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Microsoft vs. Google

Just about a month ago, Tim Oren commented on some postings by “Doc Searls” and “Dave Winer” about Microsoft plans to take on Google. At the time, Tim questioned whether search could actually get enough Microsoft energy — given all of the other issues at hand.

Earlier today, Dave updated the story, spiced up by some comments from a recent interviewee sharing what he learned in his interview with the GM of MSN Search. Fascinating stuff. Google in Microsoft’s gun sights. With a small (50 people — small for Microsoft?) team driving search at Microsoft — they might actually be able to innovate quickly.

Yesterday, Mary Meeker from Morgan Stanley shared her thoughts about this space in an updated report — seeing the recent Microsoft/AOL settlement as an important element in the whole search equation. In another report on CBS Marketwatch yesterday, former PayPal CEO Peter Thiel commented on how he saw Google as eBay’s primary competition.

If we play Meeker’s thread through, what happens when MSN Search (presumably branded AOL) replaces Google at AOL? What about Yahoo Search? Although Google continues to dominate, I see Yahoo making steady inroads in my own weblog’s referer log.

Tim’s earlier post ended commenting on the pool of user trust that Google has established vs. that of Microsoft’s. On the other hand, Google doesn’t have the desktop. They’ve snared a neat position in Apple’s Safari browser with Google Search being built-in. Maybe Google really needs to buy a browser company to secure its position on the Windows desktop? Wouldn’t that be funny — the Google IE toolbar expands to fill the screen! And lurking in the background is Amazon and Alexa — whose latest toolbar is really slick. We continue to live in interesting times.

One reply on “Microsoft vs. Google”

Microsoft’s corporate culture lacks the creative momentum to outflank Google with innovation alone, but maybe with unlimited financial clout, Microsoft can ultimately buy its way into a dominant search technology position. The real war is about Linux vs Windows, and the thousands of cheap but reliable Linux boxes that comprise Google’s redundant server network–trumping slower,less reliable, and far costlier Windows server technology.

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