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by Stephen Logan on 10th June 2009
Barely a day goes by currently without someone talking about the new Microsoft Bing search engine. Some of it positive, a good deal of it negative. But the word of mouth campaign that appears to be happening is seemingly getting under the skin of a few of the rival execs.
Yahoo executive Carol Bartz hasn’t pulled any punches in her damning criticism of Microsoft and Bing itself. She had this to say about Statcounter’s results that found Bing had overtaken Yahoo last week (as we reported in the post Bing Leapfrogs Yahoo! in First Week) “They didn’t beat us by much. It was one day. I think it’s gosh maybe it was in Omaha some place; It was some small area.”
Whilst the thrust of the statement, made to Reuters, may be true the rest has the odd pang of desperation and avoidance to it. Yes, Bing did only take over yahoo for a day, but that was from a global pool, not an out of the way place on Omaha as implied by Ms Bartz. So should Yahoo! Really be concerned by their new rival?
Well they should be a good deal more concerned than Google. But even the runaway search engine leaders have launched a stunning counteroffensive, as reported in Digital Daily today. CEO Eric Schmidt has been damning about Microsoft and what he perceive as little more than another annual update that will amount to nothing. He was quoted as saying “We think search is about comprehensiveness, freshness, scale and size for what we do. It’s difficult for them to copy that.”
Whilst true, it has to be said that Bing is very much a fresh package. There may be similarities with the old Live Search format, but the redesign has given it some real added impetus. Results are better, the layout is more attractive and the name – whilst slightly odd – is more catchy. Nobody can argue with the scale of Google, but the way in which both Bartz and Schmidt have gone on the offensive appears to show some unease. By openly discussing it, they are giving credence to Bing’s role as the new gun in town whilst also possibly showing their own insecurities about its emergence.
Of course it remains to be seen whether Microsoft Bing can have any kind of long term future and start eating into Google’s lead at the head of the search engine league table, but there start has been extremely encouraging. As long as developments continue and innovations follow, there’s no reason to suggest that Bing can’t take and then build upon a second place ranking. Which will undoubtedly leave many Microsoft execs with a very satisfied grin, after eclipsing the company they were looking to purchase not all that long ago?