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Who Will Join Microsoft in the Portal Wars? 132

madman writes "In the light of the recent changes in the search war, like the Google/Dell partnership and eBay/Yahoo! alliance, Microsoft is facing a complicated question: Who are they going to ally with? Will they try to face the competition alone?"
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Who Will Join Microsoft in the Portal Wars?

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  • by talkingpaperclip ( 952112 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:53AM (#15416067) Homepage
    "Who are they going to ally with?"

    The dark side, obviously.
  • Resistance is futile!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:56AM (#15416077)
    Either Microsoft will join forces with Hotmail, or else MSN will team up with Microsoft for battle.

  • by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:56AM (#15416082)
    Grow organically. Most takovers and and partnerships amongst large companies fail to realize their initial potential. MS should stop trying to shoe horn everything into the failed MSN model. Create a small team of talented people, give them some serious money and freedom and let them create. Do not impose Windows or MSN on them. Let them build the hardware, the software and the website. Do what apple does but with a much larger budget. I can use an IPOD without a Mac or having to go to (.mac).

    • Well said- this is sort of what Microsoft is doing with
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not sure the iPod is a good example as you're shoehorned into using iTunes (hence not really free of Apple at all)
    • the Xbox model... (Score:5, Informative)

      by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:58PM (#15416291)
      The Xbox model was not to give a small team the freedom to create.

      The hardware design was done by two guys who don't even work for MS, they work for a joint design and manufacturing company. The software was done in-house, but by a larger team. The Xbox OS is a derivative of (Windows) NT. Additionally, they spent untold dollars buying Bungie, RARE, Oddworld Inhabitants and other companies.

      In other words, they largely followed the model you say sucks. They spent a lot of money on acquisitions, only one of which worked out (and even the Bungie Crew is all gone to Wideload and WildTangent now except for Jason Jones). And the kicker, they've so far lost a truckload of money.

      It doesn't sound like the right model to me. If the Xbox team ever turns a profit it'll be because Sony are such boneheads, not because of the excellence of the Xbox model.
      • by Trelane ( 16124 )

        And the kicker, they've so far lost a truckload of money.

        If "they" is the XBox division, yes. However, Microsoft itself continues to make money hand over fist via the Two Towers: Windows and Office, to the tune of several billion profit per quarter (3-4 bn USD last I saw). Thus, they can afford to lose many truckloads of money on the XBox, so long as their Two Towers stand.

        This subsidized loss in the XBox division is very much worth it, since the XBox is one (fairly important) arm of their overall

      • "Additionally, they spent untold dollars buying Bungie, RARE, Oddworld Inhabitants and other companies."

        Correct me if I'm wrong here but Oddworld Inhabitants were never bought by Microsoft. Munch's Oddysee was moved from a PS2 exclusive to an Xbox exclusive and Stranger's Wrath was cancelled for the PS2. Infact I do believe it was Oddworld's lack of support of Sony's machine that has caused the company to exit the gaming industry... []

        • Either way, they poured a ton of money into them and got virtually nothing for it. They got one or two awful games and nothing else. And even to get those they had to put tons of MS employees on the projects. It's still a condemnation of the model, even if they didn't actually purchase the company outright.

          I don't know if they own all of RARE either, they certainly own the portion Nintendo used to own though, which is something like half.
    • Microsoft uses both models depending on who is managing the projects and products just like any company that trys to come up with new products. But each model will either fail or work depending on the choices made by the company.

      But lets be honest. Does Microsoft really need to partner with anyone they don't plan to take over or buy out?
    • Do not impose Windows or MSN on them. Let them build the hardware, the software and the website.
      And its not like...Everything?!
    • What the hell is an "X-Box"? It's "Xbox" already! No, I don't care about which sounds better or is the most gramatically correct -- you don't type "Ipod" when you mean "iPod", do you?
  • by Mikachu ( 972457 ) <> on Saturday May 27, 2006 @11:58AM (#15416085) Homepage
    obviously didn't read this. []
    • Blame the editor (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rastakid ( 648791 )
      You should blame the editor instead: the submitter submitted his story probably before the article you refer to was posted and it's always to the editors to fix this kind of things.

      I hate it the Slashdot editors don't even care to read their own frontpage!
  • Always play nice... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by coop535 ( 813230 )
    ... or nobody will want to play with you. You don't hear about google/yahoo/ebay throwing chairs and uttering corporate death threats!

    Seriously though, I'd kill to have Microsoft's problems though: having billions of cash on hand and shopping for that new toy.

    • That might be a bigger problem than you think. For MS only really big business are worth the effort, and it's hard to find those business. Look at the XBox and the ammount of money they are pouring into it.
      • by Znork ( 31774 )
        Without a doubt. Yet, instead of paying out the money they dont know what to do with in dividends or doing stock buybacks, like so many others they try to pretend they're better than their shareholders at deciding what the shareholders money should be invested in.

        It's a classic, probably a psychological control issue for boards, they're have a compulsive need to expand until they collapse into unprofitability.
  • The Spooks (Score:2, Informative)

    by zenetik ( 750376 )
    Perhaps Microsoft will join forces with AT&T and the NSA and turn its efforts toward data mining.
    • Re:The Spooks (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Cheapy ( 809643 )
      For all we know, one of Microsoft's "Security Patches" could also been the NSA's security patch too.
    • NSA + AT&T = NSAT&T

      MSN + NSA + AT&T = MSNSAT&T?

      IBM + MSN + NSA + AT&T = IBMSNSAT&T?


      The only one I can *F one I can think of is IMF. :/
      • There's always the FBIMSNSAT&TSA. And what about the FBIMSNSAT&TSATF? Now we can get the FBIMSNSAT&TSATFBIMSNSAT&TSA if we want....
        • Woah... the TSA from The Journeyman Project? Now that's goin' back a bit, eh? :)

          Gage is way too swave to be getting involved in any of this madness anyways...
    • You forgot to mention Verizon and Bell South. Hell, according to Bell South only a couple of their customers care what they do with their personal information or who listens to their phone conversations as long as Bush can remain president. So that makes it A-OK, and thus legal, for them to do whatever.
  • Which side? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ItsIllak ( 95786 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:00PM (#15416095) Homepage
    How about allying with someone who's also got something virtual to deliver? Obviously MS could easily just ally with another one of it's arms - for mob appeal they could buy up Flikr, MySpace or YouTube? That gives them their own content - hence a reason to come along, something new and interesting to search... And before you say it, yes there's a lot of dross in those sites, but there are also hidden gems...

    See: []
    • Re:Which side? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Seeing as how both Flickr and MySpace were semi-recently acquired by other huge companies, that leaves only YouTube. I guarantee that if MS bought YouTube, they'd have this brilliant idea and start charging people to put their content up there. If there's one thing that MS repeatedly shows that it doesn't understand, it's how other companies come out of nowhere and become successful at doing what they do.
      • Re:Which side? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Kenshin ( 43036 )
        Well, Rupert Murdoch recently bought MySpace, and he owns Fox News, so if they really wanna ally with the dark side (and LCD) he's right there in front of them.
        • Re:Which side? (Score:2, Interesting)

          well if you got ot one of the default things is fox sports. Fox was also mentioned during his keynote not too long ago. so i'd say they've already got a relationship going, and are just waiting to kick it up a notch.
    • Dross indeed.
    • Re:Which side? (Score:2, Interesting)

      Microsoft and Rupert Murdoch ( I'm starting to see the wisdom in the earlier post about the dark side. Perhaps the forces of darkness will band together to fight?

  • by IntelliAdmin ( 941633 ) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:01PM (#15416098) Homepage
    You can tell that things are really up in the air when long time enemies start making alliances - your enemies enemy is your friend. I say it great to watch them spend billions and squirm around.

    Admin tools for Windows []
  • by Professor_UNIX ( 867045 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:01PM (#15416099)
    Seriously. Microsoft needs to join with domain squatters. Microsoft could totally dominate the domain squatter portal market by integrating their Live search engine into the domain squatters' Yahoo-like categorized site listings and offers to sell you the domain for $X,XXX.
  • Core values. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:01PM (#15416100)
    Wouldn't it make sense for MS to pay more attention to its core products before it goes hunting? There is not a lot of point in catching a big beast when the log cabin is burning down.
  • AOL! (Score:5, Funny)

    by 9mm Censor ( 705379 ) * on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:02PM (#15416104) Homepage
    I know I would definately BUY vista, if I got like a free trail for AOL. I have been hankering to try that out but cant find those CDs anywhere.
    • Teaming up with AOL probably wouldn't be a bad idea if Microsoft was only trying to reach the american market... I doubt Microsoft will join any of them though, just try to get people to use MSN instead..
    • Too late. Google already spent several billion dollars to ensure that wouldn't happen. No online partnership available to MS there.

      Given Google only bought a small fraction of AOL, MS might still be able to buy a larger fraction to get the deal, but I doubt TimeWarner shareholders would like to see even more of their AOL ownership diluted. Especially after the fuss that was kicked up last time.
  • I dunno who to root for.

    It is like an episode of Borg [] vs Species 8472 [].
    • One of the best similes I've seen here.

      Which reminds me, I have an exam in Semantics on Tuesday, I should study a bit... <gets offline>

  • by mwfolsom ( 234049 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:09PM (#15416127)

    Anybody that partners with Microsoft is nuts -

    Who has ever done it and lived to tell the tale?


  • Not trolling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mostly a lurker ( 634878 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:14PM (#15416144)
    I think this is where Microsoft's prior behaviour comes back to haunt them. When Microsoft partners with anyone, it is (from their viewpoint) a short term marriage of convenience to be discarded the moment they think they can make a buck by shafting their "partner". If I had a valuable Internet property, the last thing I would consider is letting Microsoft get its fingers on it. You may think you have good lawyers, but Microsoft has played the game too long.
  • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:15PM (#15416145) Journal
    Doesn't anyonre remember the last portal wars?

    They were won by a company that didn't provide a portal, just a simple search service that let people find what they want.

    People don't want a "portal"... they just want to find what they are looking for quickly.
    • You've obviously never met my mom and all of her "online friends". There is a large (and probably growing) number of people that can barely use a computer and for them portals are important/everything.
    • Who's to say portals can't let people find what they are looking for quickly?
    • I think people want both. My homepage is set to so that I can immediately log in and get the RSS feeds and other modules that I've set up. I tried Google's and MSN's and frankly they sucked in comparision.

      When I search, I always use Google, but Yahoo has the portal down.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Little dirty secret is Microsoft is a large share holder of InterActive Corp (IAC)

    IAC owns .. .. home shopping network ...
  • Last count, I had 73. I'll send you a copy of one. :-P
  • Really, weren't portals all the rage during Internet Book 1.0? Why again now? Anyone can put up a portal.

  • When it comes to a web portal, Microsoft doesn't need anyone but themselves. They control some 90ish percent of the O/S market, and the default homepage for the default browser is Considering the quantity of internet users who are less than tech-savvy, many just stick with the default settings (or are afraid/don't know how to change them).
  • to form an axis of evil... software.
  • And next step will be forced labor camps, where MS software is used to monitor the inmates.
  • at least we know for sure they homepage would not be overloaded with activex, and proprietary crappy HTML code... since they dropped IE on Mac.

    no seriously. Who cares about these homepage stuff anyway? The first thing I do is put google, whatever portal was there before... (and the day they piss me off, i'll have no problem putting something else as my first page..;)

    i know i know.. a lot of people must care about it, or there would not be such a war. But I will never understand advertising nor marketing I g
  • by kkiller ( 945601 )
    I remember portals in the late 90s, and the fuss and bother firms made over what was meant to be the cash-cow of the future. Much was made about Netscape's Netcenter site, which is still operating [], tho' I suspect with far fewer visitors.

    What I want to know is... who uses these damn sites? If portals are so important as a source of revenue, then why did Google - who's original site was stripped of the over-complicated design which marked sites like Yahoo!, MSN and excite - become a dominant market player?

  • by certel ( 849946 )
    Bring on AOL! :)
  • When I got my machine my homepage was Dell MSN Page []

  • MS has the resources to do it alone, but the real problem is coming up with a gimmick that will capture the web community. That is becoming more and more difficult.
  • by GweeDo ( 127172 )
    Maybe eBay? []
  • by DarthChris ( 960471 ) on Saturday May 27, 2006 @12:51PM (#15416265)
    ...who doesn't actually care?

    As long as there is good competition, and I can get decent products/services because of it, I honestly don't care. I am sure plenty of you will disagree, but that's just my take on it.
    • You don't care so much that you made time out of your busy day to not only click on and read the story, but post a comment as well. That level of uncaring really is to be commended. I wish people did not care about the environemnt as much as you don't care about this story - we wouldn't be in the mess we are in today!
  • Why ally when you can buy? Maybe they'll just buy up, say, EBay [] , or something.
  • IBM or Lenovo, of course !
  • What exactly is wrong with the MSN site as it stands right now? Yahoo's site is ugly and gimmicky, Google's is VERY clean because their primary function is a search engine, and to get to the "portal" pages you need to drill down to a secondary page. It works for Google's model.

    The MSN site is a great balance between the mess that Yahoo's main page is, and the spartan look of Google. It's clean, professional looking, laid out logically, and there is good content there, and it's the default home page on most
    • >> What exactly is wrong with the MSN site as it stands right now?

      The same thing thats wrong with all Microsoft products... its full of redundant bloat that no-one wants. Thats why google is so popular.
  • More like, portal siege on the king of the mountain.

    I doubt google is going to fire back and it's possible they could win just because they keep doing what they're doing. Between Google and Yahoo!, I'd trust preinstalled Google software over Yahoo!. I just logged out of both Yahoo! and Google Talk. Guess which client popped up an ad on log in?
  • I mean the software won't change at all, but at least we'll all be laughing too hard to notice!

  • This summary reads like a bad fox reality show.
  • Will someone please think about is shopping hub for millions of people. has a auction site. Though, they dont push it a much as they should. has a payment gateway. owns Alexa.
  • Microsoft will set users to by default.

    If they are capable of competing with the usual suspects, users will have no reason to switch. I anticipate A9-like tactics.
  • Has noone noticed that just a couple of articles below we see that Microsoft is going to acquire [] Ebay?

    That means they will effectively acquire Ebay's partnership agreement with Yahoo as well.

  • Time to buy it Bill! To make a portal from it's base shouldn't be to much of a hassle...
  • Microsoft should do with HP what Google did with Dell.
    That is, Microsoft pays HP to make all HP computers installed with Microsoft webware (including desktop related webware). It wouldn't be abusing any monopoly since it wouldn't be using Windows itself to bundle anything (that's not already being bundled). It would merely be Microsoft paying an OEM to get special treatment just like Google did.

    I mention HP because HP is bypassing Dell. Currently HP uses has the homepage that its computer
  • eBay and Yahoo, or buy them out. Yahoo already has a good partnership with SBC/AT&T with DSL and Web Portals, and eBay has Paypal and as well as the main eBay auction site. Yahoo Mail can be merged with Hotmail, Yahoo Groups can be merged with MSN Groups, Yahoo search can be merged with MSN search. If Microsoft does not ally or buy them out, they will end up being enemies later on at the rate they are growing to any portal that Microsoft tries to make.

    Then Microsoft can ally up with SBC/AT&
  • Sounds like something straight out of the Watchmen. Bill Gates is going to start beaming angry psychic paperclips full of pirate story .docs over to Cupertino, but only after nullifying the reality distortion powers of Steve Jobs with...tachyon particles.
  • Obviously Yahoo! []
  • Why? Because MS as screwed over every single one of it's business partners in one way or another so noone trusts them in any way shape or form.
  • imagine all anonymous cowards on your side. better yet, imagine beowulf of those.
  • ...companies are aware that there's another profitable option. The rise of Google has broken MS's stranglehold on a lot of markets, just like Firefox and iPod have done in their respective markets.

    There's lots of choice for strategic alliances: the aforementioned Google, of course, but also new and renewed players, like AOL. These companies seem to be focused on innovation and user experience to build their user base, rather than the parasitic control consistently exhibited by Microsoft. There's also myr

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.