choice. IE7 doesn't *block* google's web site. You can add Google search to their search box....

    Antitrust would be if when you go to google.com or altavista.com and what not and it automatically goes to MSN.com. And if you use Google in the search box it doesn't limit the searches. Sorry. Google's wrong this one. And they should be careful now. Backwards steps can cause a giant to fall.
  • A lot of people are bringing up the same points about how you have choice in firefox and what have you, what I'm wondering is; does anybody use the little search bar anyway? I have a personalised google home-page as my home and everytime I want to search for something I open up a new tab an go there... I even try not to (because using the search bar gets firefox money and I'm too poor to donate - so it seems nice) but I just can't remember and end up opening a new tab out of habbit... does anyone use them?
  • Call us a Luddite, but we hates the "auto-search"

    When I copy and paste a link like "http://internal/dontgoogle/this.php" into my Mozilla or Firefox text field, I'm often greeted with a crappy little "Google could not find any documents that matched..." screen. I suppose there's a way to turn the auto-search off (I never want it to fire), but I'd be happier if it wasn't there at all.

    I also think there's a small security risk with auto-search taking over URL fields; every once in a while developers are know
  • Search capability (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@optRABB ... minus herbivore> on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:10PM (#15238267) Journal

    Here's a little trick for Google users who are going to use IE7: go to the address bar and type "www.google.com." Voila!

    This is so much pissing in the wind. Google needs to get over itself and Microsoft needs a good, swift kick in the browser. Who cares! Use the browser you want to use and use the search engine you want to use! Until browsers start blocking particular search URLs of search engines refuse to run in certain browsers, there is... say it with me now... nothing to see here!

  • My GM car... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DavidD_CA (750156) on Monday May 01, 2006 @01:45PM (#15238647) Homepage
    I got real pissed off at GM Cars for including a GM Radio in their GM Car.

    Sure, I know I can change it to some other brand like Clarion or Bose. But damnit, the default installation was a GM Radio and that's just not right.

    Clarion and Bose should file a complaint, because clearly GM Radios have a monopoly on GM cars and it's anti-competitive for GM Cars.
  • by buffy (8100) * <buffy AT parapet DOT net> on Monday May 01, 2006 @02:47PM (#15239227) Homepage
    Microsoft owns their browser and is using it to leverage their other property--MSN search, or whatever they're calling it these days. Google does NOT own Firefox--Firefox is a third party. Microsoft is using one hand of their monopolistic giant to put money into their other hand. Google is not, and as such, as a valid point, IMHO.

    That said, of COURSE it works to their [Google's] advantage that Firefox behaves in such a manner. However, that doesn't mean that the Mozilla Foundation isn't free to switch their default over to MSN if their user base overwhelmingly requests it.

    -buf
  • by spideyct (250045) on Monday May 01, 2006 @07:51PM (#15241605)
    I installed one of the first IE7 beta releases. I was surprised that the new search box includes a drop down that lets you change to AOL, Yahoo, Google, or Ask Jeeves (but defaults to MSN). I selected Google once, it worked as expected, but the next time I launched IE, it was set back to MSN Search. Without digging much further, I figured that was just how it had to be... Microsoft was giving space to the others, but still asserting its control.

    Then when I browsed to the Google homepage, I got a little DHTML pop-up window that said something to the effect of "hey, you're using IE7, wanna change the default for your searchbox to use Google?" Perfect, I had wanted to do that, and I guess they figured out how. So I press OK. I restarted IE7, and sure enough, my default search was now Google. Thanks Google.

    Except, a funny thing happened when I let Google change my settings. That list of alternate search engines that Microsoft had provided, for the user's benefit, was now replaced by a single choice: Google. Yes, I wanted Google as my default, but I never said I wanted Google as the only choice! That's annoying.

    That is when I noticed the Search Settings... menu option at the bottom of the search bar's menu. It includes a Restore Defaults... button, which does exactly that. I clicked it, and all of my search engines were back (and MSN Search was back to being the default). From that Search Settings screen, I selected Google, and clicked Set Default. Now Google was my default search engine, AND I still had the choice of selecting a different engine from the drop down. That is what I wanted. Why didn't Google give me what I wanted?

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