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A Skeptic's View of Thomas Rubin's IP Speech

Microsoft Searches for Relevance in a Google World

GlobeGoogle dominates in the search world, no doubt about it.  That's why it becomes more and more painful to watch Microsoft try to "innovate" and knock Google off their #1 ranking.  Just like anyone else, Google is not invincible, but Microsoft is kidding themselves if they think they can take over the leadership position with this sort of strategy.

The NY Times article linked to above talks about three upcoming search tools called Mix, Web Assistant and Personalized Search.  Btw, is it my imagination or does Microsoft spend way too much time talking about products that won't be available for months while Google just releases features and tools as they develop them, with little to no advance hype?  Mix won't be available for 6-9 who really cares about it today?

The Personalized Search idea will take advantage of not only online search results, but it will also search the index of all the files stored on your computer's hard disk.  Lovely.  You mean I can avoid Google's almost immediate response time and instead spend some quality time with my computer while I wait for it to scan a local index too?  No thanks.

All three of these ideas sounded like features I've heard of before, either from Google or other search engines.  Is there really anything revolutionary (or even evolutionary) in all of this?  And can't the folks in Redmond come up with better names?!  Be careful to not confuse Mix (the search tool) with MIX, a conference Microsoft is hosting this spring.


Adam Jusko

It's strange how much time and money Microsoft has put in to its search engine without it getting demonstrably better.

One of the challenges in getting investment for our human-powered search engine Bessed ( has been that investors say it will cost too much to scale it. I say give me that money Microsoft has wasted on search and put it into our product and you'll get a lot better end product.

Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

That is SO true. Microsoft gets so much media coverage from announcements that are vaporware, and then no one remembers long enough to hold them accountable when the time period actually expires. Look how much press "Origami" got. And now?

Joe Wikert

Adam, good point about investments in me-too technologies that are home-grown at Microsoft and what that same amount of money could have acquired. It seems like some of Microsoft's best products over the years were acquired. The original Visual Basic and PowerPoint products come to mind, for example.

Thomas, ah yes, the good old "Origami" project... I almost forgot about that gem!

John Dodds


Gerald Buckley

John - Fanboy here... iPhone's an anomaly in the Apple scheme of things and if you don't know that... you should! It was *only* announced early because if Apple didn't do it, the FCC would have. If you were Apple which announcement would you rather put forward? Yours or theirs?

As for MSFT, the only difference between the two companies (outside of shareholder value... ouch!) is on the perception front. Are all manner of Windows platforms still shipping? Office? Remote Desktop? And all those other staples of the company that bouy it? Yep. Do they pre-announce way too much stuff and deliver what seems to be way too far downrange (if at all)? Yep. They're a MUCH bigger company. Have a much more established bucket of stuff to care for and maintain.

They need to take a page out of a lot of other playbooks and make their own new playbook if for no other reasons than shareholder value and the war against perceptions. Google, Apple and many other companies use brilliant marketing techniques to get maximum mileage. Microsoft sometimes doesn't even come across as "loving their own creations" (the engineers certainly are the exception).

Joe Wikert

To me, the difference between pre-announcements by Apple and Microsoft is that the former's new products rate much higher on the "cool" factor. When was the last time you saw an announcement by Microsoft and went "wow!"? When was the last Apple one where you didn't?!

P.S. -- This is coming from a guy who bought an original Macintosh in 1984 and hasn't bought a single Apple product since. I'm not an Apple fan, but I do respect the buzz they create.

Spectate Swamp

Personalised search. Neither can touch my Spectate Swamp
Desktop Search. Been hounding them on

I'll post on Googles site. Can't get MS to bite on a
search showdown.

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