• http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    They don’t need to “beat Google” at search. They only need enough “search share” (in reality, advertising page views — which have nothing to do with real search) to earn enough money to make a growing profit. Let Google win the race as long as Microsoft can make money and their investors will be happy.

    This game was never about search. It was always about advertising revenue. Microsoft knocked Yahoo! out of the way and they’ll do what they can to keep others from getting in their way but they don’t have to beat Google at all.

    Besides which, the real problem for both companies may be the steady growth in consumer use of ad blockers in Web browsers. It seems like Google may be working on getting around those blockers. That remains to be seen.

  • Steve

    This is the chicken or the egg scenario.

    When Google first started, it was all about the user/search. Then, Google went public and now they have to please the investors. But, guess what… how do you make money, from ads. Are ads good for user experience? No. So, now they risk losing users because they have to please their investors/advertisers. Less users, less money.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    It’s not a chicken and egg scenario. It’s an apples and oranges scenario.

    Web search is wearing two hats. The first hat is a public service, indexing content on the Web and helping people get to that content. No one actually measures that public service.

    The second hat is being an advertising platform. Google and Bing are competing for advertising dollars, not for kudos on how many people they can send to other Websites for free.

    You can’t have Web search without a revenue model. The revenue model, however, is not Web search. It’s advertising.

  • Amir Ariff

    Are ads good for user experience? I think yes. We can discover new things that should be related with what we are searching for and that we know what’s going, community message and the trends etc.

  • Gagool

    On scale:

    I believe Microsoft still doesn’t offer either an AdSense-style product for publishers or an AdWords-style advertising platform for a large part of the ‘rest of the world’.

    Google made both of those available even for small, from a U.S point of view almost irrelevant countries, about 5 years into its existence.

    Couldn’t those two products have helped Microsoft with scale, by significantly increasing the number of people with an actual stake in Bing; ultimately as an endorsement of Bing?

    Or would it have been an unprofitable venture for wise old Microsoft? Was it only profitable for this stupid, naive 5-year-old start-up? (Never mind that history already answered this question, Mr Ballmer surely knows better and he shouldn’t let anything get in the way of a quixotic grand plan…)

    On the quality of Bing:

    I don’t know about the U.S. but for my country Bing’s search quality leaves much to be desired. I, for one, keep trying to use Bing, and somehow I always end up back at Google in desperation.

    I’m not even talking about fancy stuff like a good algorithm. Ah, that would be the next level. Microsoft can’t even come up with the bare minimum: a proper, reliable, comprehensive indexation of the web.

    Where a 1000-page site can safely expect about 900-1000 of its pages indexed in Google, with Bing the same number might easily be 300.

    That’s pathetic. If any company can clear the (admittedly huge) infrastructural hurdle of practically complete indexation, it is Microsoft. The fact that they are still not willing to do it speaks volumes, and in itself totally negates every pompous word uttered by Ballmer.

    On Microsoft’s understanding of search:

    Any person following Google’s rise and having half a brain understands that a fundamental part of their success is the realization that creating an excellent product and giving it away free is not philantropy but by far the cheapest way to acquire users wholesale.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has, from time to time, been trying to buy users directly with money: competitions, promotions etc. You can’t get more ineffective and misguided than that.

    What can you expect from a company that doesn’t understand even the basic premise of its main competitor’s business model?

    Microsoft is strong on fighting words, investor-oriented bombast, and the ‘old tactics’ (where ‘old’ could be substituted for a dozen negative adjectives).

    However, in their struggle against Google they keep demonstrating their ingrained, company culture-deep, hopeless-to-fix ultimate cluelessness regarding search.

  • Steve

    That makes no sense… what do ads have to do with community message and trends? It sounds like you are speaking from an advertising competitor perspective and not a user. Everyone needs to learn how to think from all perspectives not just one.

  • Steve

    “Google and Bing are competing for advertising dollars, not for kudos on how many people they can send to other Websites for free.” That may be the bottom line, but how do you get there?… by providing a great public service. Google was built on the idea of providing the users with the most relevant search engine. It’s start with the product, not advertising. Companies that are built on revenue first, users 2nd, won’t succeed.

  • Amir Ariff

    Sometimes advertising companies tend to do those things and I like those. Well, as long as they are related to what we like, then it’s okay with me.

    Bad ads are something that not interesting, something that are not tailored for us. Like when we watch tv and see those toys ads when we are watching that alone. Thats why it is crucial that these companies knows us.

  • Pat Grady

    “Consumers would win, because they’d better understand why some of the default decisions are being made for them.”

    As a consumer, I like the way you think!

    2nd point, people who say they can’t allow us to choose which engine feeds Siri, well, since it was G, now it’s B, I don’t buy that. Search is big enough, a few choices can be made to be available. I suspect that not offering the option to choose, is akin to the monopoly accusation they hurled. Glass houses babe, glass houses.

  • Mary Desilva

    What a boaring lenghty post

  • http://www.sktthemes.com/ Professional Wordpress Themes

    We can never undermine the fact that other search engine can win if they offer something new to their customers…when google came already Ask was there, when facebook came orkut was there….so its just an innovative and fresh something in the offing which can really turn the tables in web world…

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Yeah, well, they weren’t any more relevant than Altavista’s last incarnation back in the day — and, frankly, the original concept behind Google was smoke-and-mirrors.

    Web search has changed and it may change again but it’s doubtful that it will go back to being what it once was. The “free” search days were exploratory, experimental, looking for a monetizable service. Well, they found it. And they monetized it.

  • sarge8521

    I was confused as to why so many words were used to talk about a lame-duck CEO. The fact that he is using the old tactics vs Google should be of little importance moving forward since he is no longer the head man in charge.

    A better article would be to write about the challenges the new MSFT leader will be facing within their first year on the job.

  • http://rafaelmarquez.me/ Rafael Marquez

    If Siri did indeed switch over to Bing for searches, that explains why Siri can’t find diddly squat anymore. It’s gotten worse since going to iOS7. I need to find out how to switch it back to Google Search or even Wolfram-Alpha. Bottom line, I don’t care who handles the search, I just want to get relevant results. Bing, in my experience, does not provide me with relevant results.

  • datmony

    The term you’re looking for to describe the balance of keeping investors and searchers happy is ‘two-sided market.’