Making his first public appearance since being hired to lead Microsoft’s online services division in January, Microsoft’s Qi Lu said the launch of the company’s new search engine — ‘Bing’ — would provide “new energy” to the search industry. “This is a really good event for the industry because there will be more choices,” he told Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan at the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle.
He said that ‘Bing’ was the only “first step in a long journey” for Microsoft’s search plans. “We are blessed with the amount of commitment Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has made,” he said. “So we can expect in the future we will have lots of … technological innovation…. A whole lot more can be done,” he said. “The search experience … can be a lot more compelling.” Specifically, Lu said, the company was focusing on being able to understand user intent better — a goal that he said would become easier with advances in scalable computing.
While Microsoft is spending up to $100 million on an advertising campaign to promote Bing, Lu also emphasized the importance of the quality of the product. “The internet is an extremely viral medium,” he said. So, if the product is good, Lu said, it will sell itself.
Lu — wearing a ‘Bing’ t-shirt, jeans, and sandals (with socks) — guarded his words closely. He would not comment on how a possible search deal with Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) would impact Microsoft’s plans with Bing, saying that Kara Swisher — the AllThingsD reporter — might be better able to answer the question. And he also would not talk about the company’s possible interest in Twitter — although he praised the availability of “a new corpus of data.”