Microsoft, Return of The Beast

26 Comments

Update: A few things are a constant in life – taxes, death, broken hearts and of course Microsoft waking from some kinda slumber, finding an upstart to hate and then crushing them. The IE7 drama that is currently being played out today should be dubbed The Return of The Beast.

This default thing works well for Microsoft – they did it once before, got into trouble with Justice Department, played humble for a while, and well, they are back for an encore. Not that it easy to find compassion for Google these days. At least not amongst those who are extremely jealous of its money making abilities. Google is complaining that Microsoft is using its market domination and defaulting to Microsoft’s in house search engine. Hello Reality! (I edited out the whole bit about switching search engines and all that – perhaps a different post!)

Meanwhile…. you know, what they say market predicts the future…. Take a look at these two charts of Microsoft stock from 1996 and 2006. In December 1995 Bill Gates wrote the now famous Internet-or-nothing memo, and rest is history. Similarly late last year Microsofties got a Web 2.0 or nothing memo. History in the making?

26 Comments

heckler

I think you are all missing the point. Just a matter of opinion of course.

The search war has already been won, google is the default and the consumer darling. Sure, mom’s and sister’s may not be savy enough to change default browsers but the mom’s and sister’s genre is NOT the future.

Has anyone watched an 8 year old (boy or girl for that matter) use a PC? Point in case. “Default” is not the advantage it once was.. your every day user will be savy. After all, technology is now trendy and trendy things have enormous uptake.

Google dominates search and will continue to. Microsoft dominates installed-software. But in a world of hosted apps, who needs an operating system?

Google is re-inventing microsofts holy grail from under there feet. When you don’t have the “default” advantage anymore (and the “but this program only runs on windows” advantage), then the brand and trends will prevail.

Google brand is strong. It is consumer and friendly, where microsofts is techy, geeky and tainted by a legacy of poor security.

The future is the desktop, not search. Search has already been won, desktop will be seized. I won’t be buying MS stock.

(comparing Netscape to Google as MS rivals is simply ridiculous… )

Mysterius

Just people should know how to change search engines does not mean they will. (Should people drive drunk, or browse the internet without virus/spyware protection?)
The only reason why it supposedly takes the same number of clicks with Firefox as with IE is because MSN/Windows Live is not on the default drop down list. Yahoo, however, and other sites such as Amazon (not A9) are. How many are on IE7? 1. (Guess which?)
If Microsoft changes this before IE7 launches, then great for them. For now? They’re in the wrong.
Google has been the default on Firefox and Opera long before it ever agreed to share ad revenue with them. Google certainly doesn’t share revenue with Apple’s Safari. NONE of these browsers are MADE by Google.
The point here is that Microsoft is potentially abusing its market position. The numbers are: Microsoft Windows has 90% of the OS market. Internet Explorer still has 85% of browser usage. Microsoft’s annual revenue is $40 billion, and its market capitalization is over $200 billion. Google? It has “only” about 43% of the search market, and has considerable rivals such as Yahoo(28%), AOL(8%), Ask(6%), and of course, MSN itself (13%). Google’s revenue is just $7 billion, with a market capitalization of $110-120 billion. For comparison, Netscape Navigator, at its height, had browser usage share of 80%, right about when IE first launched. And I think everyone here knows what happened then…Finally, why such a fuss? Marissa Meyer says that Google feels IE7’s system for choosing a search engine is biased. People try to pounce on this, saying that Google is being a hypocrite, that they are a monopoly, that they are evil… And for what? For stating that they feel threatened, by a rival with small search share, but a record of crushing opponents. If Microsoft does push Google out, and search stagnates for years like web browsers did, how will you feel then? Perhaps it won’t happen; perhaps Microsoft doesn’t dominate this time. I appreciate the optimism. But what is wrong with speaking up?

Matt

‘there’s no “default search provider.” You get what Microsoft gives you as default : IE (which most people don’t change). ‘

I think “most” is a gross overstatement (here’s something to look up: “opinion”, “fact”).
1. Every common Instant Messaging application you install attempts to change your default search option. (I.E. MSN, Google, AOL, Yahoo all do it)

  1. A LOT of people use IM applications. Here’s an example illustrating how many people use IMs from a marketing study less than 3 months old(http://www.comscore.com/press/release.asp?press=800):
    “sixty-nine million people in North America, or only 37 percent of the online population, used IM during the same timeframe”
    37% of every one on the internet and mostly at the bottom end of the computer knowledge spectrum (in my opinion)

  2. This market is also extremely competitive (I.E. NOT a monopoly). Here’ an example illustrating that from the same marketing study: “North America is the most competitive IM market, with MSN Messenger, AOL/Aim and Yahoo! Messenger each garnering between 27 percent and 37 percent of IM users in February.”

  3. IM examples aside, the Flash player is now bundled with the yahoo toolbar (which changes your default search). Adobe (who owns Macromedia) boasts above a 97% penetration rate for the year 2005. (http://www.adobe.com/products/playercensus/flashplayer/versionpenetration.html)

  4. In my humble opinion anyone who isn’t savvy enough to change the default search option on their computer is going to be at the mercy of whatever corporate ties their latest software install set it to. Microsoft gains no value what so ever from being the default (again opinion).

ejoe

Ok, looked up ‘bundling”…done with “monopoly abuse”…checked “the law” (there’s a lot for that one). Now what? I love a good scavenger hunt! (I used google to look them up, sorry)

If Microsoft produces an inferior search product, then they risk the use of their IE product by associating a lesser product. There are options for browsers, I love firefox. If google’s search is so much better (which I think it is right now) then the browser that has it for a default gets an advantage (if defaults are hard to change).

By the way, last I saw firefox was being promoted on the google HOME PAGE (some one want to argue google doesn’t have a strangle hold on search?). Anyone see any other non-google products on google.com? Does every one agree that the lead engineer for firefox is paid by google but still a Mozilla employee? (or is that still a lesser known?)

Why wouldn’t Microsoft want their search engine as the default? They built the products that make everything else work. Google is coming after MS and MS is coming after Google. Who has a better idea for competition? There are some seriously biased people in here.

Anona

“IE7 defaults to your default search provider set in IE6.”

Duh! When you buy a new machine (and guess what, tens of millions do) there’s no “default search provider.” You get what Microsoft gives you as default : IE (which most people don’t change). That’s what’s objectionable.

Anona

“I think that Microsoft owns Windows and they should be able to do what they want to it.”

Let’s do this again, some words for you to look up: “the law,” “bundling” and “monopoly abuse.”

“Are Apple users given the option of Windows Media Player or Itunes?????”

How could they be? While iTunes is perfectly operational on either Mac or Win, there’s no such thing as WMP (certainly not the later versions) on Mac.

common sense

Why doesn’t Google make an Operating system and quit crying… I think that Microsoft owns Windows and they should be able to do what they want to it. Are Apple users given the option of Windows Media Player or Itunes?????

B.D.

Aye is correct. The “default” search engine is whatever was your IE6 search engine. Those using the Yahoo or Google toolbars in IE6 will see that Yahoo or Google is their default search engine in IE7. Google is whining here and they’ve got no reason to do so.

Joshua Allen [msft]

NYT completely ignored the facts. Aye and Josh are right. You should see Dean’s rebuttal on IEBlog. Basically, IE7 honosrs the default from IE6. This protects GOOG’s investment in OEM deals and toolbar adoption. On the other hand, just imagine the alternative. Suppose a user has switched to YHOO as default in IE6, and the first time they run IE7, it asks “Are you sure you wouldn’t rather use Google?”. This would be unfair to YHOO and would destroy the investment they made in getting users to switch. Hardly a level playing field, IMO.

Gopi

The biggest winners in the coming browser realestate war would be the OEM’s… IMO, with IE7 Dell & HP has more power to shift the the search market share than other web players.

rick

Aye, if what you say is correct, then this is the most gracious act of kindness Microsoft has ever done! LOL

Josh Hyde

If someone goes to google.com in IE7, something on the upper right side of the page says to click here to make Google your default search engine. One click and it is done. Not a big deal IMO.

aye

I guess ignorance is bliss. IE7 defaults to your default search provider set in IE6. Go install it to try it out. Mine was set to Google and IE7 now uses Google to search. I can’t believe Microsoft does the right thing and they still get crap.

Anonymous

What did google wrong? Is Opera a google product? Is Firefox a google product? No. Google has paid them to be the default search engine.

Microsoft uses its monopoly on one market to enter onother market! This is stupid! And should be stopped!

Anona

“I’m not sure what the heck Google expects, government regulation of user interfaces?”

Familiar with these: “bundling” and “monopoly abuse”?

met

Om, if your argument is valid (the one in the comments :) ) – MS can’t afford to give moms and sisters too many dialog boxes when they boot up a new computer for the first time.

Foofy

I’m not sure what the heck Google expects, government regulation of user interfaces? That’s pretty scary.

Anona

“It didn’t seem any more difficult to switch your default search engine in IE than it is in Firefox.”

What utter nonsense. Why doesn’t Microsoft ship Windows with Firefox as the default browser then?

Don’t prentend to not understand the notion of “default” for the fat part of the Bell curve.

Hawkeye

Google is doing all it can to be the next big hated thing. and it is kinda funny that it has picked Microsoft to whine on this time

Wonder how many other companies would choose Google to whine about … talk about one potential (alomost) monopoly cribbing about another existing monopoly (almost)

Rick

I think MS should have to separate their browser from their OS. It’s not fair.

Rick

Microsoft has the most precious real estate, afterall. Has Google been through a Microsoft browser change yet?

Om Malik

I didn’t think firefox default search engine change is that easy – can my mom or my sister do that? nope they can’t. both browsers are equally guilty in that sense.

Dare Obasanjo

In reality that is possible if you really know the browser innards, as outlined here.

Did you read Niall’s post before saying that? It didn’t seem any more difficult to switch your default search engine in IE than it is in Firefox. There’s even a post at http://www.edbott.com/weblog/?p=1321 that counts the number of clicks complete with screenshots that shows they are equivalent.

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