DOJ Cold To Google’s IE7 Complaint
The Department of Justice didn’t buy Google’s complaint that Microsoft’s 7th version of Internet Explorer violated antitrust measures by setting MSN Search as the default search engine, bundled with next year’s release of Windows Vista. Having worldwide dominance in search probably didn’t help Google’s case.
The DOJ said it would not pursue the complaint because both PC manufacturers and consumers easily change the default setting. Google is still awaiting an answer from the European Commission on the issue. European regulators have been historically tighter on antitrust matters.
In court documents, the DOJ determined “Internet Explorer 7 includes a relatively straightforward method for the user to select a different search engine. As Microsoft’s implementation of the search feature respects users’ and original equipment manufacturers’ default choices and is easily changed, plaintiffs have concluded their work on this matter.”
Thought Microsoft Windows and IE dominate about 90 percent of personal computers, MSN struggles to maintain just over 10 percent of the search market share. Google consistently controls around 50 percent of the search market.
Critics may also find the $120 billion company’s complaint extra interesting in light of Google’s own efforts to bundle Google search in Microsoft’s biggest browsing rival Mozilla Firefox. Not only is Firefox set to Google’s homepage by default and has a Google search box in the toolbar, but Google promotes Firefox on its homepage – but only when IE users land there.