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Microsoft Takes Aim At Google 576

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the battle-of-the-deep-pockets dept.
TiredOfCrap writes "People are underestimating what Microsoft is doing with search technology, says Bill Gates. The head of the software giant told the BBC that its ambition is to be bigger than Google in search. "
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Microsoft Takes Aim At Google

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:03PM (#13891149)
    The head of the software giant told the BBC that its ambition is to be bigger than Google in search

    Yeah, and my ambition is to be an astronaut-playboy-robot-vampire that fights crime and plays lead guitar in his own thrash metal band on the weekends, but I don't think my ambition is terribly realistic either.
    • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Datamonstar (845886)
      Hey, you forogt Ninja. Or Pirate. Whichever movement you subscribe to.
    • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eberlin (570874)
      Granted that unrealistic ambition goes nowhere, and yes we're all detractors of the borg here, but there are enough decision makers out there that will buy into the hype. "Oooh, microsoft is down right now but that just means they're going to come back in a big way. They always do."

      If Bill Gates says that HIS ambition would be to be an "astronaut-playboy-robot-vampire that fights crime and plays lead guitar in his own thrash metal band on the weekends" I think he just might have the resources to do it.

      As
      • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:20PM (#13891340) Homepage Journal
        >>I think he just might have the resources to do it.

        He may have the resources, but he'll never have the talent.
      • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:22PM (#13891933) Journal
        I suppose Gates had to say something sensible after the "fucking kill" incident of his henchman, Stinky Ballmer. It's like some corporate public relations version of good cop bad cop.

        It's fine to have ambition, but Microsoft seems to have let a competitor get the upper hand to such a degree that the name "Google" is becoming to search technology what Coca-cola is to carbonated drinks. In fact, I'd contend that Google is aleady there and that anything short of a total disaster is going to render any other search portals, Billy Gates' mighty MSN Search among them, a small time player.

        It's strange, because a few years ago I would have thought something like KDE or Mac-OSX would have been the MS-killer, but Google has shown the way to take on Microsoft, via the web itself. Google's got the holiest of holies; brand recognition, and it's going to use that to push out web apps of all kinds. Microsoft is in a game of catch-up here, and not only is it currently losing the race, it isn't yet even in the damn stadium yet.

        • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by meshko (413657) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:59PM (#13892285) Homepage
          Yes, but...

          Year is 1995 AD. The only web browser in the world is Netscape and Microsoft is working on Internet Explorer 3.0 which is not going to get any market share.

          Microsoft is good at playing catch up. It is one of the very few things it is very, very good at.
          • >Microsoft is good at playing catch up. It is one of the very few things it is very, very good at.

            only when they can use their number 1 weapon: abuse of desktop monopoly. otherwise they suck, hence their inability to deal with Google or the iPod.

            their only other weapon is throwing loads of money at the problem, like the xbox. unless they're about to start paying people to not use Google, that's not much use.
          • by Crayon Kid (700279) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @09:09PM (#13893909)
            Microsoft is good at playing catch up. It is one of the very few things it is very, very good at.

            But not by innovating. Their comeback tactics have always been marketing and economics.

            First there was personal computer OS and applications. Make MS-DOS, Windows and Office a good enough OS and spread it using an ubiquitous platform on the rise. Make people, the ordinary but many people, afford them. There goes UNIX or OS/2 as Microsoft takes over the desktop. There was more money in the collective pocket of the little people than in what you could get from corporations, and they got it.

            Then there came the Internet and the Web. Make Explorer a good enough browser and give it away for free. Bundle it with your OS so people never care there's an alternative. There goes Netscape.

            Then here comes their 3rd big challenge, and I don't know what it is. If I did I'd be famous, or sought after by big money. It has to do with mobility, and distributed computing, and online services, perhaps. But it's here and Google is here and this time Microsoft doesn't seem to find that one thing to take over. It seems to be something that cannot be taken over.

            This requires a fundamental change of strategy and I don't think Microsoft can do that. For once, they can't just throw their weight and money at the problem, and there's no catch or moment they can exploit, because they missed the train.

            They are not alone. Let's not forget that the Google way of doing things has been a shocker for most of the IT world. I've always wondered why, since there are so many corporations out there with so much freaking money, they seem to produce so little. What the hell are they doing with all the dough and resources? Sure, we're getting new and better stuff, but sometimes it just shines through the cracks that it's not nearly what it should be.

            Yet Google throws it's weight at furious innovation. It brings out new stuff weekly, for God's sake. It hires all the greatest minds, and they are eager to go with Google, because it's what they always truly wanted, furious innovation for the sake of it.

            It's not like Microsoft isn't trying. They push out all these things as fast as they can think of them: IE7 with decent capabilities, XAML and XForms and Avalon, .Net and C#, MSN Search. But they're all things that catch up to something that was already top dog. Best case scenario, it breaks even.

            I don't know why they can't shake it. Maybe they really have grown too beaurocratic for their own sake and can't react fast enough. I'm sure that Gates and the top dogs see all this pretty clear. And there's still nothing groundshaking but empty promises, and time passes and more innovation floods IT from other sources.

            They still have Windows and Office and Explorer, for now, but how long is it going to last? The day the PC starts going and something new comes up, they're all gone.
        • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by whereiswaldo (459052) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @05:20PM (#13892468) Journal
          Microsoft is in a game of catch-up here, and not only is it currently losing the race, it isn't yet even in the damn stadium yet.


          Because Microsoft is not a real innovator, it is destined to always be chasing its competitors. In the past it has had some victories but those hey days are gone now that it has been convicted of abusing its monopoly powers and has its hands somewhat tied.
          The other aspect of this situation of Microsoft vs. Google is that Google has been redefining the playing field over and over again in rapid time. This race is a relay race where the Google team is on the 8th relay and Microsoft is still trying to get to relay #1 - web search, purple in the face and panting.

          Besides, even if Microsoft did manage to kill Google (which I think is highly unlikely), the wheels have been set in motion. The open source community and other competitors are also carrying their own torches. Maybe that's why Microsoft has been trying to get in bed with large web companies lately - so it can stay in the game.

          Anyway, I think it's pretty funny for Gates to site his ambitions as something he is bringing to the competitive table. They've had years to bring their web technologies into mainstream use and have failed to do so. I think their "we want it all", "open source hackers need haircuts" attitude is costing them big time. Adapt or die.
          • by tez_h (263659)

            This race is a relay race where the Google team is on the 8th relay and Microsoft is still trying to get to relay #1

            Well they aren't very fast are they, being an 800 pound gorilla.

            ...and has its hands somewhat tied.

            Oh, and their hands are tied.

            The wheels have been set in motion.

            A wheelchair race, wih no hands?!

            ...to the competitive table.

            And they have to clear competitive tables?? Be still my beating heart. I think the standard you've set is a little unrealistic.

            -Tez

        • Re:Bland ambition? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by doodlebumm (915920)
          I wonder what kind of impact a Google branded Linux would have on the fight? I think the biggest hinderance to acceptance of a non-M$ OS is that people are afraid. If a name like Google were to brand a linux, that would make many people be more curious and likely to try it out, because people think of Google as easy and helpful, where IBM, etc. are the computer companies that no one understands. Granted there are still those who will choose Windoze, but those that see the benefits of a non-M$ OS would make
    • ...astronaut-playboy-robot-vampire... fights crime...plays lead guitar in his own thrash metal band on the weekends
      Sounds like the making of the next /. poll....
      My blind ambition is....

    • ... for Microsoft to be bigger than Google in SEARCHing.

      See, the alchemists have SEARCHED for the Philosopher's stone for centuries.

      FINDING, on the other hand... is a very different business!
  • by Jesselnz (866138) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:03PM (#13891153)
    Telling someone to Microsoft for the answer just doesn't sound the same as googling for it...
    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:08PM (#13891212)
      Yeah. Googling for something is to search for it, but microsofting something is, well, lets just say anally painful...
    • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:12PM (#13891255)

      That's because you usually get the problem via Microsoft, and the answer via Google. ^_^
  • WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:04PM (#13891160) Homepage Journal
    Competition is good. Even you anti-Microsoft pundints will have to admit, this will only make Google have to work harder ;)

    -Rick
    • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by erroneus (253617) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:17PM (#13891312) Homepage
      Competition is good. I am just not sure Microsoft understands the area they are trying to overtake. Hotmail is a really good example -- they bought hotmail and for quite some time never really knew what they wanted to do with it. In the end, I don't think it gave them much of anything.

      In this case, they can't buy Google (did I just say that?) so they will try to 'compete' in an area where they just aren't prepared. They lack the culture to really do anything like that from what I can see. Google's way is really like an amoeba... little projects everywhere -- the good ones grow and fill with resources, the others disappear. Microsoft's is just a bit too carnivorous and aggressive by comparison.
    • by amightywind (691887) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:19PM (#13891338) Journal

      Competition is good. Even you anti-Microsoft pundints will have to admit, this will only make Google have to work harder ;)

      Sure. If Microsoft had the reputation for being a fair competitor I would agree with you. My guess is that they will resort to their traditional sleezy tactics to impede Google and flog an inferior search capability using monopoly assets (like IE, Windows, Office, MSN). Microsoft is now firing at random. They are clearly off balance.

      • by goldspider (445116) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:34PM (#13891489) Homepage
        Google currently has the edge on web searches and several other handy apps. Given that, exactly what "sleezy" tactics do you think MS has in their bag of tricks that can overcome a losing market share?

        MS has typically been able to leverage their massive power against smaller, up-and-coming competetors. This situation is very different.
        • Google (Score:4, Interesting)

          by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:31PM (#13892003)

          Google currently has the edge on web searches and several other handy apps

          I switched to Google a few years ago because when I used another SE like Yahoo! they wouldn't have it but Google would. But now when I google I don't always get a result but when I use Teoma [teoma.com] or Mooter [mooter.com] I do. So I may switch again, though I'm not sure if it will be to Mooter or to Teoma. As for any apps Google has, I have yet to use any.

          Falcon
    • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuietLagoon (813062) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:25PM (#13891402)
      So long as Microsoft search returns intentionally incorrect answers [slashdot.org] google will not have too much to worry about.
    • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pxtl (151020) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:25PM (#13891403) Homepage
      Yes, but Microsoft does not have to compete - Google must show a profit in their endeavors, while MS can burn cash while living off of their OS and Office revenues.

      For example, Microsoft search can be adless (or charge less for ads) and hyperfast thanks a server farm 100x Google's size. Hell, they can throw in prizes for prominent users, whatever. They can quite simply outspend their competators. Not saying that's what they will do, but it's what they can do. They can do so until Google no longer exists, and then they own the mindshare and can relax. They've done it before a hundred times.

      Plus, they can integrate it into their ownership of the OS and browser markets.

      Google has neither an endless mountain of cash, nor a 90% of the browsers, nor 90% of the desktops.

      The simple fact is that MS does not have to win - they can lose, and lose by a wide margin (in terms of profits) until Google is starved out of business. And then they win anyways by default.
      • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LeonGeeste (917243) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:43PM (#13891579) Journal
        For example, Microsoft search can be adless (or charge less for ads) and hyperfast thanks a server farm 100x Google's size.

        The other advantages you listed are substantial, but not this one I'm afraid. Google's searches are already on the order of 0.2 seconds. I can't imagine anyone "on the margin" switching to MS because they get their results in 0.002 seconds plus download time rather than 0.2 seconds plus download time. I could be wrong though: Are there people who do rapid searches in succession and can process the data from those searches at that speed?
      • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slavemowgli (585321)
        Throwing money at the problem isn't good enough, though - you have to convince users that your search engine offers a better experience than Google does. And for that, you not only have to improve until you're up to par with Google, you actually have to outperform them by a considerable margin - and that takes time and talent.

        It's definitely not true that Microsoft doesn't have to win, either. In order to starve Google out of business, they'd have to get the vast majority of users to use their search by def
      • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by node 3 (115640) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:23PM (#13891943)
        Google must show a profit in their endeavors

        So must Microsoft. Microsoft won't try to dominate the search market if there is no money in it (either directly, or indirectly). But clearly there is money in it, and Google is the leader. That's a large reason why Google's market cap is so high.

        Google owns the market right now. With regards to MS's ability to funnel money from other parts of the company, that just means MS can be the "competitor that won't go away", nothing more.

        For example, Microsoft search can be adless [and a few other things...]

        But MS won't do any of these things, so they are non-issues. It's sort of like saying MS can use Firefox as its default browser.

        Plus, they can integrate it into their ownership of the OS and browser markets.

        They already do this. I'm sure Vista will integrate MSN Search even greater.

        Google has neither an endless mountain of cash

        Google's market cap is just barely under $100 billion. Cash is not a problem, and as long as they stay ahead of the game, it won't be.

        nor a 90% of the browsers, nor 90% of the desktops.

        Google's services are more compatible with more browsers and more OS's than Microsoft's are.

        The simple fact is that MS does not have to win - they can lose, and lose by a wide margin (in terms of profits) until Google is starved out of business. And then they win anyways by default.

        That's not even remotely logical. If MS doesn't win "in terms of profits", but Google does, how, exactly, is that going to translate into an MS win over Google?

        The only way Google loses in that scenario is if they lose their competitive edge over Microsoft. The ability for MS to funnel money from Office -> MSN Search doesn't mean MSN Search will outcompete Google, it just means MSN Search can stick around.

        Imagine a poker game where the rich kid keeps buying himself in after repeatedly losing all his cash. Having more cash doesn't mean he's going to win. In order to win, he will actually have to learn the game and become good at it.

        And that's exactly what MS is good at.
        • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by edunbar93 (141167)
          Microsoft won't try to dominate the search market if there is no money in it

          Internet Explorer.
          Hotmail.
          Xbox.
          XP CD burning.
          Media Player.

          And those are just the ongoing money-losing projects, and not the products they've given away for free until the competition was all dead and then immediately made their offering disappear. You remember stacker? Or zip folders? Of course not.

          I know he's not CEO anymore (at least not in title), but Mr. Gates refuses to lose at *any* competition. It's not about profit to him, i
      • Re:WOOWHOO! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by darnok (650458)
        >For example, Microsoft search can be adless (or charge less for ads) and hyperfast thanks a server farm
        > 100x Google's size. Hell, they can throw in prizes for prominent users, whatever.

        Several problems with this suggestion:
        - Google's ads are virtually invisible unless you choose to look for them, so MS being ad-less really doesn't constitute a benefit
        - Google's done a load of research about how to run a big server farm. I'm yet to see evidence that MS has got anything like Google's expertise in thi
  • Organize Google's Information.
  • by Psionicist (561330) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:04PM (#13891162)

    Sounds like Microsoft alright. They are not trying to create a better search engine, they are trying to "beat the competition". Haven't they learned yet this rarely works?

  • Yeah? (Score:2, Redundant)

    by sammy baby (14909)
    Oh yeah? Well, my ambition is to lead the NBA in rebounds.

    Of course, I'm 5'6" and 32 years old - not to mention pudgy and with asthma - but ambition is ambition, baby.
  • Basically... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sandman935 (228586) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:05PM (#13891174) Homepage
    Google is an enemy by choice. I get the impression that Google is a competitor simply because Gates thinks they are.

    Is there a GoogleOS in our future?
    • Re:Basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MoonFog (586818) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:15PM (#13891290)
      Google constantly moves into new areas, they've received a solid name for themselves and outdid Microsoft (MSN) on search. I don't think it's that weird that they will "fight" Google, they see them as a threat to their position. Perhaps they really are scared that Google will officially support a Linux distro or something like that. Few companies have the money to compete with MS, they may be scared that Google will achieve just that.
    • Re:Basically... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lemmy Caution (8378) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:31PM (#13891461) Homepage
      I think the OS is the very, very last thing that Google would aim for. They'd go for all the application and framework space first.

      As long as there is a legacy of 10+ years of games and media on Windows, I'm afraid that there is always going to be a Windows OS somewhere in my life. However, if the OS were the only bit of Microsoft software that I had to worry about, and if MS took a role more or less equivalent to a BIOS developer and otherwise dropped out of userland, that would be a good thing.

      Ultimately, Google is about an entirely different metaphor. It's post-OS viewpoint, and post-file-system. Once you start "working Googlishly" - using Google desktop, Picasa, etc. - things like organizing your file system heirarchically start to feel archaic and limited. If you wanted to get philosophical about it, it's a move from a 'great chain of being' metaphor towards work and information to one of a distrubuted network of nodes that don't have strict set-theoretical relationships.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:05PM (#13891182) Journal

    The article is expectedly mostly spin, but I'm surprised at how much rehash it is. Specifically:

    • Mr Gates said that the PC of today is still not the PC he dreamed about 30 years ago however, and that was a challenge he would continue to pursue.

      I think that says a lot. Computers today are astronomically more powerful than ever before which is a natural consequence of the development and maturation of electronics and transistors, etc. But, Mr. Gates and Microsoft has promised year after year the power (delivered, but not because of Microsoft) but not the ease of use.

      I do think (and of course this is just opinion) the software could have evolved much further than we see today if Microsoft hadn't been so dominant. There are/were hints of advances but often these were stunted early either by Microsoft essentially buying out companies and putting their own stamp on the technology (and sometimes actually advancing it), or by cooking up something similar and squashing the competition with price undercuts.

    • "They can do lots of things, but still you can't talk to them, and that is one of the things we will get this decade," he predicted.

      (Actually, technically, Mr. Gates is wrong here: you can talk to them. They won't do much, but you can still talk to them.)

      I saw Mr. Gates say this same thing at a Expo Keynote speech in the '90s. I said it then, I'll say it now, we'll get real speech recognition in computers sort of, but it's not clear people really want to talk to them anyway. It's mostly amazing and a little disgusting Mr. Gates gets to get away with these promises year after year. I suppose it's partially the consuming public's fault for having a collective short memory and never calling Microsoft on this.

    As for Mr. Gates' prediction MS is going to be bigger than Google, uh, hello, it already is. I think this is mostly code language for what they intend (hope) to do to Google. I'm not sure MS is positioned quite as nicely this time to accomplish this.

    And, finally, from the article:

    "We are stronger than ever because we have a research lab in Cambridge, we have one now in China, one in India and that is where the top problems in computer science are going to be solved."

    I'm not sure what Mr. Gates is implying here. But if I were on one of the U.S. campuses, I'd be pissed, and a little nervous.

    • This is a good post.... someone please mod up?

      """""""""""""""""
      And, finally, from the article:

      "We are stronger than ever because we have a research lab in Cambridge, we have one now in China, one in India and that is where the top problems in computer science are going to be solved."

      I'm not sure what Mr. Gates is implying here. But if I were on one of the U.S. campuses, I'd be pissed, and a little nervous.
      """""""""""""""""

      I think the key word here is "stronger", not better. Jus
    • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:43PM (#13891581) Homepage Journal
      Mr Gates said that the PC of today is still not the PC he dreamed about 30 years ago however, and that was a challenge he would continue to pursue.

      Here's a hint: power to weight ratio. As the original poster said the pcs of today are stronomically more powerful than ever before but at the same time the amount of weight they have to move (the OS) has also increased. Why? Because either it's a feature or it's part of the OS. Look at the requirements for Vista. Why not just go out and see if you can get a used render farm from Pixar to run that monster.

      If Gates and Company would focus on streamlining things then the ability of a pc to do more wouldn't be so compromised. Yes, that means they will have to stop backwards compatibility for the oldest programs out there but that's a sacrifice which will have to be made.

      On a final note, just because Microsoft wants to be bigger than Google doesn't mean they'll be better. As a poster up the page a bit lamented, trying to find an answer to a Microsoft problem on Microsofts own site is practically a death march. Until they can clear up that mess of a search process, let alone their useless MSN search, Google has nothing to fear no matter how big Microsoft gets.

    • "We are stronger than ever because we have a research lab in Cambridge, we have one now in China, one in India and that is where the top problems in computer science are going to be solved."

      I don't know why they spend so much on these research labs. All of Microsoft's best ideas come from the unofficial Microsoft Research lab in Cupertino, which they don't pay for.
    • I think Mr. Gates killing all the competition was a double-edged sword.

      If his goal was "make himself fantastically rich and the company one of the most well-known on the planet", yeah, well done.

      If his goal was "make computers work better", well, perhaps he shouldn't have been so ruthless at destroying the competition. There simply isn't a way around the fact that, in a capitalist society, if a company is to continually improve its products (rather than just slap a new coat of paint on and call it "all new
  • Translated: (Score:4, Funny)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:07PM (#13891196)
    > People are underestimating what Microsoft is doing with search technology, says Bill Gates. The head of the software giant told the BBC that its ambition is to be bigger than Google in search.

    "Whoops, here's another hot application that we didn't see coming."
  • by butterwise (862336) <butterwise AT gmail> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:07PM (#13891198)
    As someone much wiser than me once said, "The day Microsoft starts making a product that doesn't suck is the day they start making vacuum cleaners."
  • Microsoft Takes Aim at Google

    Google: Like a poor marksman, Microsoft, you keep missing the target! Why don't you come down here and take of me yourself?

    Microsoft: Perhaps I no longer need to try. I'll leave you as you left me. BURIED ALIVE, Buried Alive, buried alive...

    Google: MIIIIIICCCCRRRROOOOSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFTTTT!

    (With apologies to Star Trek.) :-P
  • Censorship (Score:3, Funny)

    by FidelCatsro (861135) * <fidelcatsro AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:09PM (#13891223) Journal
    "its ambition is to be bigger than Google in search. ""
    Which was the BBC Censored version of..

    Gates: We will take them down and destroy their families and friends ,Google prepare for a smack-down

    Ballmer:THEY ARE GOING DOWN ..OH YEAH . Were going to fucking bury them ..BALLMER SMASH BALLMER SMASH

    Gates : yeah , See you on RAW .. Google your title reign is over

    Ballmer : *Smashes interviewer over the head with a chair* DEVELOPER DEVELOPER DEVELOPER DEVELOPER DEVELOPER.
  • by jav1231 (539129) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:10PM (#13891235)
    Google has the name right now. Microsoft would have to completely abandon MSN because no one wants to search from MSN. One problem they have is that they don't appear to want to go head to head. Their move for AOL shows that they appear to have the idea if they can force AOL users to MSN unawares then their numbers will go up and they will appear to be competing. Just my observation. This whole battle seems to be more of Microsoft's idiology that if it's a technology, they should be the main player. Some might say this is business but business should be, "We can do it better" not "We should have what they have." Google is out there growing and coming up with new ideas. Microsoft is following. This isn't new. They did it with the browser market and the server market. They will build on the technology with new ideas (or bought ones?) once they conquer.
  • No news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_rev_matt (239420) <slashbot AT revmatt DOT com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:10PM (#13891244) Homepage
    Um, this has been the MS PR line for months. Slow news day?
  • Google is way too dominant (for now, at least) for vaporware announcements by Microsoft to have any effect.
  • Prediction? (Score:3, Funny)

    by e.loser (923789) <jason.hamreNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:11PM (#13891254)
    "They can do lots of things, but still you can't talk to them, and that is one of the things we will get this decade," he predicted.

    Who says I can't talk to my computer?

  • All bark, no bite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Teckla (630646) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:12PM (#13891256)

    Is it just me, or is Microsoft "all bark, and no bite" lately?

    They're going to do this, they're working on that, they're going to be bigger than [insert market leader here].

    I'd like it if Microsoft would just STFU and show me the goods, rather than keep telling me how great they'll be tomorrow.

  • Every release of Visual Studio means we wind up using Google more and more for help. If -that- is the shape of things to come from Microsoft, I can readily envision an MS search engine with a very cool u/i that doesn't let you find anything at all.
  • This is news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:12PM (#13891269)
    Microsoft's ambition is to be bigger than everyone in everything.

    That wouldn't be so bad if their preferred method of getting there weren't borrowed from Tanya Harding.

  • The reason Google is on top is NOT because of the best search engine technology. It was because Google presents a non-tyrannical alternative. Gates can't see that though, because he's too wedded to his tyrannies...

    • Technically minded folks may flock to google over MS for the ethical reasons, but that's not the reason Google rules the roost right now. Google wins through better tech and ease of use. Technologies like search engines and anything else that depends on volume of use depend on public acceptance to be truely successful.

      Techies drive tech advancement and improvement... but we don't drive wide-spread adoption, and we don't determine market success. The average Joe User does.

      Most people don't care one bit over if the company they purchase from is "evil", just look to the success of Nike and WalMart to prove that point. They go with what works best, and Google works best.

      That IS why Google's on top.
  • Hmmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by J.R. Random (801334)

    "We are stronger than ever because we have a research lab in Cambridge, we have one now in China, one in India and that is where the top problems in computer science are going to be solved."

    Apparently, none of the top problems in computer science are going to be solved in the United States.

  • So finally we know what William [wikipedia.org] wishes for his 50th birthday.
    Hey guys, we need to collect some more dimes for the gift!
  • I'd rather have a better search rather than a bigger one....
  • by nharmon (97591) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:18PM (#13891319) Homepage
    When I can go to microsoft.com and search about the problem I'm having with Exchange and get better results than by searching google.com using site:microsoft.com, THEN Microsoft can tell me how great their search engine is.

    Until that happens, its all FUD.
  • template (Score:5, Funny)

    by moviepig.com (745183) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:20PM (#13891347) Homepage
    People are underestimating what Microsoft is doing with search technology, says Bill Gates. The head of the software giant told the BBC that its ambition is to be bigger than Google in search.

    People are underestimating what Microsoft is doing with [ANY] technology, says Bill Gates. The head of the software giant told [ALL WHO'D LISTEN] that its ambition is to be bigger than [COMPANY X] in [WHATEVER COMPANY X DOES].

  • by agslashdot (574098) <sundararaman.kri ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:25PM (#13891395)
    Mr. Gates writes "We have a research lab in Cambridge, we have one now in China, one in India and that is where the top problems in computer science are going to be solved."

    Really ?

    Here's some of the top problems in CS. [unf.edu]

    Here's [microsoft.com] the research lab in India - working on technology implementations, certainly not top CS problems.

    Here [microsoft.com] are the 10 innovations that will blow you away - coming out of Beijing. Again, some very sound implementations, but not exactly top 10 CS problems.

    But yes, Cambridge [microsoft.com] is looking at some of the top 10 CS problems. However, MS is no Bell Labs when it comes to taking on research problems. They end up successfully monetizing tech solutions, but that is quite different from pioneering fundamental breakthroughs like inventing a transistor [bellsystemmemorial.com] or laser [bell-labs.com].
  • Mindset (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sv-Manowar (772313) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:31PM (#13891456) Homepage Journal
    He may be defeated by the public in their mindset as it currently is, which for many is that Google are a great company who are always coming up with free stuff and more features for their users (which they do).

    Many people see Microsoft as profiteering and would rather keep using Google, as would Firefox in the search box. As long as people see Google as a more customer friendly and open website for the user then they will continue to use it.
  • by ZuggZugg (817322) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:32PM (#13891465)
    Microsoft will likely never beat Google at it's game unless Microsoft spun off search and un-emcumbered it allowing it to do the right thing.

    One of Google's key success factors has been their open source approach to delivering and developing their product offerings. The very foundation of Google is Open source backed which is the antithesis of Microsoft.

    Even if MS engineers came up with a whiz bang search technology, they would force their search division to write it in .NET, host it on Windows, integrate it with IIS, leverage MS SQL, utilize WinFS...etc basically slowing them down and making them un-competitive. In the meantime Google engineers could take the same ideas and implement them much quicker with less restraint because they wouldn't get a black eye if suddenly they wanted to leverage Solaris, or Zeus, or python...or you get the idea.

    I do say though that it "feels" like we are finally living in some interesting times again in IT where there are some serious players competing in the industry...
  • by thevil (602459) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:35PM (#13891493)
    I don't think that Microsoft will try to outgoogle Google by making their search engine a beacon of simplicity as it appear to be right now [msn.com], but instead they will try to solve everyones problem by putting every feature they can think of in the user interface and making their search box appear everywhere they can.

    Meanwhile, Google will continue to evolve their ui to be even more simple and easier to use and add new technology as new services instead of putting it all on the search page.

    How much better than Google does MS Search have to be to start pulling over users from Google? Does MS have any new technology that Google don't have access to? I don't think so.

    "He admitted Apple had had the biggest bite out of the digital music business with its iPod and iTunes success, and wished that Microsoft and its device partners had a bigger share.

    But he stressed that, in most part, Microsoft was not about making devices.

    "Our success is overwhelmingly greater than theirs [Apple's] is - they are learning from us every step of the way and we are learning from them," he said."


    Huh. How can their success be greater when the iTunes Music Store has a 85% market share?
  • Nice pep talk! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by quakeroatz (242632) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:35PM (#13891500) Journal
    Nice pep talk Bill! The problem is, no matter how good you make your search, or how flexible you make your software to share media, the flood of advertising in your search and restrictive DRM locks you put on the sharing, will only leave a bad taste in our mouths.

    Media needs to be free, not slightly shared.
    Searching needs to be relevent and unobtrusive.
    MS fails on all accounts.
  • by Daimaou (97573) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:46PM (#13891604)
    My only experience with Microsoft's "search" capabilities has been in their MSDN Library; where I rarely, if ever, find anything of relevance.

    Unless they start from scratch and implement some kind of keyword search, instead of the current random result generator they are using in their MSDN Library, I don't think Google has much to worry about.
  • by boomerny (670029) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:51PM (#13891640)
    well, seeing as I can't get decent results searching on microsoft.com, I don't see how they can think they are even close to competing with Google. Most of the time when I need to find something at ms I use a 'site:microsoft.com' from Google and much better results than the MS site search.
  • Linux (Score:3, Interesting)

    by panxerox (575545) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @03:57PM (#13891694)
    A search for "Linux" at msn search comes up with 90,043,606 while at google comes up with 445,000,000 so yeah I think we know where microsoft is going with its search engine.
  • by p_conrad (118670) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:06PM (#13891781)
    Microsoft's past successes in arenas with competition has been to under price the other guy. Since people who use web searches don't actually pay for them, they can't do that. I suppose Microsoft could offer cheaper, even free, advertising links from their searches, but that won't make them more popular with the actual users of web searches. In publishing, your ad rate is determined in part by your circulation. Even if Microsoft gives away ads, they are only worth as much as the amount of use the search engine gets, at best.

    I don't think it's possible for Microsoft search to trounce Google, because there is no ability to wage an effective price war. That effectively takes the most successful MS strategy off the table. Even with obscene R&D money at their disposal, they haven't been able to make a profit with X-Box. How are they supposed to make a profit on a service end users don't ever pay for? Google almost never fails to find what I'm looking for. What is Microsoft going to find that Google misses?
  • by jsailor (255868) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:08PM (#13891803)
    How many markets has Microsoft failed in?
    - File and print took 5-10 years, but they own that.
    - Word and Excel's initial releases were "suboptimal", but they own that.
    - Web browser market is a similar story
    - Exchange's first release followed a similar path. they may not own messaging, but at ~50% and climbing, they're well on their way.

    similar stories in other markets.

    What impediments are there to MS owning search? maybe not this year, but 5 years from now. Sure Google has cash now, but so did Netscape.

  • Competition? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brain1 (699194) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @04:10PM (#13891818)
    Sheesh! Billy G. & Co. just CANT stand any kind of competition. It's a megalomanical desire to own the entire planet and subjugate all it's inhabitants into using Microsoft products. Just look at the crap going on in Massachusetts over their decision to adopt Open Document format. Open - as in published standards.

    They are about to explode that their propreitary, patent encumbered Office XML format is not the standard and they are pulling out all the stops.

    Sorry, Billy - we need competition. We dont need your dictating to us. Google does what it does quite well. If you can build a better "mousetrap", well fine. The market should choose.

  • by ColaMan (37550) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:17PM (#13893273) Homepage Journal
    "Microsoft Takes Aim at Google"...... shoots self in foot.
  • by davidu (18) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:28PM (#13893346) Homepage Journal

    If Microsoft thinks google is a search engine company and a website then they have really missed the boat.

    Google is an advertising company. Google makes more money on AdSense than on AdWords. Google won't get rid of google.com anytime soon but the reality is that the search engine was just a platform for eyeballs (even if only in hindsight) to show ads and to build a massive and intelligent advertising platform. -david

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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