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Can Microsoft Beat Google? 603

An anonymous reader writes "With all the hype surrounding the recent release of MSN Search, are the search engine wars heating up? There's an interesting article that states, "As the veteran Microsoft enters the already flooded search engine industry, and Google still being fresh and refreshing to most people, it begs the question: can the old supplant the new?""
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Can Microsoft Beat Google?

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  • Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blakestah ( 91866 ) <> on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:57AM (#11571848) Homepage
    It will be just like how Microsoft beat AOL at the ISP game.

    And just like Microsoft beat Sony in the game box market.

    • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gilesjuk ( 604902 )
      How has Microsoft beat Sony?

      Microsoft has only released one console. Sony has released the original PSX, the PS2, the PSone and soon the PSP.

      Therefore I would say Microsoft released one console that did fairy well, but you have to wait until you see the XBox 2 and other developments before you judge success. The fact that Nintendo are weakened shows that success is determined by longevity not the success of any one given product.
      • Ugh. (Score:5, Funny)

        by i41Overlord ( 829913 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:42AM (#11572442)
        Hello passengers- we've reached our cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. I am going to switch the seat belt sign off in a moment so feel free to stretch and move about the cabin. Those of you on the right can look out the windows and see the Grand Canyon, while those of you on the left can look up and see the OP's comments, passing harmlessly above the heads of the unsuspecting.
    • And (Score:5, Funny)

      by Safety Cap ( 253500 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#11572093) Homepage Journal
      Like how Microsoft beat the hell out of Apple in the portable music player market.

      WMP r00lz, AAC teh suck!

    • Re:Of course (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pieroxy ( 222434 )
      While this might very well be true, I find that MSN Search (as well as MSN search) have much more pages indexed than Google. For a very specific search, where google would return a handful of results, Yahoo and MSN always display much more res, and they are relevant.

      What's going on at google?
      • Re:Of course (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AstroDrabb ( 534369 )
        Huh? Do you know how many billions of pages Google indexes vs how many MSN indexes? Here are the results of some searches you can try for your self.

        Goog: Results 1 - 10 of about 225,000,000 for Linux
        MSN: 1-7 of 98,551,576 containing Linux

        Goog: Results 1 - 10 of about 289,000,000 for Windows
        MSN: 1-9 of 151,361,156 containing windows

        Goog: Results 1 - 10 of about 7,770,000 for britney spears
        MSN: 1-9 of 5,434,239 containing britney spears

        Goog: Results 1 - 10 of about 87,100,000 for Bush
        MSN: 1-10 of 39,266

  • by chris09876 ( 643289 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:57AM (#11571849)
    I have a friend who works on the MSN Search team as an intern. He said their marketing budget is massive. The article says that MS invested hundreds of millions of dollars, but I'm guessing most of that is for marketing - NOT the research and development that is needed to come up with a truly innovative search technology. If MS wants to win, they should focus on having a quality product, and not worry so much about promoting it. If they really do make something better, people will use it.
    • Untrue. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cybersaga ( 451046 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:05AM (#11571971) Homepage
      If they really do make something better, people will use it.

      Not true. Marketing is everything these days. Why is Britney Spears popular? Quality product? hehe...
      Marketing will get them their users, but users that don't know any better. For the tech crowd, yes, Microsoft will have to come up with a better product, though I find that just as amusing as Britney Spears selling records.
      • Re:Untrue. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by chris09876 ( 643289 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:13AM (#11572060)
        I think in something like search engines, the tech crowd dictates what people use. It's easy to switch your homepage. If there's a new better browser out there, tech people will use it, and inform their non-tech friends about it too. How much does google spend on marketing?? When's the last time you saw a google TV ad?
        • Re:Untrue. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Ubergrendle ( 531719 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:38AM (#11572374) Journal
          Google has been very successful at using 'soft' marketing to establish their brand, especially early in their corporate history. Everyone KNOWS that gmail is ready for public launch, but having private invites gives it a cachet. Clever advertising for job postings gets it additional media coverage. Clever IPO process gets it additional media coverage. But sooner or later Google will have to compete in the 'real' marketing space -- traditional media, to reach a wider audience.

          As for tech crowd dictating what's good and what isn't, lets think about this, shall we?

          1. Beta vs VHS?
          2. Original Mac vis IBM PC/XT/AT?
          3. Wagons/Hatchbacks vs SUVs? (same storage capacity, better fuel economy)
          4. .ogg vs .mp3 or .wmv?
          5. Extended warranties from Best Buy?!?!

          Marketing is for the suckers...and that's where the money is.
          • Re:Untrue. (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Henk Poley ( 308046 )
            Everyone KNOWS that gmail is ready for public launch, but having private invites gives it a cachet.

            Btw, this is not all about marketing, it's also a bit about manageability. Say turns into a spam address? Better check the one that send him an invite, and also those who he got into GMail. An invite is basicly saying "I think this person will use this service correctly".

            Invite = Vote; sounds like Google, doesn't it?
          • Re:Untrue. (Score:5, Informative)

            by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @02:39PM (#11574573)
            1. Beta had a better image but with VHS you could record more than 60 minutes at a time. Everyone forgets this little point BTW. Case closed.

            2. Mac vs IBM. Cost as soon as clones came in. Still the same issue BTW by and large. IBMs had IBM behind it, and that's why it became a success with business, thanks to Lotus as well). Who cares about the OS, it's all about the applications, even today.

            3. Cars are status symbols and a lot of irrational issue surround them. Few people buy cars on technical terms, otherwise no one would have ever bought an Alfa Romeo for instance.

            4. Ogg originally required a floating point unit, and so wouldn't run on low-end players. MP3 was first to market. Few people can actually hear the difference between MP3 and Ogg and most don't care. The quality of either is much much better than either FM radio or tapes.

            5. Extended warranties are popular with many products such as Apple computers for instance, where it does make sense because after 3 years the computer is still worth something.

            Marketing works to some extent but are not the be-all and end-all of everything. Perhaps you've heard of the term "hype" ?
      • by P-Frank ( 788137 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @12:03PM (#11572692) Homepage

        What is the product? The music? Of course not. One argument is that the product is herself. Britney's body. Britney's voice. Britney's sugary production. Britney's image. It's a total package.

        Then we have the "Britney as medium" argument that I quite like. Britney has become a medium for content delivery unto her own. She delivers a musical production. She delivers the lyrics of others. She is the box that the product comes in, the item inside the box and the marketing splash on the front of the box (Yes, I do enjoy talking about Britney's box, thanks for asking).

        Then we get to Windows as portal. Let us assume that the non-intuitive nature of Windows is ingrained so much into us that it has become intuitive. It is transparent and no longer about using windows, it is about what it brings to us. Movies. Music. Word Processors. The Internet. Now MSN Search is a way to frame the Internet by Microsoft, which is quite ingenius. Google has already begun doing this, GMail, blogger, froogle, answers. The search page has become a way to deliver their product (Much like Windows delivers Microsoft product).

    • by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:08AM (#11572011) Journal
      If MS wants to win, they should focus on having a quality product, and not worry so much about promoting it.

      They didn't become the world's biggest software company by simply having the best quality product.
      • by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:56AM (#11572612)
        I'm no great fan of Windows, I use it because I have to.

        But don't tar the entire MS line with the same brush. If MS Office is such shit, why is Open Office practically a feature by feature clone of it? (I'm sure I'll get roasted for that one but from what I've seen of it...)

        Face it, MS Office for all the times it makes you want to jump out a window because Excel chart font sizes are determined by a random number generator when you shift the window size, is a very solid suite. The ability to double click on a chart in a power point presentation, open up the underlying excel spreadsheet and fix problems, or just create a new chart, is absolutely fantastic.

        Even some academic journals are now allowing .doc submissions as an alternative to latex or pdf.

        Although really, of the big trio: Excel, Word and Powerpoint, Word is clearly the worst of them, and by a big margin.

        Again I'm not saying they don't have their quirks, but the office suite has certainly revolutionized (to a minor extent) the way many people do publishing and presentations.

        Irony: As I type this message praising MS software, the delete key has stopped working in this IE window.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          because the features are good.
          the implementation is SHIT.

          that is why.
          if MS did a good job at implementing half the crap they added, it wouldbe a good product.

          since they do a horrible job at most implementations, their product sucks.

          concept and implementation are two very different things.
  • by Alranor ( 472986 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:57AM (#11571854)
    (156 000 000 results)


    (188 000 000 results)

    The winner is: microsoft

    Damn! I guess they can...
  • Too Late (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TedCheshireAcad ( 311748 ) <ted&fc,rit,edu> on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:58AM (#11571860) Homepage
    It's too late. Google is already a verb.

    People will never say, "don't ask me, Microsoft it."
  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:58AM (#11571871)
    Seriously, I think 90% of the hype has been here on /.

    As for overtaking, I don't think it will. They just aren't adding enough new value to make it worth breaking a 5 year long habit of typing
    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:30AM (#11572283) Journal
      They just aren't adding enough new value to make it worth breaking a 5 year long habit of typing
      That's the key point, I think. I just read about a study that showed most people are loyal to their current search engine to an almost unreasonable degree. Bear in mind that 'most people' does not mean technofreaks like the regular Slashdot reader, but just your average computer user. And even I (technofreak) took a long long time to switch from Altavista to Google, even when Google's advantages became apparent.

      Microsofts engine will have to be phenominally good in order to get people to switch. Google (and Altavista in an earlier stage) could beat the competition by having a really simple and quick-loading interface, along with a good, attractive format to display results in. They could have beaten the competition even if their search results were on par with competing systems (they were better). It will be quite hard to beat Google on either the user experience or search engine.

      Here's one of those nice little features of Google: try searching for "5 cc to cubic inches". Google gives you the answer right away... and it also works for converting, say, furlongs to lightyears.
    • They dont need to, many users will just use whatever is the default on the os/browser that came by default.. MS has never competed by adding value when it's easier to do so by harassing users until they capitulate.
  • Drawing Parallels (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris ( 230456 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:59AM (#11571879) Homepage
    Before we get too much into the IE vs. Netscape comparisons here, I want to point out one of the major differences between the Browser War and whatever Search Engine War may or may not be brewing:

    IE didn't win the browser war as much as Netscape lost the browser war.

    Simply put, Netscape sat on their laurels and watched as Microsoft yanked the rug out from under them. Yes, there was underhandedness involved, but at root, Netscape shoulders most of the blame for having lost the browser war.

    Thus far, I don't see any indication that Google is going to repeat Netscape's mistakes. Google continues to run a service that is fast, reliable, and modern. They're aggressively broadening their service base, they've attained the pinnacle of name recognition, and they're not showing any signs of letting up.

    Whatever comes, this will not be a simple rehash of Netscape vs. IE.

    • Re:Drawing Parallels (Score:3, Interesting)

      by will_die ( 586523 )
      The better comparision would be DEC's Altavista fight againt Google.
      People forget that back in the mid to late 90s that Altavista was the google of the time.
      If ms can do something in the search arena then google people will drift over.
    • by Faust7 ( 314817 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:13AM (#11572059) Homepage
      Google continues to run a service that is fast, reliable, and modern. They're aggressively broadening their service base, they've attained the pinnacle of name recognition, and they're not showing any signs of letting up.

      That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it would be that Google is trying to do too much, too fast. What in the world does trying to be a domain registrar have to do with increasing their search capabilities? Plus, Google's research into search AI is not at the level of Microsoft's. (Never, ever underestimate the power of Microsoft Research.) There are some indications that Google may indeed "sit on their laurels" and let Microsoft pass them by.

      You have to realize that Microsoft is a very big, very powerful company with an enormous R&D department and a gigantic marketing machine. Google has won both market share and mind share, but both can be taken. Microsoft is in a position to do it. One underestimates at one's own risk.
      • What in the world does trying to be a domain registrar have to do with increasing their search capabilities?

        A good bit actually. Google isn't planning to sell domain names, supposedly, but instead use the information that is afforded to registrars. For instance, when someone lets a domain expire, Google can look at that and perhaps take that domain out of the search rankings.
      • by agurkan ( 523320 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @12:34PM (#11573074) Homepage
        What in the world does trying to be a domain registrar have to do with increasing their search capabilities?

        If they have access to information of who registered what domain name, they can weed out link farmers much more easily.

    • by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:18AM (#11572127)
      Simply put, Netscape sat on their laurels and watched as Microsoft yanked the rug out from under them. Yes, there was underhandedness involved, but at root, Netscape shoulders most of the blame for having lost the browser war.

      Exactly. Let us not forget that a very large number of geeks actually moved from Netscape to IE not because it came bundled but because IE 3 (or 4, I can't remember) was actually better than Netscape 4.

      I moved from IE to Firefox for the same reason.

  • by deanj ( 519759 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:59AM (#11571882)
    Microsoft's in an interesting position. They can't really take advantage of their OS they way they did to wipe out Netscape.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see a web search added to the regular Windows search. Yes, I know they have a beta of desktop search too. I just don't think they'll be able to effectively pull it off.
    • by PornMaster ( 749461 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:06AM (#11571986) Homepage
      Seriously, why do you think it's worth it for Microsoft to bother getting into search? It's not because billg's interested in the technology, it's because they have millions of eyeballs anyway because MSN is set as the default homepage in millions of browsers.

      They are using their own search with their own advertising system to monetize that advantage. They don't have to be better than Google for that to work, just not completely suck donkeys.
    • But IE7 might (Score:3, Interesting)

      by prandal ( 87280 )
      When will we see an IE7 with a "Search" button which uses MSN search by default with no alternatives or requires several obscure registry keys to be hacked to use an alternative search engine?
  • by kevinx ( 790831 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @10:59AM (#11571884)
    I like google because I don't like to be bombarded with crap until after I push the search button.
  • Evolution... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <pig DOT hogger AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#11571890) Journal
    Evolution calls for competing protagonists to adapt, to evolve, to change their characteristics to suit either the changing environment or their competition.

    Google has a head-start, and are presently unencumbered by the bonehead marketers that have ensured that Microsoft produces such sloppy software.

    In order to out-take Google, Microsoft would have to adopt it's strictly logical, scientific modus operandi.

  • uh .. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by savuporo ( 658486 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#11571895)
    Google frontpage: ~4KB HTML
    MSN frontpage: umbteen kilobytes of clutter, flash, and totally irrelevant BS.

    guess which one im gonna pull up for a simple web search.
    • Re:uh .. (Score:3, Informative)

      by gUmbi ( 95629 )

      MSN frontpage: umbteen kilobytes of clutter, flash, and totally irrelevant BS.

      The Microsoft Search engine is not actually pretty clean - it's not the same as the MSN home page:
    • Re:uh .. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:27AM (#11572243) Journal
      guess which one im gonna pull up for a simple web search.

      Well, doh, their web search engine page maybe? (in my locale)

      Size of main page: 1237 bytes
      Size of inline elements: 12748 bytes

      Size of main page: 1368 bytes
      Size of inline elements: 29201 bytes
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:00AM (#11571898) Journal
    Microsoft dominating Apple in the operating system market wasn't really a David and Goliath Battle.

    Apple was essentially the Google of the early 80's to late 80's.

    Google overcame many GREAT & Powerful names - the main being Yahoo and Lycos to come out on top.

    Apple overcame Compaq/HP/IBM (for a while) and was at the 50% of all computers sold for a certain period of time and far greater % in education.

    Microsoft has the muscle now and has always had the brute force or dominating power to overcome anyone they set their minds on.

    That said, I think Google has the name - MSN Search just doesn't roll off the tongue.

  • by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:01AM (#11571906)
    No, it raises the question.
  • by jetkust ( 596906 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:01AM (#11571908)
    There is a lot of room for improvement in today's search engines. Whoever helps people find the stuff they are looking for best, people will use them. That is how google won in the first place. I'm thinking the next step will be more along the lines of artificial intelligence moreso than pure number crunching.
  • by Anonymous Coward is not a verb.
    Put that in your pipe and Swiff(tm) it.
  • Hardly (Score:5, Interesting)

    by M3rk1n_Muffl3y ( 833866 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#11571922)
    Google is attracting the talent M$ can only dream of. Somehow I doubt that they will manage to find any hardcore search geeks to develop new search apps for them. As far as search goes M$ are n00bs not the veterans and they won't be catching up. Their so called "new" search produces less relavant results than Yahoo and on top of that they are very vulnerable to manupulation by SEOs.

    nice try, but no cigar.
    • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Interesting)

      Microsoft has always managed to get the highly talented people that they want. 20 years ago when I was fresh out of college I worked at a company in the Boston area that had a highly talented engineer working for them. Microsoft decided they wanted this guy. He turned down all sorts of offers for huge amounts of money, mainly because he & his wife were both from the New England area, they had young kids, and the kids grandparents were all in the New England area.

      Microsoft wouldn't take 'no' for an a
    • Re:Hardly (Score:3, Insightful)

      by clamatius ( 78862 )
      You are incorrect. For example, a friend of mine [] (and an ex-boss), very smart guy and pretty well respected in the search community is already working for them.

      Microsoft's usual product pattern is (IMHO):

      1.0: Pretty useless and not in the same class as the market leader.
      2.0: Not as good as the market leader but you could use it in a pinch.
      3.0: About as good as the market leader.
      4.0: Market leader fell down stairs or something and mysteriously MS is ahead now.

      I would say that MSN search is up to about 2.
  • by jmcmunn ( 307798 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#11571924)

    Because they feel the need to crawl web pages roughly 5 times as much as Google does. I swear their spider has nothing better to do with it's like than to visit my web page for some reason. I only have a few pages, and I get better than 50 hits a day just from the MS spider. Google seems to only hit each page once a day at most. I could see how that could get out of hand if you had a large site, with tons of pages.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not worried about bandwidth because of the spider or anything, I just think they could tone down a little. Obviously if I were worried I could do something about it (maybe, depending on how nice it is).
  • Begs the question (Score:5, Informative)

    by Catskul ( 323619 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#11571925) Homepage
    No damn it. It doesnt beg the question. Begging the question is a logical falacy.
  • Really, every popular search engine to date has had it's high points and its low points.

    Something will beat our currently beloved Google eventually. Whether or not it's a good thing remains to be seen.
  • When it comes to search engines there are only two options to people: Google and everything else. The only people that will be using this are MSN users that get directed/re-directed to it by Microsoft.
  • by codepunk ( 167897 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:02AM (#11571934)
    Google only stands one chance or their lifespan is
    limited to a year or two at best. They have to get
    as much stuff on the desktop as they can because MS will integrate their search into the OS. They have got to push firefox now, they need to find a way to own a spot on everbodies desktop and right now firefox is the way to do that.
    • so true, with IE on the majority of desktops all one has to do is type some crap in the url and you are swept away to msn search. Your search now looks like google and is just as good so why go to the effort to click on google to search. People are lazy and the less buttons to push the better. I use Firefox for its little google search window to save time, once IE adds that game over for google.
    • I ever so seriously doubt that. If the MS engine tries to knock Google off its mountain, it will go the way of the XFL.

      Microsoft has had an Internet search engine for some time now, and IE has used it as its default and only search engine that whole time, yet Google is the world's #1 search engine.

      Sometimes the Right Thing wins: Compare the success of .NET with the success of Java. Compare the success of IIS with the success of Apache.

      Google didn't get to be a verb by sucking, and a search engine b

  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:03AM (#11571950)
    Just provide a viable alternative to google as hopefully others such as Yahoo will also do. It's really not in our interests for Google to monopolize searching.
  • I personally think it is unlikely that M$ will ever dominate Google no matter how much money they throw at it for a number of reasons.

    #1) Google has been branded into people's consciousness as THE way to search the net. While the landscape of search engines is littered with now fallen former champs ala altavista, Google has a ton of momentum behind it as a brand.

    As long as they continue to innovate and return the most relevant results, it is very unlikely MSN search will achieve much penetration of this
  • No.

    Because Google is really, really good. Netscape lost because it sucked more than IE for a time. Google is better.

    That said, I see this being used by people who's lives revolve around MSN instant messenger, to find flash games and ecards (which it will probably be good for). In other words, the people who use the old MSN search already.
  • Differences (Score:2, Interesting)

    by shird ( 566377 )
    I personnaly have found msn search to have a few more results which google couldnt find for some specific searches. So for that particular search, msn was better, as it found all the stuff google did and more. Those are the facts and can't be denied.

    However, I have to say that google has a better URL to remember for people on a kiosk etc and need to just pull up a search engine.

    Most people think of a web site as 'word' dot com. ie, to remmeber google all you need to remember is the word google.

    But for ms
    • Re:Differences (Score:3, Interesting)

      by shird ( 566377 )
      Another point: Using the fisher-price colours and theme of Windows XP was a clever choice by MS.

      A lot more people are going to trust and use the ms search because it looks like it is part of the OS and "official" in terms of looking like the OS portal to the rest of the Internet. Pretty wise move.

      But again, the url is crap. You can "google" a search term. "just google it" etc. But you can't do the same with
  • Sure, hits are probably the most important aspect to a search engine; but, Microsoft just doesn't understand what makes Google what it is.

    I use Google because it gives me accurate search results without all the added crap. I am emphatically uninterested in having an ad for the latest version of Office display when it's totally unrelated to my search material.

    Unless Microsoft can think about something other than money for a change, it's not going to happen for them. You and I both know this will never
  • duh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erikharrison ( 633719 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:09AM (#11572018)
    Supplanting Google isn't even hard, relatively speaking. Just be better - total cost of migrating from Google to another search engine approaches nill.

    The question, of course, is can MS supplant Google? I doubt it. The reasons:

    * Microsoft can't pull a MS Works or similar trick - namely they can't undersell on a poorer product until it hits market saturation

    * They can't use proprietary API's or file formats for lock in

    * They can't bundle it with their OS

    * They can bundle it with their other web services, but when Google trashed Yahoo! many moons ago, it was made clear that superior search engine beats stack of web services.

    * MS has no skill making a successful web service. Hotmail and MSNBC are strategic grabs of other services or content (anyone have a counterexample?).

    * MS does not seem to have a corporate philosophy that would easily lend itself to Google type ads, which are the only search engine ads I have ever been lulled by. How will MS make a profit?

    Of course one has to wonder why they entered the search engine market anyway. I suspect it is simply because it's cool, and much though you may loath them you've got to get MS that. They go where it's cool, even if it's not profitable all the time - they can afford it. Of course, once they are king of a market, they are ruthless about squeezing the rock for all it's water . . .
    • by Catullus ( 30857 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:30AM (#11572281) Journal
      Actually, they can to a certain extent - at least, they can integrate MSN search into their desktop search tool, and all their apps. "It looks like you're searching for something. Would you like to use MSN to search the Internet?".

      Also, I personally think that they don't really want to be in the search engine market - they just don't want to risk Google's brand becoming predominant over theirs...
    • Re:duh (Score:3, Insightful)

      Or in short, all Google has to do to win is keep being Google, and in order for M$ to win, they have to become a whole different company inside and out.

  • I think Google's really hit the nail on the head here. Google works, it's gonna be tough for MS to overcome unless they just do it a lot better, and that's pretty doubtful. What they need to do is concerntrate their efforts on the next big thing, rather than trying to outdo Google at what it already does.
  • Precedents... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:13AM (#11572061)
    Let's take a look into the recent past:

    How did MS's IE beat Netscape? By integrating IE it into Windows. Don't you think that the MS plans to make this search technology 'hard wired' into future (or even current) Windows releases to circumvent users's access or choice in using Google?

    Netscape also had some serious quality control issues which was the final nail into its coffin. I suspect, however, that Google is in a much better position to compete than Netscape ever was. But, they're going to have a serious fight on their hands--it's not about quality, it's all about quantity to Microsoft. The more drones out there who start using MS's search engines because the next Windows iteration pushes Google aside will start to erode at Google's profitability and they will play a long hard war of attrition.
  • TV ads

    Google being purely a "being in written" doesn't have an identity (yet?) that "speaks" to TV and radio audiences. I for one couldn't imagine what kind of TV ad would Google set up...
  • by fsck! ( 98098 ) <jacob.elder@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#11572080) Homepage
    I prefer to be believe that Microsoft will put a bunch of money at into it, then throw a fit and give up. Their following will never grow much beyond the MSN customers that don't know any better.

    If people are now treating google as a verb, bringing us tantalizingly close to a content-addressable web, how can Microsoft possibly usurp that kind of common recognition? Microsoft is already a verb, too; to do something expensively wrong (perhaps not in as common use as googling).

    If all this 'fan-fare' isn't just Microsoft's own manufactured hype, which I believe it is, this will have a polarizing effect on the search industry. Expect AOL and Yahoo to publicly bring in (or restore) one search technology or the other, leaving people like Inktomi in the cold.
  • Google has the market right now. They have the brains, the experience, the technology, and enough funding. They do not have a monopoly on Desktop Operating Systems. Google will lose this fight.

    Someone will inevitably point out MS's failure to dominate with the X-box, or in some other venture. Let me make this clear. If the U.S. Justice system remains bought (as they are now) MS can crush anyone in any market dependent upon the desktop. In order to get to Google 90% of all people use Windows. MS can just

  • All they have to do is integrate the search into IE and they will control the market.

    For example they could have a feature that displays the msn search results every time you search any search engine such as google (in a side iframe).

    Alternative they could have common search results precached on the browser level so it appears faster.

    Even better, Microsoft could use its clout with the media (NBC), Libraries (where Gates donated lots of PCs), and Encarta to integrate their content.
  • by saddino ( 183491 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:15AM (#11572099)
    1) The UI problem. As many have noticed, MSN Search is a near copy of Google's interface: even the "Settings" look identical. At best, making Google "switchers" comfortable will aid in driving traffic, but at worst it's an admission that "Google has done it right, and it can't be done better."
    • Innovation: Microsoft should research how to make the UI
    • better than Google. If it's possible, they should do it. It'll pay off even if people have to learn a new paradigm (ugh, hate that word).

    2) The domain problem. For those few who do not have a Google bookmark (or have a built-in window a la Safari and Firefox), they can likely type "" into their browser faster than...(they're already typing in their query). "" is just, for lack of a better word, ugly.

    • Innovation: Microsoft should buy a simple domain as a home for their search. Which brings us to...

    3) The branding problem. For a company has huge and rich as Microsoft, they are strangely conservative about protecting the amazingly well-entrenched brand "Windows" (whether that's a valid trademark is an other issue). It's almost as if Microsoft has given up on branding and just "wings it" (Windows Movie Maker? Windows Media 9?). Face it, just adding "Windows" or "Microsoft" or "msn" (ooh, that rolls of the tongue) breaks all the rules of branding. Google is a verb because it is fanciful.
    • Innovation: Come up with a new name for your search technology, advertise the hell out of it (and per 2 above buy a single word domain for it) and then Google will be worried. If you build it, they will come.
    • by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:35AM (#11572347) Homepage

      For those few who do not have a Google bookmark (or have a built-in window a la Safari and Firefox), they can likely type "" into their browser faster than...(they're already typing in their query). "" is just, for lack of a better word, ugly.

      Who says that users must type in their URL text entry field? Microsoft could modify the apps so that everything that doesn't look like a URL will be automatically redirected towards It would be actually even easier for users to search stuff: just type in what you need and voila, MSN search spits out a page of results.

      That's the "beauty" of desktop dominance.

  • er... (Score:3, Funny)

    by keiferb ( 267153 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:16AM (#11572103) Homepage
    This is a trick question, right?
  • by musikit ( 716987 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:17AM (#11572121)
    HANDLE ResolveAddress(LPSTR lpstrAddress)
    if( strcmp(lpstrAddress,"") == 0)
    return ResolveToIPAddress(lpstrAddress);
  • The problem is that MSN Search is a direct ripoff of Google. Look at this MSN search page [] compared to this Google search page []. The Google UI is simpler and cleaner, and Google has services that MSN doesn't (at least yet).

    MSN Search adds nothing that makes the searching experience better (personally I find MSN Search to be less accurate than Google), and it doesn't fundamentally improve on what Google's doing. It's following, not leading.

    Google has become a household name and a generic verb. That means t

  • With all the hype surrounding the recent release of MSN Search, are the search engine wars heating up?

    I've seen the usual blurbs in news when a new search engine from a large company is made but nothing exceptional. Not like Gmail-scale hype. :-) So nothing I could call hype, just "regular news". I don't think MSN Search will change much at all in their current state. From my tests, their web/image search seem to suck more than Google's although some aspects are interesting and maybe more powerful. But si
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The internet did change some things, and one of them is that in a sense the net does not play by some traditional economic rules. We're not in a zero-sum game any longer. There's no reason why google and MSN search cannot both thrive, despite what the binary thinkers here feel. In a sense, there's no google vs. ms argument because users do not need to commit to one or another. I use both every day.

    That's why it's not the same as the browser wars: people do not use two browsers simultaneously. But they can
  • ...somewhere in the back of my head there is a little voice that says "these people care that I get good search results above all else".

    Microsoft just can't ever give people that feeling- It's against their nature.
  • The main thing that will keep stopping me from using MSN search is the size of the page that the search box is hosted on.

    I don't want to load a web portal or a news website, I just want a search box with a "go" button.

    Microsoft needs to register or something and put a minimalist, google style interface up there.
  • by shird ( 566377 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:21AM (#11572161) Homepage Journal
    Go to Google Suggest [] and type the words "msn search" in the search box and nothing more...

    Take a look at the bottom suggestion....
  • by Silver Sloth ( 770927 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:24AM (#11572209)
    They could use the same tactics they used so that IE beat Netscape. OK so they would lose a court case but they're prepared to pay a few bucks on the way to global domination.
  • by betelgeuse68 ( 230611 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:29AM (#11572266)
    It is possible to beat Microsoft.

    A perfect example of this is Intuit. They've managed to keep Microsoft at bay despite fierce competition. Those flames were fanned when an acquisition of Intuit fell through therefore strengthening Microsoft's resolve.

    Nevertheless Intuit is still with unlike lots of MS road kill that comes to mind.

    This question to some degree seems pointless. It assumes that somehow Microsoft's desktop monopoly will mean that people will stop using a web application (search) with a brand that has become incredibly powerful.

    This seems like a variation on all the claims that Apple was on its death bed eight years ago. In fact I remember seeing NBC News running a story that seemed to echo this industry consensus.

    And despite Microsoft's desktop domination, it seems most Microsoft employees (much to the chagrin of MS management) are opting to patronize Apple with its latest creation, the iPod. The story in Wired was featured in Slashdot just recently.

    Google is incredibly entrenched in people's minds. It has become a powerful brand. Evidence of this is the fact that people readily use its name as a verb.

    Microsoft setting its search engine as the default for whatever future browser they release will *not* cause people to stop using Google.

  • by Bloke in a box ( 781163 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @11:48AM (#11572506) Homepage
    Too many people are forgetting that although 99.99% of people on here are proper computer geeks, we make up about 0.001% of all the people that use computers and the internet.

    The majority of computer users know of no reason why they should hate Microsoft, when you consider how many people still don't even know what spy/mal/parasiteware is, or the amount of people who don't know what a firewall is or have an up to date virus checker etc.

    People are quite happy to use whatever tool is first there (why else would they download so many spyware toolbars?), many millions of people in this world have MSN as their homepage either because they don't know how to change it or they actually use the search functions on there.

    Yes Google is very very well known, as is Microsoft and MSN. While the marketing ploy wont work with us geeks, I'll quite happily bet it'll affect large numbers of 'ordinary' computer users.

    I love the slick, clean and crisp design of Google but it's amazing the amount of people who prefer a site such as MSN because it's got pretty flashing lights, lots of colour and all the rest of the shit on it.

    Just because we're geeks doesn't mean that everyone else thinks like us.
  • by dep01 ( 730107 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @12:21PM (#11572930) Homepage
    People (, MSN search, etc) don't seem to understand that the reason why most people use Google is because of it's lightning-fast interface. It's simple... It's quick... The second I hit MSN's search page, i though, "Ugh... Look at all the CRAP that has to load every time I want to go here."
  • by faust2097 ( 137829 ) on Friday February 04, 2005 @02:16PM (#11574318)
    Google is a good search engine but they've been completely owned by 'optimizers' [I have a slightly less polite term for them] for years now. Google really needs to radically change Pagerank soon, the worse their results get the more vulnerable they are to a competitor with better technology. It happened to us when I worked at AltaVista, we tried adding a bunch of features instead of improving core search results and we got completely killed by Google which had almost no features, just better results.
  • by Shag ( 3737 ) * on Friday February 04, 2005 @02:19PM (#11574336)
    Microsoft's got tons of money, so it can have a presence in a lot of different market spaces, but bog-standard Windows clients and Office are still its cash cows. It's had mixed results trying to leverage its strength on the desktop into other segments.

    Windows server: Sure, some folks buy it, but plenty don't. So far, Microsoft only has about one third [] of this space, and Linux is nipping at its heels. They knifed Windows for Itanium [], to the disappointment of both Itanium users.

    Server appications: IIS has lost market share to Apache in recent years [], and Exchange isn't ubiquitous yet either. SQL server enjoys showing the web [] its limits.

    Windows CE/Mobile/Tablet/whatever: Still no monopoly, and since sales of PDAs are shrinking [] and tablet PC's haven't really caught on, even if MS did take over this market...

    Game Consoles: XBox did just have its first profitable quarter []. Ever. But it doesn't seem to sell so well overseas, and Nintendo and Sony haven't been persuaded to go away yet.

    Media: Media Center PC's aren't selling so well [], and in a world with iTuneszilla [] stomping around [], Windows Media suddenly seems less likely to rule the universe than it did a few years ago, even with "PlaysForSure."

    Internet Services: Even with its added features [], MSN Messenger doesn't seem to be destroying AIM or Yahoo Messenger. MSN doesn't seem to be destroying anybody in general, even if Verizon throws it in free with DSL [], and even if MSN is the homepage for Internet Explorer. Now Microsoft wants to go after Google, too.

    It's pretty interesting to consider that Windows Client and Office are so frickin' profitable that Microsoft can afford to throw gobs of money at their unprofitable products and divisions (which are pretty much everything but Windows Client and Office) and still have huge heaps of cash left over.

    (Oh, and I left off Apple [], because if 95% of the world abruptly switched to Apple, Microsoft is second only to Apple itself in Mac software development, and would still be one of the most profitable companies out there, on sales of Office for Mac [], VirtualPC [], etc. Also, because as long as Apple is out there, and isn't owned by Microsoft, Microsoft can point at it and say "look, there are other choices, we're not that much of a monopoly!" :)

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer