Europe, Antitrust Powerhaus, Strikes A Browser Deal With Microsoft

Europe has generally emerged as a much more forceful player in anti-trust law than regulators in the US (despite their tough rhetoric). Some people believe, in fact, that in Microsoft's case Europe has treated the company with a very heavy hand and turned it into the equivalent of a cash machine, imposing billions in fines. Others might see Europe standing up to Redmond where the Americans did not. Now the EU regulatory authorities and Microsoft have struck a deal over browsers. The deal requires Microsoft to offer consumers the choice of many browsers on the Windows OS. According to the NY [...]

Bing Censoring Chinese Search Results? Should There Be A Bing Boycott?

Boycott Microsoft Bing by Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times claims Microsoft is "sacrificing the integrity of Bing searches so as to cozy up to State Security in Beijing." It is believes that Microsoft is censoring their search results to appease the Chinese government. Microsoft responded to this criticism with their blog post named committed to comprehensive results. Microsoft said they fixed a bug over the summer and discovered a new bug over the weekend with image search and using Simplified Chinese characters outside of the PRC. Microsoft said the "bug" will be fixed before t [...]

Bing Maps Hops The Pond: Now In The UK

You may not have known this but the Microsoft Maps experience in the UK was totally different than in the US. The former was based on multiMap, a company Microsoft acquired in 2007. Here's what the UK experience looks like with multiMap: Here's what a Bing Maps version of London looks like: The Bing version is quite a bit cleaner and more pleasing in my view. Many of the Bing Maps capabilities, such as "Birds Eye" aerial imagery, had been available through multiMap prior to this however. Now Bing Maps proper will be available in the UK. The Bing Community blog details the chan [...]

MicroHoo-Ying Eyeing Global Reach, What About Ask?

There's a report from Reuters this morning that Microsoft and Yahoo are considering expanding the scope of their search deal "outside the United States": Microsoft Corp Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said on Thursday the company could look to extend its search engine partnership with Yahoo outside the United States, if it gets regulatory approval. Wasn't that already the intention? I thought it was a global deal already. European regulators wouldn't be considering it if it didn't apply to their markets; they wouldn't have jurisdiction. So I guess I'm a bit confused I guess. Regardless, if [...]

Yahoo Acquires Arab Portal, Bing Gets Backdoor Into Deal

This morning Yahoo announced that it was acquiring, "the leading online community in the Arab world." According to Yahoo the site has an audience of 16.5 million people. The purchase price has been estimated at between $75 and $100 million and was apparently in the works before the search deal with Microsoft was announced last month. Yahoo said the acquisition is part of a larger strategy to grow its audience in emerging markets and become the "destination of choice" in those locations. Yahoo described its Maktoob rollout strategy in in a blog post: Initially, we’ll plan to [...]

After Buying Performics From Google, Publicis Buys Razorfish From Microsoft

Yesterday Microsoft and French advertising holding company Publicis Groupe announced that the latter was buying agency Razorfish. Razorfish came to Microsoft as part of the $6 billion aQuantive deal, the largest acquisition in Redmond's history. As part of the deal Publicis will give Microsoft 6.5 million shares, amounting to a roughly 3 percent stake in the holding company. The total value of the deal is estimated at $530 million. Just over half of that will be in cash. According to a statement by Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, "Once this acquisition is complete, about a quarter of our revenue [...]

Microsoft Releases Large Volume Of New Images For Maps

Virtual Earth, which has been somewhat in the shadow of Google Maps and Earth released a large volume of new images for Live Search Maps for a range of countries and cities around the globe. The imagery allows you to get in very close, so you can see how far your hotel is exactly from the beach in Cannes, for example: Live Search Maps has not received as much attention as Google Maps but the site has improved greatly over time in terms of usability and accuracy. It's also much faster than before. Both Google and Microsoft offer satellite imagery, which is often not that us [...]

What Israeli SEMs Want

A month ago, I wrote about my meet up with Google Israel, from my trip to Israel about two months ago. This week, I am back in Israel on a sponsored Blogger Delegation to meet with Israelis and see their way of business and life. Today, I had free time and used it to meet up with some of the larger search marketing agencies in Israel. The meet up took place at Compucall, one of the largest SEM companies in Israel. Several of those that attended have been in the SEO/SEM space for about ten years and have extensive experience both running an SEM company and performing SEM services. Gilad [...]

Google Joins EU Anti-Trust Case Against Microsoft Browser

Over the past couple of years Microsoft and Google have become increasingly intense (maybe even bitter) rivals. Most recently the two companies used Yahoo as something of a pawn their game. It may be somewhat unfair to all involved to characterize Yahoo as a "pawn." But Microsoft tried to buy Yahoo primarily as a way to better compete against Google in search and online advertising. And Google offered Yahoo a paid search deal in part to help Yahoo develop a credible alternative to Microsoft's offer and keep the property away from Redmond. When the Microsoft offer/acquisition failed, it succ [...]

Indian Action: Microsoft Chooses NAVTEQ For Maps, Yahoo Invests In 411 Provider

India is something of a parallel universe in terms of search and internet activity. It's a massive and incredibly dynamic market but distinct from the US and Europe in important ways. All the major engines are competing there and it's also often a testing ground for new products. For example Yahoo's "Glue Pages" were released and tried there before coming to the US. Now Yahoo has bought a 30 percent stake in a local information database and directory assistance provider in the market: Info Network Management Company, which runs the Call Ezee service. Seen as a way to secure local data and prov [...]

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Agree To Common Guidelines On Free Speech & Human Rights

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have agreed on a common set of principles governing how they intend to do business in countries that restrict free speech and human rights. All three companies have been criticized by rights groups and the US Congress in the past for putting profit over principles and human rights, in China in particular. According to the article: Under the new principles, which were crafted over two years, the technology titans promise to protect the personal information of their users wherever they do business and to "narrowly interpret and i [...]

Microsoft Acquires Market Research Firm Greenfield Online To Get EU Shopping Engine Ciao

Microsoft successfully bid to acquire Greenfield Online for approximately $486 million. But Microsoft isn't really interested in Greenfield, it was after the company's subsidiary Ciao GmbH. Founded in 1999 and acquired by Greenfield in 2005, Ciao is an Munich-based EU comparison shopping site with user reviews. According to the press release out this morning: The acquisition signals a further milestone investment for Microsoft in Europe and will see Microsoft increase its European commercial search capabilities as part of its intent to make Microsoft Live Search the premier destination for [...]

How Search Engines Redirect Users To Country-Specific Sites

Yahoo just started redirecting people in the UK who are trying to reach instead to its Yahoo UK web site, something that Google has done for a long time. With the change, this seemed a good time to revisit how all the major search engines may intercept people trying to reach their ".com" versions from countries outside the United States. Below, the examples are drawn from someone in the UK trying to reach .com versions of each of the major search engines. Those in other countries often will find similar interception in place. Yahoo If you are based in the UK, Yahoo will [...]

China Now Number One Internet Market, Surpassing US

The Chinese Internet has surpassed the US in terms of overall users. According to BDA China (reported in USAToday), there are more than 220 million Chinese Internet users (17 percent of the population) compared with 216 in the US (71 percent). This is simply a function of the huge scale of the Chinese market, with much more growth to come. In the Q1 earnings release, Google said, "Revenues from outside of the United States totaled $2.65 billion, representing 51% of total revenues in the first quarter of 2008, compared to 47% in the first quarter of 2007 and 48% in the fourth quarter of 2007. [...]

Microsoft Acquires UK-Based MultiMap Mapping Provider

Microsoft announced this morning that it has acquired UK-based mapping platform and consumer destination MultiMap. Deal terms weren't disclosed. MultiMap will reportedly operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft but within the Virtual Earth and search teams. According to the press statement issued, MultiMap brings "new location and mapping technology to complement existing offerings such as Virtual Earth, Live Search, Windows Live services, MSN, and the aQuantive advertising platform." One would also assume the technology would also eventually be used in mobile. Mapping interfaces a [...]

Did Dalai Lama Award Cause China To Redirect Google, Yahoo & Microsoft Search Traffic To Baidu?

Reports have been coming in that people trying to reach Google, Yahoo and Microsoft from within China or via Chinese ISPs are being redirected to Baidu. Some have accused Baidu of hijacking the traffic, but we think it's likely that China is upset with the US over the award it granted to the Dalai Lama and is retaliating by hurting US-based search engines. Back in 2002, when China was upset with Google, it similarly redirected traffic. From a Reuters article at that time: Some users in Beijing and Shanghai were redirected to Peking University's no-frills search site Tianwang, the little kn [...]

Yahoo China & MSN China Sign Controversial “Self-Discipline Pact” With China

Yahoo!, Microsoft ink web pact with Chinese government from The Register reports Yahoo China and MSN China have signed a pact with the Chinese government that "encourages" rather than requires bloggers to identify themselves to the companies with real names, contact details and for the companies to censor material. Reporters Without Borders claims the new "self-discipline pact" from the Internet Society of China will make it easier for the Chinese government to crack down on bloggers. This decision will have grave consequences for the Chinese blogosphere and marks the end of anonymous blogg [...]

EU May Require Google To Expire Cookies Even Sooner reports on a positive but cautious response from the European Union to Google's previous announcement that it would reduce its data/cookie retention time to two years. A prominent member of the EU's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party told ZDNet that there would be discussion regarding whether Google had "gone far enough." Microsoft and Yahoo are also both subject to the same concerns and issues but Google has been the most cooperative of the three to date in working with the EU around issues of consumer privacy. Danny previously covered Google's response to the EU regarding d [...]

Microsoft Virtual Earth Enhances UK 3-D; EveryScape Seeks To Make 3-D Better, Cheaper

Microsoft announced that it's enhancing Virtual Earth in the UK with improved 3-D elevation data from Intermap Technologies. These improvements will make their way throughout Western Europe and to the U.S. The idea is to use better terrain and elevation data to provide a more photorealistic 3-D experience overall. Meanwhile EveryScape says it has found a cheaper, more scalable way to build 3-D environments. Everyscape, which we wrote about here, told me yesterday that the company has spent roughly five years developing a technology that makes it simple, relatively inexpensive and scalable t [...]

BBC Features Microsoft’s Photosynth In New Show

The BBC's "How We Built Britain" television series "explores Britain's past through its buildings and the lives lived in and around them." The program (or programme) features Microsoft's experimental Photosyth technology to show photo collages and different images of the structures. Here's an earlier post from around the time of Photosyth's "launch." It's a very interesting product with some fairly compelling applications. Below are some screen shots of building images. [...]

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