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Microsoft

Why Microsoft Wants to Buy Google 500

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the break-out-the-foil-hats dept.
xihr writes "Harry Fletcher writes in The Inquirer about an obvious discrepancy between searches for "linux windows" on Google and MSN; the former comes up with almost 9 million hits, but the latter only comes up with -- wait for it -- 16. The author then speculates on Microsoft's ulterior motives for their attempted (and failed) purchase of Google."
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Why Microsoft Wants to Buy Google

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  • by TheAngryArmadillo (158896) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @11:56AM (#7487322)
    Even funnier is a search for 'Linux' on MSN [msn.com]. Amazon, eBay, and two Microsoft sites, one of them about 'Alternatives to Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP' [msn.com], come up before Linux.org [linux.org] does. According to MSN there are only 365 sites about Linux on the Web. Google [google.com] says there are 92,000,000.

    Biased? Microsoft? Never!
    • by leerpm (570963) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:00PM (#7487345)
      I think it is more a result of MSN having such a smaller index to search from. Search for 'Windows' on MSN, and you only get 2373 results.
    • by neosake (655724) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:14PM (#7487434) Homepage
      The funny thing is that the third link on the msn search for linux (the one that links to tech.msn.com) got yanked.

      But from the Google cache [google.ca] remembers, and what does it say?

      Red Hat remains a solid Linux contender, but Windows switchers or dual-booters should stick with SuSE for easier installation.

      LoL!
    • by RT Alec (608475) * <`moc.elkcuhc.todhsals' `ta' `cela'> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:17PM (#7487447) Homepage Journal

      Searched from MSN (listed by number of results):

      • Results 1-15 of about 1136552 containing "freebsd"
      • Results 1-15 of about 341343 containing "openbsd"
      • Results 1-15 of about 200091 containing "ipsec"
      • Results 1-15 of about 96796 containing "postgres"
      • Results 1-15 of about 9641 containing "plan9"
      • Results 1-15 of about 408 containing "OS/2"
      • Results 1-15 of about 365 containing "linux"
      • Results 1-15 of about 113 containing "apache"
      • Results 1-15 of about 76 containing "php"
      • Results 1-15 of about 40 containing "mysql"
      Clearly, those platforms that MS does not like are treated differently than less popular (and less threatening?) technologies. Or maybe Plan9 is finaly picking up steam.
      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:27PM (#7487506)


        Clearly, those platforms that MS does not like are treated differently than less popular (and less threatening?) technologies.

        • Results 1-15 of about 254379 containing "vomit"
        • Results 1-15 of about 79630 containing "dog pooh"
        • Results 1-15 of about 114 containing "lawsuit"
        • Results 1-15 of about 27 containing "bankrupt"

        Clearly, they find some topics more offensive than others!
      • Try "apache server" (Score:5, Informative)

        by YeOldeGnurd (14524) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:12PM (#7487769) Homepage Journal
        Strange. I certainly don't want to defend MSN search, but it seems to intentionally limit the response set for common words. Hence, low numbers of responses for "linux", "apache", and "windows". But if you search for "apache server", there's about 5 million responses on MSN search.
        • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @02:11PM (#7488099) Journal
          Apache and Windows are different. There are Apache Indians, knives, helicopters, etc. There are window sills, frames, opportunity, etc.
        • by spektr (466069)
          I think you're right. But I'm still astonished that a search for "word" yields 1125 hits, while "linux" has only 365 hits. "Word" is a word that I would certainly filter out completely, but "linux" isn't a word in any natural language I am aware of. So they're still biased as hell. Only consider the top hits for "linux":

          1. hit: SuSE Linux 9.0 at Amazon.com
          2. hit: rather useless link to ebay.com
          3. hit: Introducing Linux on tech.msn.com (thankfully, this link doesn't even work)
          4. hit: Alternatives to Linux-A
        • by arkanes (521690)
          Theres actually several tens of thousands of results for Linux. The first set of numbers are the hand-crafted (and paid for) directory results. MS doesn't show you how many actual results there are till you get past those results. They seem to only do this for certain keywords (perhaps there is some sort of threshold of paid results).
    • obvious discrepancy between searches for "linux windows" on Google and MSN; the former comes up with almost 9 million hits, but the latter only comes up with -- wait for it -- 16.

      Webcrawler- 116 hits for "porn", but only 36 for "nuclear fusion".

      I sense a pro-pornography, anti-nuclear bias in Webcrawler!

  • Not so fast (Score:5, Informative)

    by DeadSea (69598) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @11:56AM (#7487323) Homepage Journal
    The author of the article has no clue how MSN search actually works. MSN search returns only sponsored results first. There are 16 sponsored results and then if you go to the next page you see:
    Results 16-30 of about 8782246 containing "linux windows"
    Their non-sponsored links don't seem to be so evil:
    1. Wine Development HQ
    2. Linux Online
    3. freshmeat.net
    4. WinLinux 2003
    5. Red Hat
    6. Linux.com
    7. XChat
    8. NeTraverse
    9. Opera Software
    10. Cygwin
    11. Microsoft Linux
    12. Operating System Sucks-Rules-O-Meter
    13. Linux + Windows 95 mini-HOWTO
    14. Download Opera
    The list looks like a pretty good list of top sites.

    The fact that MSN Search is willing to whore their entire first page of search results to the top bidder is another matter altogether. It makes their search hard to use, it confuses people, it is dihonest, and I'm sure glad that there are other alternatives. They get people to use MSN search because it is the default search engine for the Internet Explorer browser. Many people use it becasue they don't know about the alternatives. Sound like their other anti-competative behavior?

    • General Public (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:00PM (#7487343) Homepage Journal
      They wont understand either, they will take what they see first as 'results' and move on with that. By controlling the first 10% of what the average consumer sees, they can manipulate consumer opinion and knoledge. Sure *we* can see past this and get facts, but *we* dont line their pockets either...
      • Re:General Public (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mcpkaaos (449561) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:46PM (#7487616)
        They wont understand either...

        Sure *we* can see past this and get facts, but *we* dont line their pockets either...

        Did you ever stop to think that one of the reasons people don't support or take the time to learn about the various OSS movements is because of high-brow, elitist comments such as yours?

        Instead of alienating the "average consumer", perhaps we should be working as hard as possible to present a viable alternative without all the attitude. If we perpetuate an image that Linux users are different from the "average consumer", then guess what, we will be the only ones using it.

        Linux, as many OSS projects, is not too dissimilar from a business in many ways, except that instead of a highly trained marketing department, it has us. That is a greatly simplified statement, but I think it stands to reason.
        • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:10PM (#7487755) Homepage Journal
          Then you can go out and market OSS for 'us'.

          You seem to misunderstand what i was saying. The average citizen reads and believes what he sees in the media, this includes places such as Google.

          If all they see is one thing ( in this case, Microsoft ) then they will believe this is the only option. That is just human behavior.

          While I agree we need to educate people ( and I do my part, do you? ) this does nothing for the *rest* of the world that doesn't get exposure except via the mass media, which 'teach your friend' doesn't qualify.. This is where things such as controlling search engine content come into play.. Or control of content on TV ( MSNBC as an example ) .

          How do you propose to solve that, since you seem to think you know so much?

          Calling them 'average consumer' isn't a insult, its f-ing reality.. Its how the mass consumer world works.. MOST people are 'average consumers'. And they could really care less about this.. all they care about is what they are spoon fed.. You should read up about basic marketing techniques before you spout off again..
      • Re:General Public (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bogie (31020) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:02PM (#7487714) Journal
        That's the same thought I had. At first glance its just a bunch of ads. Who want's to use a search engine where the Entire first page has been manipulated? I could see most people not even bothering to hit the tiny "next" arrows or even understanding that there the first page is a giant fake just pretending to do what a Real search engine does. What a crappy search engine.

        The parent article was right, Microsoft just wants to trick people into visiting their fake search results page. The less people know outside of products which make MS money the better off MS is. This of course includes all of those paid for fake search listings.
      • Re:General Public (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bob9113 (14996) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @03:02PM (#7488347) Homepage
        I'm a more passionate critic of Microsoft than even most of the people in this focused community, but this is not justified.

        By controlling the first 10% of what the average consumer sees, they can manipulate consumer opinion and knoledge.

        The sponsored links page (the front page, if indeed it is sponsored links) includes:
        1. A Linux and Windows Dedicated Server Host
        2. Another Lin & Win Host
        3. Another Lin & Win Host
        4. Backup Software For Lin, Win, Nix
        5. Another Lin & Win Host
        6. Security Software For Lin, Win, Nix
        7. CNet Downloads for Lin, Win, Nix
        8. Another Win & Lin Host
        9. Barnes & Noble Book on DB2 for Win, Lin, Nix
        10. Amazon Book on Linux for Windows Users
        11. Amazon Book on X Windows (nothing about MS Win)
        12. Cross Platform Virus Story
        13 - 15. Three WINE Links
        16. - doesn't appear? Perhaps they forgot to subtract one from the size of the array :)

        I'm all for bashing Microsoft. I even think a certain amount of propaganda is appropriate, along the lines of fighting fire with fire, but this is just flat out FUD. Even a tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorist could only possibly point to item 12 as remotely anti-Linux (it could be taken to imply that Linux is as vulnerable as Windows), and even that would require a stupendous amount of blind credulity. 10, 11, and 13-15 are clearly in favor of Linux.
    • Re:Not so fast (Score:5, Informative)

      by DeadSea (69598) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:01PM (#7487354) Homepage Journal
      Just for the record, here are some links:

      Google search for: linux windows [google.com] - Results 1 - 30 of about 8,140,000. Search took 0.15 seconds.

      MSN search for: linux windows [msn.com] - Results 1-15 of about 16 containing "linux windows"
      MSN search for: linux windows (page 2) [msn.com] - Results 16-30 of about 8898820 containing "linux windows"

      • Re:Not so fast (Score:2, Insightful)

        by twiddlingbits (707452)
        I got 9.3M in 0.11 secs at Google, did someone add 1.2M links this morning? ;) MSN says 8,900,562. That's within 5% of Google. Pretty good for a search engine owned by those who wish to kill Lunix. Lycos/HotBot says 8,948,296. So, everyone is about the same. But Lycos/HotBot SAY the first page is only sponsored links. In other words the author is VERY biased. I don't like biased towards either side in the Windows/Linux fight. But Microsoft has made a lot of enemies so you gotta take all the anti-MS pres
    • Re:Not so fast (Score:5, Interesting)

      by BabyDave (575083) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:03PM (#7487367)
      The author of the article has no clue how MSN search actually works. MSN search returns only sponsored results first. There are 16 sponsored results and then if you go to the next page you see:

      True, but it doesn't actually say that anywhere - it just says "Results 1-15 of about 16 containing linux windows". Also, there is a 'sponsored links' section on the right of the page, separate to these 15. You need to click on the 'next' button to see "Results 16-30 of about 8898833". Which is an abysmal design decision, if nothing else.

      • Re:Not so fast (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Arker (91948) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:15PM (#7487438) Homepage

        True, but it doesn't actually say that anywhere - it just says "Results 1-15 of about 16 containing linux windows". Also, there is a 'sponsored links' section on the right of the page, separate to these 15. You need to click on the 'next' button to see "Results 16-30 of about 8898833". Which is an abysmal design decision, if nothing else.

        This is exactly the reason all of us old-timers hate MicroSoft so much - this is a perfect example of the sort of thing they've been pulling for decades. Little things, individually, but annoying to folks that know better, but all carefully designed to create a 'network affect' to keep all the noobies from getting better, to keep them penned up in the little MS sandbox and paying the rent.

        • Re:Not so fast (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Reziac (43301) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:00PM (#7487696) Homepage Journal
          In my observation, a lot of such problems in M$ stuff aren't "designed that way", but rather, "no one thought/tested it beyond the obvious" (which is a definitely drawback to eating only your own dog food). Such problems can wind up being very convenient to M$'s interests, and I'm sure are subsequently exploited by said interests, but aren't *necessarily* intentional in origin.

          Frex, my favourite dumb-assed bug, the "backspacing over text inside table cells in WYSIWYG mode clobbers adjacent table tags TOO" bug that was in Frontpage from the very beginning. The resulting open tags crashed early versions of IE, but were conveniently ignored by later IE, while being rendered as blank by Netscape. Obviously no one wants to crash their own product, so the original FP bug can't have been intentional; but I'm sure when IE was updated, it was indeed coded around the bad FP output with malice aforethought. (Which likely explains why the FP bug managed to survive 3 major revisions despite being fairly obvious.)

          BTW this bug was fixed as of FP2000 (about the same time FP got tired of being the laughingstock of the HTML world, and began cleaning up its act).

      • This has got to be the first time I've heard the number 8898833 called "about 16". Somebody get the people at search.msn.com a ticket on the clue train.

    • BUT... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As you pointed out, you must go to the NEXT PAGE, which is unacceptable. If someone just looks at the first page, they only get the 16 'sponsered' results of LINUX->MS migration techiniques and biased spec sheets.
    • When I put an incomplete term into the address bar of Windows Explorer on my Winxp workstation, I am often redirected to the MSN search page.

      Apparently, IE isn't the only MS program that defaults to using MSN search.
      Just tested it on win2k, not only did I get MSN Search, I even get a popup!

      Where's my tinfoil hat?!?
      • Remember when MS made Intenet Explorer and Windows Explorer into a single program? They then claimed that the web browser was an intergral part of the OS and could not be removed.

        Typing a url into the address bar of Windows Explorer will get you to a website, it's no suprise that a search term in that box behaves the same way that IE does.

      • Re:For the Record (Score:2, Informative)

        by cscx (541332)
        You need to turn off "search from the address bar" and change your default search engine.

        Netscape defaults to Netscape search too, y'know ;)
        • Netscape defaults to Netscape search too, y'know ;)

          Yes, but it doesn't go searching for advertisments if you make a typo.

          But assume that people actually want to do a search every time they mistype something. Would they like to get a page of search results or a page of advertisments?

    • I think you're on to part of their game, yes. They whore out their first page, as you put it, and this makes their site a lot less useful to folk, who turn to google. Typical MicroSoft response, of course, is to buy google and do the same thing with it.

      There was a discussion of this same story awhile back on Groklaw [groklaw.net] and there are some interesting observations made there. There is a huge difference in hits between the MSN main search and the MSN UK search, I wonder if the UK site is just not 'whoring' the

    • Well, the problem is that they don't distinguish their featured results enough from their normal results.

      They have a tiny light grey "WEB DIRECTORY SITES" label which isn't really telling me anything useful.

      Also most people won't go past the first page.

    • Re:Not so fast (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Ubergrendle (531719) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:11PM (#7487419) Journal
      No where, *anywhere* on that first search results page does it indicate these are "sponsored results". Maybe "featured sites" is a euphemism for "paid for adverstising", but you have to ask yourself...why does Microsoft not come clean? Oh yeah, right, the credibility factor...

      Having run a search engine for a major banking internet portal, i know from experience that less than 50% of your users are going to move to a second page of results...more often than not, if they don't find what they're looking for in the first 20 results, users are just going to abort, or chose the closest looking link.

    • Re:Not so fast (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pivot (4465) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:40PM (#7487578)
      Well, but if you search for windows, it displays the correct hit count on both pages. For linux, it hides the hit count on the first page. Try it.
    • by threemile (215603) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:54PM (#7487655)
      Actually I don't think that first page is sponsored listings, as the sponsored listings are called out in the right sidebar. If you look at the page source, you see that there are no redirects on that first page of main results (redirects are needed to track the clicks for revenue since MSN does not yet implement their own pay per click search product).

      What we are probably seeing is a beta of Microsoft' s search product, followed by backfill from Inktomi (this is why the search counts differ).

      This only seems to happen on "popular" search queries, like open source (74 msn, 8,013,904 backfill, 11,700,000 google), and baseball (1974 msn, , 20,500,000 google), and linux (365 msn, 16,291,540 backfill, 92,000,000 google). "Unpopular" terms like wax museum just get backfill (151,414 msn backfill, 282,000 google). By only appearing on select popular terms it gives them a chance to test their product on search queries that an immature search product is likely to have results on (or maybe all search queries go through this new search first, and terms like wax museum just don't have any hits yet forcing the backfill to page one).

      However, you assertion that the author has no idea how MSN Search works is probably spot on (both the submitter to Slashdot and the referenced author). Whatever Microsoft's feelings are about open source solutions, they're smart enough to know that surpressing information in the free portion of search is a PR disaster waiting to happen.

    • Bah Humbug! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jefu (53450)
      A search for "Charles Dickens" shows us that it finds :
      Results 1-15 of about 50 containing ""charles dickens""
      Going to the next page gives 16-30 and so on.

      It is only the patient searcher who will discover that after all 45 of the 50 hits are seen that there are 151383 results left to go.

      So I agree, its not that MSN Search is biased against Linux. It is that MSN Search is biased toward those willing to spend money to be listed. And (as a direct effect of that) MSN Search is biased against those

    • Actually the sponsored sites are now on the right-hand side, same as where google puts them. The first 16 results are web directory sites. From the little about link it says:

      Web Directory results contain Web sites within the MSN Web Directory that best match your search words.

      Note:

      Within Web Directory results, there may also be links where the Web site owners have paid for the expedited review of their site or for clicks to their site. These sites are ranked using the normal algorithm applied to a

  • by eurleif (613257) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @11:56AM (#7487325)
    Microsoft just wants to correct them. Linux doesn't exist, darn it.
  • by Mr. Darl McBride (704524) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:00PM (#7487349)
    Google are instead intending to IPO by auctioning off shares. It's an unusual approach, but they're an unusual company. Still, this doesn't preclude Microsoft or another party with specific interests from acquiring Google. With this in mind, we should still be considering the possibility that something could go very wrong in Google's future.

    For a while, I've been looking at alternative search engines. I still use Google as my primary engine, but I hate having such a strong reliance on a single tool. Any tool I don't own and keep locally could go away at any point or change and become useless to me.

    The closest thing to Google I've found to date is AllTheWeb.com [alltheweb.com]. AllTheWeb started out as an experimental second site by Lycos, with the apparent goal of being a Google clone. The thing matured quickly, being an objective and statistics-driven search site, unlike Lycos' own site where sites buy placement. AllTheWeb was later purchased from Lycos by Overture, even more famous for paid placement and (IMHO) slimy advertising tactics. But for the six months or so since they made the purchase, they seem to have left it alone. They may well also be trying to clone Google completely. And if Google suddenly sours as a search tool, this may well finally pay off big for them.

    Give AllTheWeb a try. I'm not petitioning anyone to switch over and start using ATW as their only engine, but make sure you know that alternative is there and - more importantly - make sure Google's new owners know that you're aware of an alternative. It just may be enough to keep them honest.

    • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:13PM (#7487425) Homepage
      when you IPO, you do not have to sell more than 50% share to the public. the Founder of Google can retain 51% of shares and still allow public trading of the other 49% of stock. Why do you think the Ford Family is still in control over the company?
      • Actually to be clear, the Ford family holds [yahoo.com] a relatively small number of shares relative to the total outstanding. What they do own is a special voting class of shares that give them an uncommon level of control over the board and thus the company. This is the method most firms use to retain control of a company once it is taken public, and the method I would imagine the Google founders would eventually retain. To hold 51% of such a valuable company just doesn't make sense from a financing perspective.
  • by aepervius (535155) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:02PM (#7487358)
    Because if they did that they would create market doubt and user doubt on the verracity of google. They are whatthey are now not because people like the "google" word but because they offer the most correct result up to now, without a vendor/advertising bias. Should they switch to the same result than MSN the outcry would be enormous and rightfully the monopoly comision could again look at such practice of supressing concurrence by borderline legal means.

    In the first case (market/user doubt) a new search engine would quickly birth. Whether he could replace google is a matter but i forsee million of geek switching imemdiatly to the new search engine.

    In the second case in the US and in EU a lot of outcry on unfair competition would rise, and that is quite not what they need at them moment especially with the EU inquiries. Even more I suspect if they shunt down the link then the Eu would quickly raise a brow even quicker than with the media player.
  • wasn't it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dlockamy (597001) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:04PM (#7487377)
    always clear why Microsoft wanted Google

    "he who controls the spice controls the universe"
    or i guess in this case
    he who controls the search controls the product placement
  • by pvt_medic (715692) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:04PM (#7487380)
    In this day and time no one would argue that information equals power. and while microsoft may be filtering results that a user may acquire, its all marketing. Microsoft has tried to bust into the search engine business and failed. Search engines are powerful portals to a world we dont know anything about. the simple truth is if they control the most popular search engine then they have an incredibly powerful marketing tool. And while granted there biggest treat is Linux. there are other treats out there and if they control ones access to that information then they have power.

    and when people try to cry foul, well its not microsofts fault you use their website. Its hard to make antitrust case against them when no one forces you to use that search engine.
    • by freeweed (309734) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:52PM (#7487639)
      well its not microsofts fault you use their website. Its hard to make antitrust case against them when no one forces you to use that search engine.

      Actually, it is. msn.com has been the default search engine and homepage for years in IE, which is the default browser on the default operating system on 95% of computers sold out there.

      So yes, it is 100% Microsoft's fault that people use their website. The antitrust angle comes in when they use their near-monopoly (Windows) to squash competition unfairly, whether it be Netscape, Google, or what have you.

      The supreme court of the USA agrees with me, I'd be curious why you find their decisions wrong.
  • by olddoc (152678) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:05PM (#7487382)
    Search google and msn for "linux advantages"
    I got 450k hits on msn and only 350k hits from google.
    The first page on msn were positive articles... not links to MS sites saying there were none.

    Clearly someone at MSN has screwed up!
  • by Chmcginn (201645) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:06PM (#7487388) Journal
    This is yellow journalism at its finest. Try searching for anything on MSN.com - you'll never find anywhere near as many results as you will on Google. It's got nothing to do with linux, it's got everything to do with the type of search being done.

    For example... Beer.

    Google [google.com] versus MSN [msn.com]

    Or how about... trucks?

    Google [google.com] versus MSN [msn.com]

  • Oh! (Score:3, Funny)

    by thejackol (642922) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:07PM (#7487394) Homepage
    Bill!! Save us! We actually have weirdos who wade through 9 million hits! Save us, please! 16 is all we need!
  • by crumbz (41803)
    but enter "linux on windows" and you receive over 9 million results. Hmmm.....
  • by jenkin sear (28765) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:09PM (#7487404) Homepage Journal
    Just for fun, I tried a few other searches. In order of relevance:

    linux windows - 16 results
    microsoft is a fundamentally evil monopolist - 115 results
    windows - 2373 results
    microsoft ate my balls - 6207 results

    so we can all see where their heads are at...
  • by COBOL/MVS (196516) <argherna@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:12PM (#7487422) Homepage Journal
    Could Microsoft's desire to buy Google have to do with Google actually making a profit? Seriously, Fletcher's claims of Microsoft trying to censor web content is preposterous. MSN search results are "limited" is because sites that want to be "found" on MSN have to pay. No one has to pay to be on Google. Google makes money because advertisers know that's the first place anyone will go to find anything on anything. With that kind of audience, Google can ask a lot for page space.

    I think you all need to take a step back and look at the big picture. It isn't about censorship. It's about profit, pure and simple. Would you take over a competitor that was failing and had absolutely no potential to turn itself around?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Searched the web for Linux.
    Did you mean: Windows

    Searched the web for Free Software.
    Did you mean: Capitalism

    Searched the web for speaker bracelets
    Did you mean: Microsoft Windows

    Searched the web for candle trucks
    Did you mean: Microsoft Windows
  • And... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spackler (223562) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:14PM (#7487429) Journal
    ...And, it returns a pop-under for your trouble. So, I get sponsered links, and then a pop under, and then another click, and I can get the results I was looking for.

    Wow, the mind boggles.
  • Googles real asset (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mpn14tech (716482)
    Google's best asset is the trust that people have in them to return useful unbiased results.

    The moment that trust is lost, another search engine will gladly step forward to fill the void.

    It would be a sad day indeed to see Google fall to Microsoft or other greedy commercial interests, but it would not be the end of the world.
  • by Deathlizard (115856) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:20PM (#7487458) Homepage Journal
    Does anyone here think that Microsoft, just maybe, Wanted Google because it works better?

    Does Everything MS do have to have some Ulterior "Lets do X to screw Linux today!" Motive behind it?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:23PM (#7487481)
    Just as a test I did a search for something obscure: rutabaga windows. I got the following:

    Results 1-15 of about 738 containing "rutabaga windows"
    {Results follow}

    Doing the same with "linux windows" I get:

    Results 1-15 of about 16 containing "linux windows"
    {Results follow}

    It's basically saying "There may be another page to look at, but hey, it's only one item so why bother? Maybe you should search for a nice Microsoft product instead." Only if you click the "next" button do you get:

    Results 16-30 of about 8898833 containing "linux windows"

    Does Microsoft have more than 16 results for "linux windows?" Absolutely. Do they lie on the first page of the search? The answer to that is yes as well, unless you really believe 8,898,833 pages is "about 16."
    • Results 1-15 of about 16 containing "linux windows"
      {Results follow}

      It's basically saying "There may be another page to look at, but hey, it's only one item so why bother? Maybe you should search for a nice Microsoft product instead." Only if you click the "next" button do you get:

      Results 16-30 of about 8898833 containing "linux windows"

      Does Microsoft have more than 16 results for "linux windows?" Absolutely. Do they lie on the first page of the search? The answer to that is yes as well, unless you really
  • by Tancred (3904) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:28PM (#7487513)
    I hear that during a Google company meeting a couple weeks ago, the crowd was asked if they'd heard the rumor about Microsoft buying Google. Then they were asked to raise their hands if they believed the rumor. Only one person raised his hand - founder Larry Page. I like his sense of humor. ;)
  • the article never proved that MS was trying to buy google to run it into the ground. His proff consists of:
    1) MS's search engine sucks.
    2) Google's search engine is good.
    3) MS wanted to buy Google

    4) therefor MS wanted to run google into the ground and let thisr own service pimp for MS.

    Once he assumes this important bit, he can make fun of MS, thus pulling in more readers. Man, I wish I could wrte garbage and get paid for it.

  • by spideyct (250045) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:32PM (#7487534)
    That little exercise showed no bias at all! Let me try my own experiment... I'll search for "powerpoint":

    Google: 6,260,000 hits
    MSN: 14 hits

    I conclude that Microsoft is trying to kill their own PowerPoint product (even more than they want to kill Linux!). Thankfully, the people at Google must rely on PowerPoint so much, they want to make sure to keep the word out there.

    Or... stay with me here... maybe Google has a more powerful and capable search engine that can harvest more results. I suppose its possible THAT could explain why Microsoft would want to buy them.
  • by BobTheLawyer (692026) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:32PM (#7487535)
    It's possible such a takeover could be blocked by European competition law (yes, I appreciate neither is a European company, but it's hardly viable to have google separately owned in Europe but owned by Microsoft in the States).

    Does anybody know or has anybody read anything on what the US anti-trust position would be?
  • Hrm. Interesting. I just ran these searches myself, and got contrary information to the parent.

    linux on MSN: 365
    linux on google: 65,100,000
    windows on msn: 2373
    windows on google: 67,900,000

    This is contrary to the 95,000,000 search results for linux that are reported in the article. What's the deal? Maybe an ISP cache of google that's outdated?

    Also, there's roughly a:

    (using the 95 million figure)
    260274/1 search ratio on linux for google/msn
    28614/1 search ratio on windows for google/msn
  • by fleener (140714) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:38PM (#7487559)
    Click the "Next" button a few times on that "Linux Windows" search.

    You'll see:
    Results 31-45 of about 8897853
  • by Soylent Beige (34394) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:40PM (#7487575)
    Would hate to Slashdot Google

    Mirror [216.239.41.104]

    --
  • Makes me wonder... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c4ffeine (705293)
    I'm pretty sure that I've heard of a few virii or worms going around that, among other things, blocked google. What an amazing coincidence... Anyways, here goes M$ with more anticompetitive behavior, maybe if we all get really pissed and make a big deal of it they'll get fined $500k. Nothing we can do about it. Oh well, shit happens, at least they're losing customers to apache. That's a start, all we need is to get linux more popular as an os for all those aol users out there
  • I'd wager a bet that most of us replying to this thread use the internet for research purposes daily. The fact that I just searched for linux on http://search.msn.com and came up with roughly 350+ hits shows that the owner of that search engine wants to limit my access to content on that topic. I think it's time for legislation involving search engines providing information on how they provide their results. Microsoft is obviously either blocking results that pertain to Linux or they need to state exactl
  • by chipwich (131556) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @12:57PM (#7487677)
    Perhaps someone needs to explain how capitalism is supposed to work to the clueless Google management team. Looks like they still think that offering a better product/service translates into financial gain for the company.

    Don't they know anything about changing a horizontal market into a vertical one, locking users in with Digital Restrictions Management, absolving all sense of responsibility with a EULA, and ensuring product obsolescence?

    Amazing that these guys could even find funding with their cluelessness. Must've occurred during the irrational dot-com business-model era in the 90's.

  • Linus. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jacek Poplawski (223457) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:08PM (#7487737)
    MSN results (yes, I read about sponsored links):

    office - 5204
    windows - 2373
    server - 2121
    money - 982
    terrorism - 249
    osama - 103
    bill gates - 63
    linus torvalds - 323738

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @01:23PM (#7487820) Homepage
    MSN's default search doesn't normally return huge numbers of hits for anything. Try "Bush", for example. 712 hits on MSN, 24,800,000 hits on Google.

    MSN's paid search hits ("featured sites") are clearly pro-Microsoft. It's less clear that the real search results are. MSN's search results aren't as useful as Google's, but that may just be inferior technology. MSN tends to return far more outdated pages.

    • by kalidasa (577403) * on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:55PM (#7489026) Journal
      Try George W. Bush. I just did. It'll say something on the order of 301 hits. Scroll through the pages to the last hit. Suddenly, the number jumps through the roof. I find it hard to believe that the first 300 hits are all sponsored links. I think something else is going on here: MSN has not only sponsored links, but some kind of edited directory scheme going here, and it doesn't care to let you know that the first number it quoted is of those links which are sponsored or added editorial, and the second number is a raw search result.
  • by sabNetwork (416076) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:41PM (#7488958)
    Give up comparing the number of results by query! It's NOT ACCURATE. The MSN search is buggy, which should be apparent to anyone who hits the "NEXT >>" button a few times.

    The number of results changes frequently (but not always), and you never reach the suggested limit. For example, "waffles" is only supposed to have 41 matches, but continues long past 100.

    This is really a silly exercise and not a great measure of bias.
  • by pair-a-noyd (594371) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @04:56PM (#7489031)
    We can't find "127.0.0.1"

    You can try again by typing the URL in the address bar above.
    Or, search the Web:

    Go to MSN Search to see complete results for "127.0.0.1".

    ____________________

    You can also visit one of these related Web sites.
    In the Swim - E-Z Vac By Kreepy Krauly
    In the Swim - Robotech Commercial Pool Cleaners
    In the Swim - Replacement Hoses

    Check availability or register the domain name '127.0.0.1'.
    ____________________

    More information about this error.
    About Results

    Not satisfied with your results? Help us improve.

    Powered by MSN Search

    Wow. Now that's a comprehensive search if I ever saw one.
  • by Effugas (2378) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @07:17PM (#7489749) Homepage
    The maximum number of hits a particular search can sustain is between 5 and 100.

    This was a great surprise to the engineers building search engines -- the original problem was, how do we find particular keywords across hundreds of millions of documents? This was solved relatively trivially -- index by keyword, and distribute the search space across the memory of many, many machines. All of the sudden, it became apparent that search had much less to do with how much you could search and much more to do with which results came up first.

    That's a much harder problem -- fundamentally, without the user telling you what he wants, how can you figure out what he's most likely to desire? This actually uses artificial intelligence techniques, much to the consternation of the eternally discredited AI folk who point out that "the moment AI becomes useful, it ceases to be called AI" (which is true). It's AI because you effectively need to programmatically derive what an intelligent surfer is most interested in, as an abstract subject instead of a concrete phrase. Google gets alot of credit for their Pagerank algorithm, which uses links from other sites to weigh which links are more "authoritative" than others, but interestingly enough their system is noticably robust even without outside links. Corporate websites all tend to run 1998-era search engines -- all quantity, no quality (and in this case, quantity has no quality all its own). Some time ago, I worked at a massive company that was testing Google for internal searches. Corporate web pages are far less cross-linked than the web itself. But Google-internal worked just like...well, Google :) So there's some really smart AI there.

    Anyway, as I've said before [slashdot.org], MS can't buy Google; they'd just create the market segment of "what Google used to be". Speaking as someone who has a healthy respect for MS as a company, they've simply burned through too much goodwill for people to trust their search results as authoritative. Yes, mysql only gets a few hits on MSN search. So does pancakes, and I doubt MS is part of the great Waffle Iron Conspiracy.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • by Maltese Duck (724687) on Sunday November 16, 2003 @07:29PM (#7489809)
    it is possible that Microsoft wants to buy Google not because it wants to reduce Linux hits, rather the MSN search engine just isn't very good.

    Here are the results for different OSes:

    OS: Google vs. MSN

    aix: 3,550,000 vs. 40

    solaris: 8,340,000 vs. 87

    tru64: 676,000 vs. 93,433

    hp-ux: 1,890,000 vs. 287,294

    ms windows: 6,650,000 vs. 291

    vms: 1,770,000 vs. 22

    os2: 702,000 vs. 118,273

    linux: 96,800,000 vs. 365

    freebsd: 8,810,000 vs. 1,136,552

    openbsd: 3,500,000 vs. 341,343

    netbsd: 4,750,000 vs. 223,075

    unix: 23,700,000 vs. 164

    symbian: 1,400,000 vs. 420,701

    "windows 2000": 6,750,000 vs. 315

    "windows xp": 970,000 vs. 297

    "windows server 2003": 4,170,000 vs. 30

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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