Microsoft Corp. has agreed to modify its Windows Vista operating system in response to a complaint that its computer search function put Google Inc. and other potential rivals at a disadvantage, the Justice Department and Microsoft said on Tuesday.The second involves Yahoo, Myspace and News Corp:
Under an agreement with the department and 17 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, will build into Vista an option to let users select a default desktop search program on personal computers running Windows.
The function, known as "Instant Search," allows Windows users to enter a search query and get a list of results from their hard drive that contain the search term.
The agreement was made public as part of a joint report that the Justice Department and Microsoft filed late on Tuesday with the court overseeing Microsoft's compliance with a 2002 antitrust consent decree.
As part of the deal, a Microsoft official said the company also had pledged to place links inside the Internet Explorer window and the "Start" navigation menu to make it easier for people to access that default desktop search service.
The changes will be introduced in a service pack, or updated version of Windows Vista software. Microsoft said it anticipates a test version of the Vista Service Pack 1 to be ready by the year-end. [...]
The changes stem from a complaint Google filed with the Justice Department in December, in which it argued that a feature built into Vista that allows users to search a computer's hard drive did not leave room for competition from other desktop search applications.
News Corporation has discussed swapping MySpace, its internet social networking unit, with Yahoo! in return for a 30 per cent stake in the enlarged group.
The discussions remain tentative and could collapse after the departure of Terry Semel as Yahoo!’s chief executive and his replacement by Jerry Yang this week. Mr Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! and incoming chief executive, yesterday pledged to “dig in” to his new role, and acknowledged the difficult task he faces to arrest the decline in the internet portal’s shares.
News Corp, the parent company of The Times, is interested in a deal even if it means losing some control of MySpace because it would give the media group exposure to a far larger internet-based business.
Other News Corp digital assets, including the games network IGN, bought in 2005 for $650 million (£326 million), are also thought to have been offered to Yahoo!.