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Google To Microsoft — Give Users Choices In Vista 240

Posted by Zonk
from the give-choice-a-chance dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Google spokesman has asked Microsoft to 'preserve user choice for search and other applications' with its future products, such as Vista. The spokesman made this comment after meeting with European Union antitrust regulators, though he added that at this point, the company has no plans to make antitrust allegations against Redmond. Notably, McAfee and Symantec have accused Microsoft of not being forthcoming with the code they need to ensure their security wares run smoothly on Vista, and the EU has already expressed concern about Microsoft's potentially anticompetitive plans."
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Google To Microsoft — Give Users Choices In Vista

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:44AM (#16656551)
    From Microsoft?

    Madness, I say! utter madness! And FUD!
    • Microsoft is actually in a bit of a bind if you think about it. They've been raking in money for decades, but they're totally dependent on the Windows tax and MS Office. They already have monopolies with Windows and Office so they can't grow without introducing something new or squeezing the installed base (Activation, WGA, upgrade restrictions, 31 flavors, etc). The only other products they make with significant market share operate at a loss (i.e. Xbox).

      Vista has taken so long because MS has to spend

      • One thing MS does have majorly in its favour for business is integration, which no OSS offering I've seen comes close to. Although yes it uses horrible MS only standards, since everybody uses the MS tools in business it's mostly irrelevant. Active Directory links with SharePoint links with Office links with Outlook links with Exchange links with Windows Mobile...

        As soon as somebody comes up with a solid, reliable, open standard for universally exchanging data, then it may be possible to dismantle some of th
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:45AM (#16656577)
    Why should Microsoft have to maintain broken code just to preserve McAfee and Symantec revenue streams? That's like saying that, say, Ford shouldn't redesign defective brakes on their cars because it would hurt the sales of aftermarket brake parts.
    • I agree, the aftermarket security products came about due to crappy insecure code in previous MS products. Now I am by far not a fan of MS, I use *bsd products on all my systems. But if MS is going to go the extra mile to secure there product (and it actually is secure), thats a good thing..... Right?? I mean letting the security venders install there code on top of MS's supposedly secure code could in theory introduce holes, I will use Symantec as an example, they have a vulnerability in there code that
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        their there they're - Learn them. Use them. You sound like an eight year old.
        • Actually, he writes like an 8 year old. He sounds just fine. :-)
      • by Fordiman (689627)
        "crappy insecure code in previous MS products"

        Heh. Previous, current, future. I've heard the 'most secure OS ever' schtick before. Hype does not a good product make, and MS has pretty much proven itself the be more capable of the former than the latter.

        It could be a prettied up XP with incomplete security packages and feature rot (which is what I've been hearing from beta testers who haven't been paid to say otherwise). It could be the One True OS that blows the rest of 'em out of the water. History poi
        • My opinion is that it's going to be worthless until about SP2 - right when all MS products start being useful.

          You misspelled useable.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)
          Microsoft is nowhere near the "most secure OS ever" mark. That probably has to go to OpenBSD, unless it goes to Trusted Solaris. Linux is probably #2, with selinux, but it might be #1 in a fully locked selinux config. But at the same time, they have made great strides in usability, reliability, and security - it's just that pretty much everyone else has made greater strides and most everyone else started out in front of them anyway.
    • by Chosen Reject (842143) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @10:05AM (#16656803)
      I don't think you understand. McAfee and Symantec aren't complaining that Vista is better and more secure. They're complaint is that Microsoft won't give them the API to low level kernel stuff so that they can detect viruses, while at the same time, Microsoft is going to use that same API for their own virus detection. This isn't Ford continuing to make defective brakes so that third-party brake manufacturers can still be in business, this is Ford some how magically making the brake design unknown to anyone else in the world so that only Ford can make brake replacements. Though in a physical world I don't know how they would do that. This is only possible in software.
      • by joshetc (955226)
        There should be no easy way for any company to have access to low level kernal functions. I think Microsoft's gripe is just that. They have made it so no virus should be able to get to that low of a level thereby erasing the need for an antivirus application to be that low. Any virii should be in user-space which is where antivirus should be looking..
        • They have made it so no virus should be able to get to that low of a level thereby erasing the need for an antivirus application to be that low. Any virii should be in user-space which is where antivirus should be looking..

          A) Microsoft and its security track record thus far have in no way demonstrated that they have comprehensively eliminated the ability of a virus to infect the kernel. Why should we trust them when they say "trust us?" Additionally, why does Microsoft's own antivirus offering use the low
      • by Tim C (15259)
        McAfee and Symantec aren't complaining that Vista is better and more secure. They're complaint is that Microsoft won't give them the API to low level kernel stuff so that they can detect viruses, while at the same time, Microsoft is going to use that same API for their own virus detection.

        I have to wonder why, of the half a dozen or more companies that produce Windows AV software, they are the only two to be complaining...
        • by mgblst (80109)
          They are the biggest, the other really amount to nothing in the Corporate world. They could complain, but it wouldn't mean a great deal.

          The issue comes down to do you trust Microsoft to secure its OS or not - personally I don't. Micrsoft has made claims about secure OS before, but if the number and sophistication of vulnerabilites released is anything to go on, then it seems to be getting less secure, not more secure.

          Do you trust Microsoft, well do you, punk?
          • by Tim C (15259)
            Reducing the scope for interfering with the running kernel can only be a good thing from a security point of view. McCafe and Symantec may well be the big two, but if what MS want to do would prevent AV software from running then all AV vendors would be complaining, as they'd all be staring at a long, slow death; being smaller wouldn't keep them quiet, and if I were one, I sure as hell wouldn't rely on a competitor to complain on my behalf.

            Personally, I'd rather the security of the OS were improved, than I
      • by master_p (608214)
        You are right, but it is not even possible in software...given enough time and powerful tools, one can reverse-engineer an operating system and get access to the required knowledge; and since hackers can do it in 0 days from the software release, so can companies...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PsychicX (866028)

        while at the same time, Microsoft is going to use that same API for their own virus detection

        Is there any evidence that this is actually true? The things I know are:

        • The new Microsoft guideline thingies say, no using undocumented or non-public APIs.
        • The kernel and low level system guys gets pretty angry when software uses undocumented functionality. That stuff is undocumented precisely because it's not intended to be used.
        • Windows Defender, like any other program, is easy to analyze. Determining a complete
      • by Thaelon (250687)
        I have no sympathy either. Their products suck. Plain and simple. For the full rant, read here [slashdot.org].
      • by EXMSFT (935404)
        Microsoft won't be using the native API's either. McAfee and Symantec just want to use the crappy, cobbled together kernel hooking mechanisms they've used in the past, which will no longer be available for any vendor - including Microsoft, to use. McAfee and Symantec need to grow up a little and learn the proper ways to do this without needing to hack the Windows kernel.
    • As soon as Ford holds 90% of the car market we'll discuss it, ok?

      Monopolies (or almost-monopolies) deserve different treatment than actually contested markets.
      • by rbarreira (836272)
        So when Ford has 90% of the market, they shouldn't be allowed to fix their brakes?
        • The general idea of the reply was that you cannot compare one with the other, for various reasons.

          First, cars are not computers. So far, nobody has been killed by a lunatic clicking every single piece of crap that lands on his inbox. I wish it was possible, so some people would be kept off the net. But that's not the only analogy that simply does not hold a drop of water when it comes to cars and computers.

          And second, in hardly any other business sector a single company holds a comparable position of power.
    • Why should Microsoft have to maintain broken code
      • Punishment (but, then, the US seems to have lost its nerve for holding anyone accountable)
      • Staying in character
      • Maintaining the status quo. Since the US lacks the courage to minimize anti-competitive practices by requiring companies to operate in a single layer of the OSI model. (Such an idea may indeed suck, but it is at least enforceable).
      • by Fordiman (689627)
        'requiring companies to operate in a single layer of the OSI model'

        That's a shockingly good idea.

        Thing is, it would DESTROY Apple.
        • ?
          Apple mainly sells OS X.
          MicroSoft sells Office for the Mac.
          This would seem a good example of what I'm trying to say: while a purist would say that the market should manage itself, the anti-competitive leverage of the OS/application duo, as eventually excreted by Redmond, is arguably not helping the consumer.
          • The point the grandparent is making is that Apple works on just about every layer of the OSI model. It's their software running on their OS, working with their hardware. The suggestion would tear that end to end user experience apart.
            • How so? It would certainly different if all vendors worked to published standards.
              Certainly, if you're a vendor, the idea utterly sucks.
              The question is whether the unfairness is evenly spread across vendor, market, and buyer.
              "tear that end to end user experience apart" seems somewhat subjective.
  • by rainman_bc (735332) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:46AM (#16656581)
    If McAfee and Norton didn't make products that suck resources real bad. If ever there was a product that could be called bloatware, those two are it. Give me Trend AV any day thanks.

    Then again I'm on my Linux laptop running no AV software.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by orielbean (936271)
      Here is a question for the knowledgeable - which of the AV products (free and otherwise) are the BEST for resources and still competent at catching problems?

      Is Trend the smallest footprint? I would love some answers from the people here.
    • by mgblst (80109)
      Agreed. The only thing worse that McAfee and Norton software is Microsofts software. And herein lies the problem.
  • by phorest (877315) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:46AM (#16656591) Journal
    [start reply] Get a life.
  • sure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by illuminatedwax (537131) <stdrangeNO@SPAMalumni.uchicago.edu> on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @09:58AM (#16656721) Journal
    Sure, they'll do it just as soon as Firefox stops choosing Google by default.
    • by manno (848709)
      They can make MS the default search system, Google is just asking MS to allow the user to select other search engines.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by ksalter (1009029)
        When you first upgrade to IE 7, the first page that appears is a configuration page. The first item is selecting your search engine. You can either take the current one (which defaults to the Microsoft Live Search) or choose a different one. If you select the second option, you are taken to a page with almost every search engine on it to choose from, or you can put your own selection in if it is not listed. So, you can. Google's complaint is without merit.
        • by kjart (941720)

          When you first upgrade to IE 7, the first page that appears is a configuration page. The first item is selecting your search engine. You can either take the current one (which defaults to the Microsoft Live Search) or choose a different one. If you select the second option, you are taken to a page with almost every search engine on it to choose from, or you can put your own selection in if it is not listed. So, you can. Google's complaint is without merit.

          This is entirely correct, which I why I was scratc

        • by lseltzer (311306)
          Mod parent up.

          Not only are you asked what search engine you want to use when you install IE7, but with Vista OEMs can make deals with whatever search engine they want (Google, Yahoo, Alexa, whatever) and set that as the default.

          Google has too much money on their hands if they are paying lawyers to secure an order for Microsoft to do what they're already doing.
      • by joshetc (955226)
        Last week someone showed me something really cool. They said, "Check this out, go to www.google.com". So I did it. You won't believe what I saw. It actually let me use Google as my search engine! ON INTERNET EXPLORER IT WORKED!!

        Seriously, fuck all these search bars. I'm sick of them wasting space. Whats wrong with just going to the website you want and searching for what you want? Anyone that cares about Google as the default search for their toolbar would know enough to get firefox and use their toolbar an
      • I don't really know what Google is ranting about. Google is 2 clicks away as the default search engine in IE7.

        I perfectly understand why Microsoft doesn't want to show a stupid "Pick your default search engine" dialog box at startup - that would be stupid.

        Really, this is one issue I don't agree with Google on.

        Now, if there comes to light something in Vista that, for example, prevents Google Desktop from being installed, then I would be very upset.

        • by Khuffie (818093)
          I was actually surprised that when I upgraded to IE7 on XP, Google WAS the default search engine on it, and there wasn't even an option for Live search in the dropdown box (I had to go to MS's site and add it). On Vista, it was the opposite.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          Come on, nobody deserves to use that Microsoft POS (and I am not talking about cash registers here), by default or overwise. Sure, I understand that society is filled with all types, and some people like to be punished, but they should have to go out of the way to do it, not the other way around.

          Maybe in YOUR world, you use your Microsoft OS to load up your Microsoft browser to search the Microsoft search site and get in your Microsoft car and drive on Microsoft roads to go to the Microsoft shop and pick up
    • Sure, they'll do it just as soon as Firefox stops choosing Google by default.

      Which is especially relevant because Google created Firefox . . .

    • Microsoft is a monopoly. Mozilla is not.

    • When I installed the official Firefox 1.5 binary on Windows and OS X for the first time, it wouldn't perform any searches until I selected a search engine with the drop down...
  • Is there anyone else who thinks it's a little unfair for Microsoft to criticized for cutting out Symantec, etc. They've been railed for years on their complete lack of security focus, probably nowhere more than here. They're finally attempting to fill that need (admittedly in microsoft fashion), and now it's unfair to AV software makers? C'mon Symantec and others built their business around securing an insecure OS, it's not the OS's fault for finally working to secure itself. Sure MS could open up more of t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by orasio (188021)
      Te issue is that they are a monopoly right now.
      Monopolists don't have the same rights than other people.
      So they can't do what others can.
      One thing is this: using their OS monopoly to impose their AV solution.
      That is anti-competitive. You might say that it's not fair, but when you are talking about monopolies, the meaning of fairness changes, because they don't compete under the same conditions.
      • by kthejoker (931838)
        And to get at the heart of the matter, what we as a society (indeed, a world community almost) are saying is, "You have a monopoly on OSes. You make *so damn much* money on your monopoly, that you don't need any more monopolies."

        And if you agree with that statement - that one monopoly is enough for any company - then you are right with God.

        Whether this is true or not remains to be seen. But we have made our bed.
      • by kthejoker (931838)
        Oh, and what exactly are all of those Vs attacking that AV vendors want to have a shot at? Microsoft software, that's what.

        I can understand most of the antitrust stuff - Internet browsers, accounting software, Office programs, etc - but AV software is unique because it is protecting another piece of software. It cannot exist in a vacuum - some other piece of software must exist before AV software can exist.

        In this case, it's Microsoft software. I don't necessarily believe that Microsoft supplying their own
      • by tshak (173364)
        Monopolists don't have the same rights than other people.
        You're right, but I'm amazed at how many people pretend to understand what restrictions are actually imposed. It's complicated. You're not a lawyer. Even lawyers don't fully understand it because it's not black and white.

        One thing is this: using their OS monopoly to impose their AV solution.
        This is almost like saying that they're also imposing their file system solution too because they won't expose certain API's.

        That is anti-competitive.
    • Is there anyone who thinks it's a little unfair for a big monopoly to hide the programming interface, locking out a whole bunch of software providers? Yes, I think that's unfair. I should think the EU have an opinion too. Cutting out the AV providers doesn't count as a security measure.
    • by db32 (862117)
      Linux and BSD don't seem to have a problem working on security without locking other people out from making security tools. Why is MS any different? Why is their "security" locking other people out? I realize the technical implementations are fairly different, but that doesn't affect the reasons for being critical of the MS lockout attempt in the name of security. That being said, I really have no sympathy for the AV makers since the arguement is absolutely correct about securing an insecure OS, and pay
    • It's only unfair if MS is using the guise of security to cut out competitors. MS is trying to secure their OS by eliminating low level kernel APIs. AV makers have used these APIs for years. However, is MS using these same APIs themselves in their own security products? MS says that it is not. Whether you believe them is how distrustful you are of MS.
  • Why, is Microsoft actually considering blocking browser users from going to Google.com ??
    • IE 7 asks you which search provider you wish to use when you install it. NO big deal if you ask me, not like google doesn't have brand recognition.
      • by krell (896769)
        Oh. No difference to me then. I always avoid using a browser's built-in search ability. I just enter www.google.com or a9.com or whatever in the address window and then search on the site.
  • Could it possibly be that Google, with their rapidly accelerating growth into a myriad of markets attempting to leverage search success there, might just be afraid of setting a precedent which could leave teeth marks on their respective posteriors later?
    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Could it possibly be that Google, with their rapidly accelerating growth into a myriad of markets attempting to leverage search success there, might just be afraid of setting a precedent which could leave teeth marks on their respective posteriors later?

      You mean, like Yahoo eventually demanding that Google give Google's users the "choice" to have all searches entered at Google redirect to a Yahoo search results page? I mean, that would be a choice, after all, and it would be Evil(tm) of Google to deny th
  • by suv4x4 (956391)
    Google says to Microsoft "give people choices", and to Apple "please keep giving them no choices".

    To change the search engine used throughout Mac OSX from Google to something else, you need a hex editor to hack some binary files.

    "But but but MS is monopoly"

    But but but principle is principle, you shouldn't be forced by anti-monopoly laws to care for your users, Apple and Google show they are no different than Microsoft: corporations that change their philosophy according to how it affects their pocket.
    • by frdmfghtr (603968)

      To change the search engine used throughout Mac OSX from Google to something else, you need a hex editor to hack some binary files.

      How do you figure this? If I'm searching for anything "throughout Mac OSX" on my iBook, I use Spotlight.

      If you are talking searching the INTERNET, it just took me three seconds to change the default search engine from Google to Yahoo in Firefox. Maybe you are talking about Safari, which I don't use so I can't comment on that.

      Still, I don't see the basis for your comment. Pl

  • Give users choice over Vista.

    We Need an XP compatible Wine funded. Need it quick (Depending on how many more times Vista is delayed). We will of course default all searches to google and give clear choices for search MSN, Yahoo etc.. and try really hard not to do any Evil.

    Don't delay the inevitable. Now would be your best time. MS cares not for corporate users choice let alone OEM users choice. Maybe this is the first step. Google can now claim "We tried to have discussions with MS and got nowhere, they

  • One chair, thrown.
  • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @12:06PM (#16658773)
    I don't know what happens when upgrading to Vista, but upgrading to IE7 does preserve the search settings. When I upgraded to IE7, Yahoo was set as the default search engine (because I had installed Yahoo toolbar in the past), not Live.

    Secondly, Google has some nerve demanding that Microsoft give users a choice regarding search engines when they have a deal with Apple that makes Google not only the default, but the exclusive search engine for Safari, which is Mac OSX's default browser, and one that holds a monopoly-like share wrt browser usage in Mac OS X. Not only can the user not change the default search engine in Safari, but the user can't even add any secondary search engines.
  • Yup, this tagging system is working out quite nicely...
  • How about giving us in the US and EU the choice of buying 'Vista Starter' edition so we are out less money when we throw it away and install linux (or BSD, or OpenSolaris) instead? OR better yet, the choice of buying a desktop PC from a major Microsoft OEM with no operating system at all and the price of Windows deducted? That would be real choice. If Google is really concerned that Microsoft is going to play dirty tricks with search in order to steer users away from Google properties to Microsoft properti

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