Judge rebuffs Google on Microsoft antitrust complaint


Washington : A US federal judge has rebuffed Google's efforts to extend anti-trust oversight on Microsoft saying that the issue was up to the Justice Department and a group of states who settled the antitrust case with the software giant in 2002.

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The ruling Tuesday came a day after Google asked US District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to extend antitrust oversight when it expires after an agreed four-year term in November. The company also asked the court to force Microsoft to beef up the user's ability to choose competing search company functions when conducting a search using Windows Vista operating system.

But Kollar-Kotelly said she would rely on advice from the Justice Department and state attorneys-general on Google's complaint that Vista's computer search function puts other potential rivals at a disadvantage.

"I do rely on the plaintiffs as the representative of consumers," the judge said, referring to the government. Google "is not party (to) this case" and should take its concerns about Vista to the Justice Department and the states, she said.

Last week, Microsoft pledged to build into Vista an option to let users select a default desktop search programme for personal computers running Windows.

Lawyers for the Justice Department and states told the judge at the settlement oversight hearing that they were satisfied with the steps Microsoft had already agreed to take.