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The Internet Microsoft

Google v. Microsoft 602

ph43thon writes "The New York Times business section has an article, The Coming Search Wars, about Google and Microsoft. It's fairly long and pretty interesting. Oddly, the writer or somebody out there, seems to think that Google v. Microsoft is analogous to Netscape v. Microsoft. I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application. Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy."
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Google v. Microsoft

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  • by override11 ( 516715 ) <cpeterson@gts.gaineycorp.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152865) Homepage
    .... is how fast you can get to good porn. And so far Google has everything beat hands down. Cmon, http://images.google.com, turn off mature filter, search for 'teen boobs' or something like that and BAM, you are all set! Lets see MS beat that!
  • Its about defaults (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152867)
    Sure, anyone can type google.com into their browser, but for the 90% of the population who don't understand how the web works, pressing the Search button on their browser is the only option. The fact that Microsoft's search is getting better doesn't change anything though, as search.msn.com is already the IE default, and those people will be using that.
    • by the.jedi ( 212166 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:41PM (#8152918) Homepage
      The fact that Microsoft's search is getting better doesn't change anything though, as search.msn.com is already the IE default

      I think it does matter. Right now people get fed up with the crappy results from msn and they're friends tell them "oh why don't you google it?" Tada! Another convert. If MSN can catch up with Google in terms of good search results then people will then quit looking for alternatives to the search button and Google will die. Once goole dies of course Microsoft has no reason to innovate and will let development die just as they've done with IE, outlook express and others. It's kinda sad really.
    • by Mr Pippin ( 659094 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:57PM (#8153076)

      I think you're on the right track. The issue is more likely to be that IE will integrate a search function much like Apple's Safari, but instead of linking to Google, it will link to their own site.

      Then they just have to count on the laziness of the 90% of users to make them the default over Google.

      Your follow on argument would be that they will still use google, since google has the results they want.

      Again, Microsoft only has to emulate Google until they have the majority search engine. At that point, they can modify their search engine to return whatever they want.

      It's just another version of "embrace, extend, extinguish".

  • by j_sp_r ( 656354 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152868) Homepage
    O'course MS can force users to use msn search this time just they did with IE. BTW, they already doing this. When you make a typo in a url (or the site is just slow to respond) you go to MSN search (with standard settings). Jou Beginner just thinks you search the internet only with MSN search and keeps using it. And if MS is really lame they block google in IE or render it incorrectly (only the goverment in the way for that)
  • But.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TypoNAM ( 695420 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:35PM (#8152869)
    Google doesn't require me to run Windows and use IE to use their search engine. :)
  • by corebreech ( 469871 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#8152874) Journal
    Microsoft leveraged Windows to popularize IE. They'll try to do the same with MSN, leveraging it to promote their search engine. So there is that similiarity. And Netscape was free, and so is Google, and so that contest should go to whomever has the deepest pockets, but...

    Google is different than Netscape in that it is very high quality, something Microsoft isn't likely to match (I am continually amazed at how badly the search engine at microsoft.com sucks) and also because Google actually has a business model, i.e., they have customers, e.g., people willing to pay them money to do stuff.

    The way I see it, it's Google's to lose. They can still mess up in execution. They're expanding into other areas very quickly... perhaps too quickly. And they wield a tremendous amount of power in that search engine, so much so that I doubt that the feds haven't already requested "special access" to the query logs, and maybe one day, the power to alter result listings. (Yeah, you'd be laughing if I told you that the feds made Adobe put anti-counterfeiting code in Photoshop too I bet.)
    • by Davak ( 526912 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:50PM (#8153022) Homepage
      Google has indexed the internet. That data is ultimately more powerful than having software installed on the majority of desktops.

      Google has already flexed this muscle with their text ads. By being able to rapidly spider a page, google can provide very directed and specific ads. These ads are successful because they are so focused to their assoicated page.

      Without radically changing the way we view the web... Microsoft can not touch that aspect of google... yet.

    • by RobertFisher ( 21116 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:01PM (#8153099) Homepage Journal
      I like the way you give both possible angles into the competition.

      However, there is one ace card in Microsoft's back pocket which you left out : Microsoft's Theory Group [microsoft.com]. MS supports a very high-powered discrete math and computer science group, comparable to that of a top-notch university. It's not just deep pockets here : it's a long-term commitment to building up a substantial research group pursuing fundamental research on problems closely allied to various technical issues. Noteably, this includes web searches, which is really just a problem in graph theory.

      One needs to be extremely cautious in comparing the relative maturity of two technologies. The IE/NS analogy shows that MS can rapidly catch up to an existing technology, since they can afford to outspend and outlast any competitor. The only survival strategy is to evolve more rapidly than MS can follow; NS failed in that game by version 4, and it has only been relatively recently that other browsers (noteable Mozilla and Safari) have posed serious competition to the now-stagnant IE. Based on the existing high-powered theory already within MS, I am willing to bet that not only will MS have caught up to Google within 1-2 years, but they very well may also proceed to blow right past them.


  • Whatever. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#8152877) Homepage
    I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application. Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy."

    Since when do you have to d/l special software to use MSN search? The only challenge here is building the engine. Getting people to switch is not a problem for Microsoft's marketing department.

  • by thesolo ( 131008 ) <slap@fighttheriaa.org> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:36PM (#8152878) Homepage
    Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy.

    Well, if it's anything like Microsoft's previous attempts at dominating a market, it may prove atrociously easy for them. As another article on The Economist (linked here just a day or two ago) stated, Microsoft can easily leverage their Windows marketshare to take over the Search market.

    As the article said, all they really have to do is offer a new service as a free add-on to Windows, then simply build that service into the next version of Windows, citing it's popularity and need to be a core part of the OS. They did it with IE, and they can certainly do it with searching as well. Tie their engine to their OS, and why would the masses go out to the web to search anymore? They could just do it from the desktop.
  • by Larry David ( 738420 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:37PM (#8152885)
    Oddly, the writer or somebody out there, seems to think that Google v. Microsoft is analogous to Netscape v. Microsoft. I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application.

    This rather sarcastic remark somewhat misses the point. Not everyone is running Mozilla or a non-Microsoft OS. MS leapfrogged Netscape primarily because IE was 'good enough' (IE4 versus Netscape 4 was pretty even), it was quicker to load (thanks to MS integrating it into the OS), and because MS made it the default for everything.

    Microsoft only has to make their new search 'good enough', and integrate it with Internet Explorer (or even as toolbars in other apps, like the Office suite), and Joe Public will use it just to make life simple.
  • Trust (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jole ( 4348 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#8152892) Homepage
    What really matters in search engines are trust, relevance, speed and features. In other categories competition might be strong, but it is hard to see that Microsoft-branded search engine could easily be as trusted as google in near future.

    My prediction is that Google will win hands down.
  • Barriers to entry (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DOsinga ( 134115 ) <douwe.webfeedbac ... inus threevowels> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:38PM (#8152894) Homepage Journal
    Google sits in an excellent spot, but there are not many barriers to entry in the search engine arena; who uses altavista, excite or lycos anymore? As long as people start surfing from windows, I would not bet against Microsoft. Maybe an aliance between Nokia and Google could make a dent into Bills armour.
  • Similarities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:39PM (#8152897) Journal
    The main reason it's similar is that MS sees a potential serious competitor within a market it wants to own. MS wants to ringfence the desktop and datacentre market (well, it's got to gain the datacentre market first, but it was on the way to doing that before Linux became popular).

    It's the argument that searching is about to become really important to them as a business sales technique - the new filesystem is a database, the integration of a web search engine makes your PC behave like a cache of the 'net. Etc. Owning the 'search' territory will help their marketing significantly, so they'll be serious about trying to get it.

    I wouldn't write them off either - just because we all use google now doesn't mean we won't switch at the drop of a hat if something "better" (better can be 'easier to use' rather than 'more appropriate results') comes along. Altavista, anyone ?

  • matching toolbars (Score:3, Interesting)

    by qBeaks ( 98833 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:39PM (#8152898) Journal
    I use the google toolbar. Last week I got an email from msnbeta to try out the msn toolbar toolbar.msn.com. HEY MSN toolbar and google toolbar look and do the same thing!.

    Sorry but I'll stick with google's toolbar.

    I think the internet needs google to remain independent from Microsoft, yahoo, Sun, etc...
  • by Metallic Matty ( 579124 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:39PM (#8152899)
    In this corner, weighing in at 110lbs a small, geeky nerd who has cornered the entire computer industry with its crippling monopoly software.

    And in the other, weighing in at a thousand terabytes, a small, simple, yet incredibly efficient search engine, who has become a household name for internet searches.

    I know who I'd place my money on.

    (PS: I am aware of the fact that my numbers are inaccurate.)
  • No Switching Cost (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mrm677 ( 456727 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:39PM (#8152900)
    The fight is very easy for Microsoft. All they have to do is make a better search engine. There is no cost nor effort for me to switch search engines.
    • Re:No Switching Cost (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hanji ( 626246 )
      All they have to do is make a better search engine.
      And that's "very easy"?????

      Google isn't perfect by any means, and sure, you could do better, but it's damn good, and besting it sure as hell wouldn't be "very easy."
    • I think the easiest way to tell when Microsoft might be close is the day that the MSDN search feature provided by Microsoft is more accurate than using Google with site:msdn.microsoft.com .

      If Microsoft can't make a search engine that works on a known set of like data to produce better results than a search engine that uses a "generic" search function, then they have problems.
  • Google's advantage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:40PM (#8152910)
    Microsoft will undoubtedly make their own search engine the default when the browser loads, or will integrate it with their msn.com portal page, but even if they do this, they still have typically created pages that are slow to load and so full of stuff as to make them difficult to use. Google has always had a clean interface and massively quick load times. This helps.

    Google is a household word. It's also becoming accepted as a slang verb (to google for something), and has a reputation of delivering good results. Teachers like it, and their students are encouraged to use it. Professionals like it because it's quick. This also helps.

    If Microsoft attempts to sabotage or hijack connections to google to redirect to MSN search via Internet Explorer, Google can cry foul to the courts (because Microsoft was ruled a monopoly) and get that removed, or possibly even get Microsoft barred from putting their own search engine in by default. This could prove interesting.
  • by fire-eyes ( 522894 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:42PM (#8152941) Homepage
    I definately won't be using a biased search engine. I might go as far as to say censored:

    Number of results for the search "linux"

    at http://www.google.com/ : "about 12,500,000."

    at http://search.msn.com/ : "about 429"

    That's way more than a little difference. That's a ratio of about 431034:1.

    I'm bored so let's try the same thing with "microsoft":

    google: "about 9,470,000"

    msn: "about 3856"

    This time it's a ratio of about 24559:1 . Draw your own conclusions. At the very least I think msn is just a shitty search.

    And yes I'm biased! I LOVE IT!
    • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:23PM (#8153249) Homepage
      Yeah, but MSN only shows 32 results for SCO.
      Google shows 3.8 million. (if the site stays down, how long until they're delisted?)

      Searching google for MSN yields 44.8 million.
      Searching google for google yields 41.7 million (this page among them)

      Searching msn for msn yields 3,389
      Searching msn for google yields 102, which, ironically, is listed as an "MSN Top Pick"

      Fair? Maybe. Maybe not. It just seems that MSN's crawler hasn't mapped nearly as much of the web as Google's has, but has managed to map most stuff pertaining to itself (which it should).
  • by gordgekko ( 574109 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:42PM (#8152943) Homepage
    The reaction of people like those found on Slashdot if Microsoft actually crafts a search engine that is demonstrably better than Google. Will people ignore that in favor of simple Microsoft bashing, or will they use it and acknowledge its superiority?

    Assuming, of course, that Microsoft builds a better search engine, of course.
    • The reaction of people like those found on Slashdot if Microsoft actually crafts a search engine that is demonstrably better than Google. Will people ignore that in favor of simple Microsoft bashing, or will they use it and acknowledge its superiority?

      There's a certain element of trust that goes into something like this. MSN's new search technology could spit back more relevant and comprehensive results, but there would still be suspicion that MS was (a) using the search info in ways we wouldn't approve
    • by fallacy ( 302261 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:38PM (#8153344)
      I for one would definately love to see Microsoft build a decent search engine. One without bias [slashdot.org], without specific [slashdot.org] software [opera.com] requirements, without...(you get the idea).
      The only way that Google is going to continue to improve on an already outstanding engine is through competition - even from Microsoft! Additionally, a good, well-built product range, fair Microsoft company would be nicer to have than the current (read: "so far has been") incarnation. Yes! There, I've said it - I want Microsoft to succeed: but only as a respected IT company delivering uncompromised less buggy (let's not get too carried away here) software/products without man-handling of smaller companies, aggressive take-overs, lies/FUD and what not.

      However, there are times when you feel a particular company has crossed that psychological "screw-you" line far too often and so you don't hold your breath for much longer than a BogoMip when hearing about their "Next Big Thing TM".
      Mind you, if Microsoft does make it decent, my bet is that /.ters may actually use it, if it's good enough. I would like to think that we're a breed of people that have better moral values than to stoop to simply not using a product because Mr Gates et al have had their sticky paws over it. We won't bash Microsoft regardless of the quality of the product - we have SCO for that now ;-)

      "Assuming, of course, that Microsoft builds a better search engine, of course."
      As someone once said to me: "Rule Number One: Never Assume.
  • Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andih8u ( 639841 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:43PM (#8152948)
    Aside from this all being hashed over yesterday, people will generally use whichever search engine is better. Yahoo once had market dominance until Google proved to be a far better search engine. Microsoft will achieve dominance if they provide beter search results than Google. There's not many ways to sneakily force people to use your search engine, aside from defaulting the search button to your own search engine, which MS does already anyway.
  • Analogy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iantri ( 687643 ) <(iantri) (at) (gmx.net)> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:45PM (#8152974) Homepage
    Others have suggested that Google will fall like Netscape (the browser) did.

    I'm not so sure.

    Yes, Microsoft did use their desktop OS monopoly to get IE onto everyone's computer, but they did it at just the right time -- Netscape had gone way downhill, and people wanted a browser that worked half decently.

    Even if they integrate MSN Search, people will still use Google because it is lightyears better -- Google is even a verb now because of it.

  • MS is patient (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Camel Pilot ( 78781 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:45PM (#8152980) Homepage Journal
    Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy.

    Same remarks could have been said in the context of MS Word against Wordperfect or IE against Netscape, Excel against Lotus, etc. MS always by attrition and patient and they monoply position to wait it out. Also, MS is in a good position to dominate because the own the distribution channel.

  • by xlurker ( 253257 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:46PM (#8152987) Homepage
    since competing with Google would mean
    being able to administer thousands of machines

    No, not just simply administering thousands
    remotely, but also being able to administer
    them incredibly well and easy.

    since I don't see that happening, I look forward
    to seeing this MS-project crash and burn...
    (this is great for future google stock)

  • google news (Score:3, Informative)

    by CoJoNEs ( 73698 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:47PM (#8152999) Homepage
    for those of you who don't want to subscribe to the times just click on Google News [google.com]
  • by tealover ( 187148 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:49PM (#8153015)
    Searching is still an evolving science. With all the google-bombing going on that manipulates search results, there remains a lot of work to be done. The key essence of searching is to either

    a) retrieve the most relevant information


    b) retrieve the most popular information

    But the key is the user must never be confused as to which heuristic was used to return his/her results. This isn't happening right now.

    Google is a star at the moment but so was Altavista and so were a couple other search engines. It is not inconceivable that Google can be displaced.
  • A Search Application (Score:3, Informative)

    by leoaugust ( 665240 ) <leoaugustNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:52PM (#8153035) Journal
    I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application.

    I think the application comes into picture via the Google Toolbar [slashdot.org] and also the need to somehow organize all the Google Services & Tools [google.com]. & Google has also gotten into one-click Blogging via Blogger.

    In addition there are tools that visually organize the Google Search results, SearchDay - Visualizing the Web with Google - 8 January 2003 [searchenginewatch.com]

    When you start having a book called Google Hacks [oreilly.com], you know that there are a lot of HPI's (like API's but for H-Hacking), you know that there is a better way to offer access to these hacks via well organized tools. That is the form and function of the application.

    Of course there are other applications like Copernic [copernic.com] ( a longer listing here Search Tools [google.com]), but I think the current applications have miniscule following. What will come from Microsoft or Google will flood the market.

  • by ravendeath ( 626771 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:52PM (#8153038)
    But the fact is, that people are downloading the special software: the google bar is one of googles most successful products, and this must be making Microsoft go crazy, considering their MSN sites have been unleashing pop-up ads on their unsuspecting users for years now. Netscape lost to Microsoft because they (arguably) had what turned out to be an inferior product. Microsoft will lose to google for the exact same reason.
  • Incremental Googling (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kindofblue ( 308225 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:53PM (#8153043)
    I use google most of the time. But I find that the innovations are coming from elsewhere. Frankly, Google is innovating with baby steps. Spellcheck is a nice feature, but it's not revolutionary or unique. Google labs is bunch of undergraduate level bullshit stuff. It's not the stuff of supposed army-of-PhDs breakthroughs.

    I like Google because it is fast, real fast and uncluttered, but the results are not better that Teoma or AllTheWeb. The link analysis that was unique to Google, 6 years ago, was the real quantum leap forward. But now everybody else has caught up. It appears to me that the differentiation is fast, bug-free quality of service and a clean UI.

    Short of another breakthrough from Google, I think Microsoft could still clobber Google. Google has got no stickiness.

  • by Gadzinka ( 256729 ) <rrw@hell.pl> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @04:56PM (#8153064) Journal
    I always thought that the key to Google's success was: honesty, objectivity, staying uninvolved. And of course accuracy.

    The will to stay away from (at first glance) very lucrative ``search result position'' market, and clear distinction between search result and sponsored (unintrusive) links also helped Google entrench in its position.

    Now take any word from the above paragraphs and try to put it in one sentence with Microsoft.

    If you don't know what I mean, go to search.msn.com and type linux.

    (What's noteworthy is that (in contrary to results from couple of months ago) it no longer returns any ``get rid of linux, install windows'' links to MSDN)

    In short, MS would have to do something very unmicrosoftish -- actually give users good value for their money, and behave in a very honest, civilized way.

    Where's the money in that? ;)

  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:13PM (#8153182)
    They own Inktomi (Microsof's search engine on MSN). They own FAST (aka AllTheWeb). They own AltaVista (translate a document lately?). They own Overture (biggest paid results provider).

    Yahoo also brings to bear a lot of traffic to any solution it picks on its own site, so watch Inktomi's star to rise again as it takes the 20% of traffic YAhoo was seding to Google.

  • by An Onerous Coward ( 222037 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:25PM (#8153260) Homepage
    MSN: litigious bastards [msn.com]
    Google: litigious bastards [google.com]

    I definitely prefer MSN's results.
  • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:27PM (#8153280)
    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) runs on Windows/Linux/etc.

    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) is being developed a lot faster than IE and now supercedes IE in all but the website compatibility issue.

    FACT: Mozilla (Firebird) allows me to use the URL bar for search words and I can choose my preferred search engine.

    FACT: IE is Microsoft's product and as far as I'm concerned, they can now do what they like with it.

    FACT: For the forseeable future, I can still choose my preferred search engine.

    So what's the problem?

  • by RomSteady ( 533144 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:29PM (#8153290) Homepage Journal
    ...that Microsoft's goal isn't to control searching the Internet but to control searching the Intranet?

    Think about it. Microsoft's bread and butter is servers and workstations. Whenever Microsoft releases something to make it easier to get information from the servers to the workstations, it ends up making them money.

    By allowing centralized "search servers" to extract data from the WinFS metadata store, a single add-on product for the Windows Server System can alow a user at his desk using Windows "Longhorn" to do a search and not only find out where the data is that he needs, but who has it, who created it, who has been working on it, etc.

    If you think of the quantity of data in the WinFS metadata store on any individual resource as the "PageRank," you might see where Microsoft is REALLY going with this.

    As for Internet search, it's just a bonus. Basically, if they get the Internet search working first, they can test and tune their algorithms using the Internet's userbase as a large testbed and possibly a small profit center.
  • by unoengborg ( 209251 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:37PM (#8153338) Homepage
    The claims that it was superior search technology that made google a succes. I think this was only one factor. To me the graphical design was very important. The google pages are not full of ads, in the beginning there were no ads at all. And now they are tasteful and dont compete for my attention when I look at my search results. The clean design gave an impression of integrety and a belief that search results was unbiased by economical interests.I think it will be hard for Microsoft to match.

    So if Microsoft was to beat google, how would they do it? They could use local tools on the OS that collects user information, e.g. scanning office documents and downloaded e-mail to get a user profile that could be fed into the search engine to get better quality of search results. However, such things could backfire seriously if users felt that their personal privacy was at stake.

  • by Epistax ( 544591 ) <epistax@gmai l . com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:51PM (#8153439) Journal
    The only way Google will lose is if they do it to themselves. Now that they are supposed to be making an increasing amount of money every quarter (ie, impossible money) they will be pressured to do everything possible to gain money. Watch weird subscription services appear at first. Once no one buys into them expect more aggressive advertising. This will be their undoing.

    I don't see why people have problems with self-suffecient companies. That is, make enough money to continue doing what you're doing and enough research to continue in the future. They are being measured too much by gains rather than gross. If Google stays at say, 70% of web searches for ten years, that would be amazing. Far more amazing than going up to 99% then failing.
    • "People" (read: investors) have a problem with what you call self-sufficient companies because they don't make any money out of that. Googles investors didn't exactly get into the game in order to set up a company to do search well - they put up the money to get a high return on their investment. When you take investments from people, they will naturally expect to make money back.
  • My Prediction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nathanh ( 1214 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:03PM (#8153564) Homepage

    Windows 2006 will have "integrated" Internet search functionality. This will be pervasive throughout the help system, the file explorer, the Internet explorer, etc. However it will always use Microsoft's search engine.

    2 years later, the FTC will notice and declare this is a violation of the 1994 Consent Decree. They will pass it on to the DOJ who will fuck around for 5 years and do absolutely goddamn nothing.

    Microsoft will argue that they can't use any other search engine because of some inane reason. This will be despite massive amounts of evidence brought forth by search engine experts, and a patch floating around the Internet to use Google instead of Microsoft's search engine.

    Bill Gates will go on a brainwashing campaign to convince the American Public (god bless their little hearts) that this is all about innovation! That Microsoft should be allowed to innovate in a patriotic demonstration of truth, liberty, and the American way. Millions of Microsoft cheerleaders will rally around Microsoft, saying that Google sucks and the Microsoft's search engine is clearly superior and that it's entirely unfair for the government to be outlawing innovation!

    In 2013 Microsoft will be found guilty of violating the 1994 Consent Decree. As punishment they will be told not to do it again. Which they'll promise to do. Just like they promised the last two times.

    By then it will be too late. Google will be dead.

    Forgive my cynicism... but I've seen this all before!

  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:28PM (#8153823) Homepage Journal
    This isn't just about technology, folks.

    Microsoft has a monopoly to leverage, to be sure. But their history shows that in general Microsoft doesn't make many business mistakes. They instead wait for their competition (like Netscape - a company that practically handed the lead to Microsoft on a silver platter) to shoot themselves in the foot. Every time they've faced a competitor that's in truly top form, Microsoft hasn't won.

    Intuit has held off against repeated attacks from Microsoft.

    The PlayStation hasn't been demolished by the XBox.

    Microsoft hasn't even bothered trying to take on Adobe.

    Oracle is not being destroyed by Microsoft.

    In all of these cases, aggressive, competent companies have held off attacks from Microsoft by minimizing their mistakes and playing against Microsoft's weaknesses.

    Google is not just about smart technology. This is a company that figured out how to make money with search. Remember back in the late 90s, when all of the kingpins of search decided that portals were the way to go? They were all wrong. Google, the late entrant, actually had it right and stuck to their core competency.

    Microsoft faces a tough competitor in Google - one that's not likely to make the same kind of mistakes its predecessors did.

  • by agwis ( 690872 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:30PM (#8153849)
    MS pulled some damn dirty tricks out of their repertoire to win over users from Netscape because they couldn't win them over on quality...like some posters have suggested.

    -MS couldn't compete with Netscape so they completely gave their browser away, free to use both personally and commercially. At the time, Netscape allowed free personal usage but required commercial usage to be licensed. (Free is always good, but in this case MS did it with the sole intent to squash competition. They had the revenue from their OS and a big bank account of course, while Netscape was a newcomer with only 1 product that was generating revenue from commercial licenses.)

    -MS threatened the likes of Compaq (and others) by yanking their Windows license if they bundled Netscape into computers they were selling. Obviously, IE shipped with Windows but vendors weren't allowed to include Netscape. (Good way to stifle competition IMHO).

    -MS integrated IE into the OS so it would load quicker and appear faster than Netscape.

    -MS delayed API's to Netscape repeatedly.

    Those were the big factors in sinking Netscape but none of them apply to Google. I know many people that can barely get around on a computer but if they want to search for something they use Google. It's so widely used that no one even blinks anymore if you tell them to "just google for it".

    I think it's too late for MS to try and outpace Google. To compare MS vs Google to MS vs Netscape is unfair to say the least. Google doesn't need to be installed on the OS, it's free to use, and is so well known that it's name is a universally accepted word analogous to search.

  • by slaad ( 589282 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @08:48PM (#8154729)
    Oddly, the writer or somebody out there, seems to think that Google v. Microsoft is analogous to Netscape v. Microsoft. I wasn't aware that you needed to download special software to run this Google search application. Somehow, I don't think Microsoft will find this fight to be as easy.

    This is just like Netscape vs. IE. Just wait until longhorn comes out. MS's search engine will be integrated into windows (where it will undoubtedly function as not only a search engine but it will handle all memory access as well, so it can't be removed). It will have the entire web cached and right there waiting for you. It will then use your spare bandwidth to update itself continuously. Who will want to go all the way to google.com to do a search when the entire web is available right on your own computer? Google is doomed for sure.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @09:10PM (#8154861) Journal
    I have just one problem with the MS will win theory. It seems to rely on the idea that MS can sell anything it wants even if it is an inferior product. Well lets take a look at that shall we?

    Game consoles? Nope. Microsoft Phone? Nope. Interactive TV? Nope. MSN? Nope.

    MS is not exactly scoring a 100% with the products it releases. The OS and office suit do well. So do their PDA's although this is because everyone else is really screwing up.

    Lets not forget that netscape lost because it couldn't keep up. Linux users will remember being lumbered with Netscape 4.2. Windows users just switched to IE.

    So does google loose? Maybe if they screw up but I don't think the bundling thing is going to help MS all that much. MSN is bundled and has so far totally failed to take over the market or turn a profit.

    Of course one tiny little detail is that MS doesn't need to make a profit. I cleans out its consumers so much on the OS and office suit it can afford to have several money drains going on at once. MS can afford to screw up countless times. I doubt google has that luxury.

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