Monday, May 15, 2006

MS Gets OK for Search Box

Google will soon find its dominance of the search engine field under much greater attack now that the Department of Justice has approved Microsoft's addition of a search box similar to that found in Mozilla Firefox to the next version of Internet Explorer.
While criticizing Microsoft for its implementation of its existing antitrust accord, regulators appear satisfied with the software maker's plans for Windows Vista, including a new search box that is part of Internet Explorer 7.

As part of its status report on Microsoft's antitrust compliance, the Justice Department said that it had reviewed the search box and concluded that Microsoft's implementation "respects users' and (computer makers') default choices and is easily changed."

Google had recently cried foul over the box, which is set to conduct Web searches from a specified engine, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week defended Microsoft's approach.

How users gets their browser--whether on a new PC, as part of a Windows upgrade or downloaded from the Internet--helps determine which search engine is used in that program. The box also leaves unchanged any default search engine already chosen by the user and can be changed by the user. If no default has been set, Microsoft does slot in its own MSN Search.
Many users don't seem to use these boxes much at all I've found, but power users do. With proper marketing and internal reminders within Windows, I suspect the number of people who become aware and use the auto search will increase dramatically. Google is likely to try and counter this move by taking more steps toward desktop integration and becoming less-reliant on search technology.

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