Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Microsoft and the search war

Angus Kidman summarizes Microsoft's new high priority focus on search. Some excerpts:
    As any user of the existing Windows "File find" option can attest, Microsoft's current search technology isn’t exactly an advertisement for speed or efficiency. CEO Steve Ballmer admitted as much last March ... "People say that Microsoft does it all, but this is a case where we didn't do it all."

    The principle cause for Ballmer's chagrin is Google, which has become virtually synonymous with the notion of effective Internet searching ... Microsoft's plan is to change that, and the company is talking up its new approach to search at every possible opportunity.

    Microsoft has long promoted the slogan "Windows everywhere", but now it's search that has the Redmond developer team huddled over their PCs. With data volumes online and on hard drives continuing to expand, the ability to quickly find relevant information seems rather more important than adding a flashy interface to the next operating system iteration.

    "Search is a very pervasive thing," chief software architect Bill Gates remarked during a recent visit to Australia. "You want to search the Web, you want to search your corporate network, you want to search your local machine, and sometimes you want search to work against multiples of those things."
This last quote is important. It signals the importance of desktop search to Microsoft, not just as a separate application, but also as a means of beating Google on web search.

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