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Annual Service Credit examples

Images courtesy John Battelle’s Searchblog
Microsoft is offering businesses money to not use Google

After a stirring memo from Bill Gates detailing his company’s lost opportunities on Web technologies, Microsoft has been playing catch-up to the likes of Google. Specifically, Microsoft is feverishly trying to gain market share in the search business—a sector dominated by the Mountain View, Calif.-based Google.

As its latest effort to push Windows Live Search, Microsoft is offering businesses incentives to use its search engine. As part of its “Service Credits for Web Search” program, every PC enrolled using Live Search will yield a business between $2 to $10 annually in Microsoft service or training credit, plus a $25,000 “enrollment credit.”

Word of the program first came from John Battelle’s Searchblog, which features description and pictures outlining Microsoft’s “Service Credits for Web Search.” As quoted in the entry, Microsoft is pushing its plan with the following overview:

Employees search the web daily with tools from Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. OEMs and web sites are already earning credits based on searches that their users bring. Now, your organization can earn credits for Microsoft web searches and redeem them for Microsoft or preferred partner deployment and training services. More searches earns more credits towards the services you value.

A couple of examples of service credit show that a company with 10,000 enrolled PCs could earn credit of $120,000, with larger companies able to earn even more.

In an e-mail statement as seen on Information Week, Microsoft confirmed the existence of the program. “Currently, we are conducting a trial program through which Microsoft is providing service or training credits to a select number of enterprise customers based on the number of Web search queries conducted by their employees via Live Search,” said a Microsoft spokesperson.

“These customers, in turn, are providing valuable feedback to Microsoft on the use of Web search in an enterprise environment. As search evolves into more of a productivity tool, and revenue sharing becomes more commonplace across the industry, we are engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships such as this and our recently announced deal with Lenovo to more easily enable customers to choose Live Search.”

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wow, is this legal?
By Samus on 3/20/2007 6:46:13 AM , Rating: 4
that has got to be the most desperate thing i've ever seen a company do. PAY the customer to use their product.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By kibets on 3/20/2007 7:16:16 AM , Rating: 5
Don't forget Google paid Dell 1 Billion over 3 years to have their crapware preinstalled on all Dell PCs. This includes presetting the search default to Google (from MSN Live).

Does Microsoft's move seem so desperate?

RE: wow, is this legal?
By crystal clear on 3/20/2007 8:17:53 AM , Rating: 1
"Does Microsoft's move seem so desperate?"


ON THEIR SITE & NOT LOG IN TO DAILY TECH.(to comment ofcourse).

RE: wow, is this legal?
By crystal clear on 3/20/2007 8:21:20 AM , Rating: 2
ONE $ for every comment -not bad -I would donate all the money to charity in return.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By AstroCreep on 3/20/2007 10:39:44 AM , Rating: 3
In a sea of bloated crapware installed by OEMs, I find that the Google software is by far the most benign and pretty simple to remove.
Now AOL, that's a different matter. >:(

RE: wow, is this legal?
By Master Kenobi on 3/20/2007 10:48:11 AM , Rating: 2
Try Norton my friend.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By InsaneScientist on 3/20/2007 11:26:45 PM , Rating: 3
McAfee is actually worse...
At lease Symantec had the decency to create a removal tool (that's only a few hundred KB) that gets rid of all traces of their crap on a machine.

McAfee has no equivalent, so when (note: I say when, not if) the uninstaller fails to get stuff off, you have to manually remove every file (usually in safe mode, since the files are protected religiously) and every registry key.

No thank you... I'll format and reinstall before I try to deal with that. >_<

RE: wow, is this legal?
By semo on 3/20/2007 10:47:10 AM , Rating: 2
don't forget m$ has been forcing (or incentivizing, whatever) dell to preinstall windows on their computers for decades on which google can preinstall their "crapware" in the first place.

those type of strategies have been in use by wintel way before google came around. why are so many surprised/shocked or worried about legality when we all know perfectly well that big corps are well protected by shark infested moats. it sounds illegal but there must be some technicality or boundary that isn't being crossed that makes it a fair and competitive practice.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By frobizzle on 3/20/2007 9:05:18 AM , Rating: 2
If this is legal (and I'm not at all certain on that) it has to be skirting the boundry between legal and illegal. It is truly sad that Microsoft has to resort to these tactics. Google got to where they are by providing a search engine that works.

Capitalism logic: Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.
Microsoft logic: Make a substandard mousetrap but offer monetary incentives to people to use it and people will learn to enjoy having the mice running around their feet.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By lemonadesoda on 3/20/2007 9:09:36 PM , Rating: 2
That's socialist and welfare real-politik for you! Come visit Europe sometime.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By LatinMessiah on 3/21/2007 12:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
I agree.

RE: wow, is this legal?
By rushfan2006 on 3/21/2007 4:45:50 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, for those commenting in this thread with a reaction of astonishment -- there really isn't anything shocking to this news at all. At all.

This isn't the first time a company has done similar to help their own product or service succeed. Someone already mentioned the Dell and Google deal for example.

You should realize news is about sensationalism. Just like in our personal lives -- all the times people focus on what we do wrong or questionable at times (we are all imperfect beings right?)...but yet the number of times we do good far outweigns those other times.....what do they focus on....that's right the bad/negative.

It's just about grabbing readers to support the news machine.

There's nothing in this story that is shocking to all.

Microsoft has lost the plot
By tuteja1986 on 3/20/2007 12:20:45 AM , Rating: 2
over the past year i have been baffled by some of the movies that Microsoft has made. They really need to start firing the marketing idiots making these type of decision. They really aren't going to gain much market share like that but just gain more angry and hatred towards the company.
Zune = DRM on Wifi , horrible buggy software and no WM11 support
PC Live any where = dead because of stupid decision to try and tell developers what they can and can't do. Also make the user be forced to buy gold membership which is totally crazy for pc game segment.

RE: Microsoft has lost the plot
By Rockjock51 on 3/20/2007 3:51:11 AM , Rating: 2
Not sure, but I remember reading somewhere that you only had to buy the gold membership to play with Xbox360 players. If thats the case.. you can hardly compare current multiplayer systems to one which facilitates every game that uses it into one lobby with search and friends lists that are the same for every game regardless of system. If its nothing more than Xbox Live on the PC its worth the cost, to me. But everyone has their own limits on what is worth their money.

RE: Microsoft has lost the plot
By FITCamaro on 3/20/2007 7:43:48 AM , Rating: 2
Umm....the gold membership is so you can play against other people on Xbox Live. You don't have to have it to play games online though. So how is that forcing gamers to have it again?

RE: Microsoft has lost the plot
By Tsuwamono on 3/20/2007 7:54:27 AM , Rating: 2
its forcing gamers imo because more people are probably going to want to play on the XBL version then the non-XBL which means you will end up playing with half the amount of people you could have been playing with before at best.

RE: Microsoft has lost the plot
By gramboh on 3/20/2007 11:41:23 AM , Rating: 2
I'll gladly fork out $50US a year if it means I can frag people using 360's and gamepads with my mouse/keyboard in any FPS :). It's worth the money just to hear 14 year olds squeel in anger.

This is too bad....
By danz32 on 3/20/2007 1:23:15 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft has alot of good ideas / products associated with Windows Live and its unfortanuate they have to resort to this to try and get market share.

RE: This is too bad....
By mlau on 3/20/2007 2:31:22 AM , Rating: 2
If you have to PAY people to use your service, then
there's something wrong with it.

Or, Microsoft would like to know what businesses are searching
for on the Web and are willing to pay a lot for this info.
(Right now Google gets most of this info and therefore knows
better what services businesses want/expect; an obvious dis-
advantage for ms)

RE: This is too bad....
By therealnickdanger on 3/20/2007 7:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
If you have to PAY people to use your service, then there's something wrong with it.

Well, not necessarily. I really love the Live search engine, it works extremely well and integrates a lot of excellent features, but by the time it came out I was already using Google. I use the word "Google" as a verb now. I know what to expect from links provided by the engine. It's that familiarity that keeps me from using Live. I would switch over for service credits though.

RE: This is too bad....
By LatinMessiah on 3/21/2007 1:18:04 PM , Rating: 2
I, too, am afraid of change.

Too late....but never too late?
By crystal clear on 3/20/2007 4:43:03 AM , Rating: 2
IBM has done it already & is very successful -Its FREE & does NOT pay anything to users.


IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition offers advanced features such as automatic spell correction, support for synonyms and shortcuts, wildcard support to substitute for unknown characters, query reporting, and graphical user interface customization. In addition, it is fully integrated with Yahoo! Search, providing one-click access to send queries to Yahoo! web, image, video, audio, directory, local and news search services.

The new software announced today complements IBM's existing OmniFind search and content discovery software. It provides a no-cost entry point for clients who want to get started with basic search but might have future needs for advanced secured search, or capabilities beyond traditional search such as business analytics, quality insight reporting, e-commerce or customer service self-help, or who want to leverage their unstructured information more broadly as a service throughout the enterprise. IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition is available at no charge and can be downloaded at Worldwide, enterprise-class phone support is available from IBM.

RE: Too late....but never too late?
By jtesoro on 3/20/2007 5:16:11 AM , Rating: 3
I think the IBM and Microsoft efforts are two different things actually.

IBM and Yahoo's product allows corporations to index their sites/content so employees and customers can search through it easily. They're giving this away for free (likely with some limits). I'm guessing that they expect to get revenue from licensing and consulting fees for those customers who want more than what the free product provides.

Microsoft simply wants more people using Live Search and they're willing to pay people to use it. Their end game is to take traffic away from Google and get critical mass for their own search and advertising business.

By crystal clear on 3/20/2007 7:48:54 AM , Rating: 2
In addition to the above-IBM also provides this-


The delivery of Google Gadgets into a business environment is going to evolve how people work. IBM and Google together can deliver a content-rich user experience to small business and large enterprises," said Larry Bowden, IBM Lotus Vice President of Portals and Web Interaction Services. "Google's portfolio of gadgets accessed and managed seamlessly within WebSphere Portal provides an extensive set of services for reuse in user-created situational applications."

IBM also announced its search sitemap utility, based on a new sitemap protocol that will make it possible to optimize publication of portal content for improved search by public search engines. This feature also includes the ability to notify search engines of the update frequency, last modification date, and relative priority of the content that is being published. The end result is an improved content relationship with external search engines so that all of the public content in a portal can be found and crawled efficiently


M$ has to come up with something original that can ,as you say-
"take traffic away from Google and get critical mass for their own search and advertising business".

The current model/plan is plain stupidity in the LONG TERM.

They (MS)recently bought a company called "TELL ME"-see link below-


TellMe is a leader in voice-related technologies, and the company already massages a cool $100+ million in profit annually as a provider of call-center technologies. Chances are high that if you've talked to a computer on the other end of a phone call, you've talked to a TellMe system. Tellme powers more than 40 percent all of directory assistance calls in the US and also offers sports scores, movie times, and stock quotes in response to voice requests.

Microsoft believes that VoIP is a Next Big Thing™, so to speak, and the company will be using TellMe's intellectual property in more than just mobile search, although mobile search is precisely where Microsoft hopes to deal a serious blow to Google. How so? Although Internet and traditional telecommunications networks are converging, the market for both mobile search and computer-aided services are expected to explode. Keep in mind that the lion's share of Google's revenues stem directly from search-based advertising. Microsoft hopes to upstage that by becoming the leader in mobile search, and there's reason to believe that mobile search could be just as profitable


I already gave the hint(IDEA) ......"TELL ME"-USE IT.

Search Tracking
By jtesoro on 3/20/2007 12:46:33 AM , Rating: 4
Amazon tried something similar before to encourage customers to use their A9 search engine. They give a small percentage off Amazon purchases (1% or something) if you use A9 a few times a month. I thought about it but didn't bite. Maybe Microsoft's approach with corporations will do better.

It'd be interesting to know what activities the browser helper object records and tracks down. I'm pretty sure it sees Live usage vs Google and the like. I wonder if it records the search terms itself. If so, it may fall to the maxim "the act of observing changes what is being observed".

Nothing new
By Murst on 3/20/2007 10:06:06 AM , Rating: 2
How is this any different than google offering 10 (or 20, I forget) dollars for using google checkout? Or pepsi/itunes giving out 100 million songs?

Its just another marketing idea. In reality, its actually very cheap compared to some other things going on out there. Not to mention that the services that microsoft will offer as rewards can make them profit in themselves later on (or if the client exceeds their budget).

Chevy probably spent much more on SuperBowl commercials in one year than MS will spend on this entire program. And if it ends up working for MS, its a pretty good investment.

Incredibly Smart and Very cheap.
By Mitch101 on 3/20/2007 2:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thats anywhere from $.17 to .83 cents a month. Thats an excellent deal when you consider companies pay as much as $3.00 for a single click to promote thier website and thats no guarantee of a client or sale.

By DEredita on 3/20/2007 4:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
So would server teams block google to make sure that no one used it. That's like a nightmare, I've become addicted to Google, every Mac and PC I have has Google defaulted as the homepage in any given web browser.

By vze4z7nx on 3/20/2007 6:09:26 PM , Rating: 2
Omg, this has to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen. A company paying people to use their products.

Buy hey, thats Micro$oft, so what else do you want?

By lemonadesoda on 3/20/2007 9:12:59 PM , Rating: 2
The money is PEANUTS compared to the company-wide MS XP/Vista licensing fees. It amounts to a "kick-back" of $5-$10. Probably less on average. It's a CLEVERER way of discounting. Rather than make your OS cheaper... keep it a little more pricey, but offer an effective discount on using your, rather than the competitors, service.

Happens in EVERY industry. If this is illegal, the travel industry is in deep deep trouble.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
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