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Psstt!! Microsoft and Yahoo's search deal has been approved by the EU and U.S. Department of Justice.  (Source: Sydney Morning Herald)

Microsoft and Yahoo still greatly trail Google. The pair has about 10 percent of the market, while Google owns close to 86 percent.  (Source: Net Marketshare)
Microsoft is pouring money into a last ditch battle to beat Google

The U.S. Depart of Justice and European Union regulators on Thursday approved a 10-year search deal between Microsoft and search engine giant Yahoo.  The deal marks a last ditch effort by the pair to beat their arch-rival, internet search kingpin Google.

Early on, Microsoft realized that there would be value in controlling the internet, a growing means of communication for much of the population.  As early as 1995, Microsoft began offering its own web browser, Internet Explorer, as an addition to its ubiquitous operating system.

Microsoft, however, showed up late to the internet search war.  It launched a search page in 1998, but it was a minimal project -- its search results were provided by Looksmart (1998, 2000-2003) and Altavista (1999).  Google, meanwhile, had launched in 1997 as an original product and by 2000 was becoming a major power on the internet.

Yahoo was yet another key player, who launched even earlier -- in 1995.  However, Yahoo was ultimately outmatched by Google thanks to Google's generally superior results and greater savvy in launching the soon to be mammoth industry of online advertising.

By the time Microsoft developed its own search engine, the battle for search supremacy was essentially over -- Google had won.  Since 2004, the death of AOL shifted the market slightly, handing Google a nice chunk of marketshare to pad its already sizable lead with.

However, Microsoft isn't giving up on it's David and Goliath quest to slay the king of search.  Over the last four years it has poured $5B USD into its search engine efforts to try to gain ground on Google.  The new deal with Yahoo will likely bring some extra revenue to Microsoft, but also likely extra expenses.

Yahoo's search has been powered by Bing, Microsoft's new search engine, since last July.  Meanwhile, Yahoo is focusing on advertising efforts and trying to restore some momentum of its own.  

The pair has a long way to go.  In January, market research firm Net Marketshare reported that Google accounted for 85.8 percent of searches, while Microsoft and Yahoo only accounted for 3.25 and 6.16 percent, respectively.

Still, some are optimistic.  States Kim Caughey, senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital Group, "Microsoft really has room to throw money at this.  I think it can work. If they can make inroads in specific target areas, they could have something positive to report."

At least the goal for Microsoft is clear; states Microsoft's Yusuf Mehdi, "Really now, the goal is about share gain. If we grow share, we will grow our way into profitability, and we have confidence we can do that."

Achieving that gain will be the tough part, though, especially in the face of ever-successful Google, a firm so ubiquitous that its name has become a verb synonymous with search.



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It might matter if they didn't suck.
By bissimo on 2/19/2010 10:09:02 AM , Rating: 2
I tried Bing when it came out and was very dissatisfied with the search results. Yahoo is pretty terrible, too. Until they write some new algorithms that will be better than Google's, they're wasting their time.




RE: It might matter if they didn't suck.
By aftlizard on 2/19/2010 10:38:10 AM , Rating: 2
I find myself using both equally.


By Mitch101 on 2/19/2010 3:26:58 PM , Rating: 2
Im kind of 50-50 now myself.

Google is more of a search engine to me while Bing tries to be something more than just search.

I love the flight estimator.

On Bing
Travel - Search Flights -- Scroll down to

Flexible? Compare dates and destinations
Find the dates with the lowest fares

Put in source and up to 3 destinations and graph out flight costs.

Made me rethink my destination of trips in the spring.


RE: It might matter if they didn't suck.
By GeekDaddy on 2/19/2010 10:38:11 AM , Rating: 2
I guess it makes a difference what one searches for and the keys that are used. I began using Bing and found the results more to my liking than Google. I use it by far more than Google now. Your mileage may vary.


By monomer on 2/19/2010 11:59:02 AM , Rating: 3
I found with Bing that it was basically a wash when compared with Google. I just use Google over Bing because I like the minimalistic interface better.


RE: It might matter if they didn't suck.
By frobizzle on 2/19/2010 11:44:25 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder how much of a gift Microsoft gave the folks at the DOJ to persuade them to approve this?


By bhieb on 2/19/2010 1:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the chart why wouldn't they. With Google controlling 85% of the global market, the DOJ should do whatever they can to keep the remaining competitors around for as long as possible.

This one was a no brainer, even combined Bing/Yahoo poses little to no threat to Google.


By geekgod on 2/19/2010 1:58:18 PM , Rating: 2
I like Microsoft products. So, I always try out their new stuff. I tried to switch to their search when it used to be live search, it sucked. So I switched back to Google.

But I am completely sold on Bing. I have stopped using Google and I think the Bing search experience is a lot better. I don’t think I would ever switch back to Google.


By drycrust3 on 2/21/2010 2:33:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. One of the big factors is the browser - search engine tool bar. It enables a search string to be fed to several different search engines and the results compared.
Unfortunately for Yahoo and Bing, Google is much more intuitive than other search engines. Thus, while what they are doing may well be very good, they are a lap behind the leading car.
Oh, by the way, one of the meanings of the the word "Bing" in Chinese is "sick". Not sure if the Microsoft marketing people knew that, but they should; and I'm not sure how that would affect the perception the Chinese would have about how good the search results, but again they need to find out.


Bing-hoo?
By Yames on 2/19/2010 9:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure Google is shaking in their shorts.




hated bing
By Iketh on 2/19/2010 1:14:24 PM , Rating: 2
I tried bing when i installed win7 since it was the default search. The #1 reason i search in the first place is to check the spelling/compounding of words. This was non-existent with bing, whereas google is flawless with this every time.




Too late.
By reader1 on 2/19/10, Rating: -1
"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs














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