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Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - Page updated at 08:29 PM

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Microsoft to fix desktop search after Google complaint to DOJ

AP Business Writer

SEATTLE — In response to complaints from Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. will change the program that helps Windows Vista users search their hard drives, a source familiar with the issue said Tuesday.

Google filed a 49-page document with the Justice Department in April claiming Vista's desktop search tool slowed down competing programs, including Google's own free offering, and that it's difficult for users to figure out how to switch off the Microsoft program.

Microsoft initially dismissed the allegations, but a compromise was expected to be outlined late Tuesday in a regular Justice Department report on Microsoft's business practices, which have frequently been challenged on antitrust grounds. The update is closely watched by federal and state officials.

Microsoft has agreed to make changes to the design and function of Windows Vista, in the area of desktop search, a source familiar with the deal told the Associated Press. The company will fold the changes into a beta version of a service pack by the end of the year, and will give computer makers the option to install non-Microsoft desktop search applications, said the source, who requested anonymity because the report had not been released.

With its claims, Google hoped to show that the world's largest software maker is not complying with the settlement reached in 2002 after the government found that Microsoft used its near-ubiquitous Windows operating system to throttle competition. A consent decree requires that Microsoft help rivals build programs that run smoothly on Windows.

Microsoft and the Justice Department both declined to comment until after release of the official report.

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