Microsoft: We Can Be ‘Riskier’ With Search

Talk about finding a silver lining in dark search clouds: In two recent interviews, Microsoft has talked up its third-place position in search engine market share as something that gives the company more freedom than Google to take risks.

It started last week with a Bloomberg report quoting Steve Ballmer:

“Google does have to be all things to all people. Our search does not need to be all things to all people.”

And today, Live Search GM Mike Nichols echoed that in an interview on

“…Google suffers from the innovator’s dilemma. To a degree, every change they make to their search engine has a potential revenue implication for them.

In our particular case, we, of course, care about revenue as well, but we’re not in the market position they are in. We are in a position where we can be a bit riskier.”

Nichols tip-toed around questions asking for specifics about the risks Microsoft is planning, but the Ballmer piece mentions “new business models and ways to present Web search results.” I’ve written recently about the company’s Demo Fest and Tech Fest, but the ideas mentioned there are said to be in very early stages. In any case, it looks like we can expect an update to the Live Search product this spring — possibly under the name, but possibly not according to Nichols. Either Microsoft isn’t ready to tip its hand, or it hasn’t figured out what cards it has.

On a related note, TechFlash has published the highly sarcastic The Top 10 Greatest Moments in Microsoft Internet Search History. And any big picture thinking about Microsoft’s search past and future should include Danny Sullivan’s Tough Love For Microsoft Search from a couple months ago.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Microsoft: Bing


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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