Delusional Microsoft Is Betting Big Money It Can Out-Search Google

If Microsoft has its way bending your brain with a megabucks ad budget for its forthcoming Bing search engine, someday you’ll replace the verb “googled” with “binged.” Which could give new meaning to the phrase “binged and purged,” but whatever.

Undeterred by previous failures, Microsoft is once again tilting the seemingly all-powerful Google windmill. AdAge reports Microsoft is pushing a towering stack of chips into the betting circle, if nothing else indicating the company believes in its product, which is said to be able to streamline web searches into several concurrent categories that streamline your desired functions and facilitate arrival at applicable destinations. Translation: It finds you your porn quicker.

The software giant is set to launch an $80 million to $100 million campaign for Bing, the search engine it hopes will help it grab a bigger slice of the online ad market. That’s a big campaign — big compared with consumer-product launches ($50 million is considered a sizable budget for a national rollout) and very big when you consider that Google spent about $25 million on all its advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, with about $11.6 million of that focused on recruiting. Microsoft, by comparison, spent $361 million. Certainly Google has never faced an ad assault of anything like this magnitude.

An early version of Bing, codenamed Kumo, was leaked back in March, so you can read up on it at that link. Or just, you know, Google it.

Microsoft Aims Big Guns at Google, Asks Consumers to Rethink Search [AdvertisingAge, via Wired]

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  1. Elcheecho says:

    google advertises?

  2. I Love New Jersey says:

    Given it is from Microsoft it will no doubt be an epic fail.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @I Love New Jersey: Yep. If Windoze is any indication of what happens when Microsoft puts lots of money into something, this will be just… awful.

      • Ouze says:

        @GuinevereRucker:

        and by “awful”, you mean “nearly 90% of all humans use it on a daily basis”.

        • RandomZero says:

          @Ouze: And by “90% of all humans use it”, you mean “It has less than 90% market share.” While I can’t find hard numbers, I seriously doubt there are 5.4 billion PCs, servers, Dreamcasts, and smartphones currently in use, making your claims a little suspect.

          Also: The amount it’s used doesn’t make it a good product. Do I use it every day at work? Yes, along with Internet Explorer and Citrix. Am I annoyed every day at the multiple crashes of each and every one of them, given that free, more stable alternatives exist? Oh, hell yes.

          • FLConsumer says:

            @RandomZero: Despite currently being up all night due to a DoS attack on one of my subnets, THANK YOU for reminding me that being a one-man IT shop has serious advantages. I can choose whatever the heck I want for software, and do. It makes these hellish nights worthwhile.

        • LegoMan322 says:

          @Ouze: Yes that kind of aweful!!!!!

        • FLConsumer says:

          @Ouze: McDonald’s boasts the highest #s for restaurant sales, but I doubt anyone would call it GOOD food.

  3. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Oh, Chandler Bing, how you have become relevant once again.

  4. Mr_Human says:

    Smart categorization of results would be welcome; I’m surprised Google still hasn’t done more on that front.

  5. RodAox says:

    Thank god…I mean the search function in XP and vista are so fast I was wondering when they were going to implement it to the web……..I hope it comes with an animation of a dog as well because you need to look at something when you sit there and wait 10 minutes for your results to pop up…….that’s assuming OS doesn’t crash first.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @RodAox: And the dog will give “helpful” suggestions, such as “opening a browser window” and “an introduction to tabs”…

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Microsoft seems to be unable to grasp that some people avoid things that have “Microsoft” attached to them for various reasons.

        It will take more than deep pockets to beat Google. Google has a positive brand reputation that Microsoft can’t match and until they can (which I suspect will be never) they won’t have a shot a dethroning the kings.

        • tundey says:

          @dragonfire81: I think even way more people gravitate towards anything with Microsoft attached to it. And I bet if google it, you’ll find google-haters out there.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @dragonfire81: I think it’s also that Google is good at doing one very specific thing in a variety of ways. They’re good at searches and data, whether it’s compilation of data or presenting of data to make work more efficient (google’s integrated dictionary, for instance).

          Why does Microsoft want to be everything to everybody? Why can’t it just focus on making a good, reliable OS?

          • RodAox says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: amen to that……

          • johnva says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: I think the reason Microsoft wants to move beyond the OS is that the OS business is dying and becoming increasingly irrelevant. As the Web (or mobile devices) are the platform for virtually all exciting new application software these days, it’s becoming more and more unimportant whether you’re running a Microsoft OS vs. Mac OSX vs. Linux. Microsoft is trying to move into web stuff, repeatedly, because they believe their company is doomed if they focus only on the OS.

            • GuinevereRucker says:

              @johnva: Interesting theory! I do hope Windows dies, but I also hope people continue to develop for my OS (Mac).

            • Tiber says:

              @johnva: Windows isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I think that’s the issue. Windows itself doesn’t really have room to grow as far as market share is concerned. So, Microsoft continues to do what they’ve always done: Embrace, Extend, and occasionally Extinguish. They use Windows as a platform to extend into other areas based on what you want to do with it. Then, when they see the opportunity, they try to make it proprietary.
              Internet? They have IE and the MSN brand.
              Media Player? See Windows Media Center and Zune.
              Video Games? The Xbox of course.
              Windows will always be a steady moneymaker for MS, but not much more. By developing complementary products, they gain an additional revenue stream, and make Windows more appealing at the same time.

              As to why they’re so focused on the internet, that’s obvious. It’s the biggest jungle, and it has yet to be tamed. Google’s success proves there’s big money to be made there, if you can figure out how. And really, now that it’s been invented, it’s here to stay. It may evolve to some bigger and better form, I don’t think it’ll ever become obsolete.

              • johnva says:

                @Tiber: I don’t think Windows is going to go away anytime soon. I just don’t think it’s going to be the main platform for new and exciting new software. The Web will be that platform, simply because it’s a maturing platform that offers some significant advantages that developing for a proprietary platform does not. There are still a few things that aren’t practical to do on the Web, but that list is dwindling. People will still use Windows…it’s just that 95% of their time will be spent in a browser window. It already is that way for many people.

        • parnote says:

          @dragonfire81: I second your sentiment! I avoid ANYTHING with a Microsoft branding, regardless of how “revolutionary” it may be. They are usually so far off base on what normal, regular users want/need.

  6. Chmeeee says:

    I nearly fell out of my chair when I rolled over the link under the word “failures.” Good stuff.

  7. chauncy that billups says:

    Could this BE a dumber name?

  8. zarex42 says:

    Why is it delusional to think that a company as successful as Microsoft can’t beat Google? They very much have a shot at it.

    Any why blame them for trying? Isn’t competition a good thing?

    • zonk7ate9 says:

      @zarex42: They certainly have the money to put up a good fight. The first Xbox was a huge money sink, but it got them market share and now they have Sony on life support. The first Zune was just a failure all-around, but if Microsoft continues to listen to feedback as thye did with Windows 7, they certainly have a chance to grab some of that iPod market share.

    • Ragman says:

      @zarex42: Because they are going up against a well established company with a product that isn’t going to be very much different. Look at what happened when they tried to get into the tax software business ten years ago. Their advantage is that they don’t have to charge users for it and they can set it as the default search engine in IE.

      • zarex42 says:

        @Ragman: Microsoft is pretty well established as well, and there are tons of improvements possible for search; Google isn’t *that* great.

        Both companies have their record of successes and failures (Google has *many* failures.) But it doesn’t mean that it should be branded as “delusional” from the getgo. Silliness, Consumerist.

      • MFfan310 says:

        @Ragman: Keep in mind that IE still has a 60% market share. By making Bing default with IE8 and Windows 7, Microsoft could get Bing into the hands of millions of new users.

        Yeah, IE’s market share is down from the 90% all-time-high from the IE5.5/IE6 days. And it’s still losing users to Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. But many companies would kill for a 60% market share in any market sector.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @MFfan310: People could be binging in no time! Ahh, wait…

          In a perfect world for Microsoft, everyone would use and love using Microsoft products. As it is, for them to include bing as the default home page or default search engine (presumably something like msbing or bing.com) is merely a small obstacle to any Windows user who wants to use Google. Google toolbar + changing the home page = no more Bing. Or at least, Bing would be relatively out of the way.

          It seems like Microsoft wants to force Bing onto people, and that simply will not fly. Users can’t be forced into something, not anymore. Remember when AOL touted virus scanner and e-mail spam protection in the 90s? Savvier people knew where to find virus protection for free on the internet, and not spend extra money for AOL to offer it. Same case here.

          The biggest question is, will Bing do better than Google? Maybe, but Google is king for a reason: it searches well, it’s fast, it’s simple. Any other search engine page is ridiculously slow to load on any smartphone. Google remains the easiest search engine to use, and it’s integrated in most smartphones. I’d like to see Microsoft try to weasel into that market as well.

          • GuinevereRucker says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: Exactly. That’s one of the things I can’t stand about Windows. IE is such a stupid browser, but so many people don’t know how to download and install a program, so many people are “forced” to this horrible piece of software.

            Hopefully Bing servers will use Windows, get lots of viruses, and die.

          • balls187 says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: King today. Pauper tomorrow.

            Ask Sun :)

      • balls187 says:

        @Ragman: You mean like when a tiny company like Nvidia tried to go against an established company like 3dFX? Or when AMD decided to get in Intel’s face?

        Shit, like when Google went up against MSFT with Google Docs?

        Just because a company is established, doesn’t mean it can’t fall.

        Does anyone even own an IBM computer these days?

        • Ragman says:

          @balls187: Invalid comparisons. I don’t have to pay to buy a search engine. Tell me the difference between alltheweb, google, and askjeeves. Why should I choose one over the other?

          • Ragman says:

            @Ragman: And no, I’m in no way a MS fanboy or shill. I was working for a competitor when they tried to get into tax software. After that failure, I wonder if they have a good idea of what they’re getting into. They sure as hell didn’t when it came to tax.

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    Why does Microsoft feel the need to try to be the bestest and the mostest in everything thats out there? Why can’t they just stick to making software?

    I don’t see Starbucks trying to take on Crispy Cream and Dunkin Donuts in the donut making category.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      @Blueskylaw:

      Yeah, and why does Google feel the need to intrude on Outlook’s turf with email, or Excel’s with Google spreadsheet?

      • parnote says:

        @NeverLetMeDown: Because Google offers us mere “peasants” access to email and spreadsheets without charging us a small fortune for that “privilege.”

    • Fist-o™ says:

      @Blueskylaw: You mean, stick to the “os’s & applications” arena? as far as I know, a search engine is software.

    • dave_coder says:

      @Blueskylaw: As far as I know a search engine is software….

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Blueskylaw: Because how else will they leverage their quasi-illegal monopoly in OSs and office application software?

    • suburbancowboy says:

      Bad example. Actually, Starbucks bought Top Pot, a delicious Seattle based Doughnut chain.

    • parnote says:

      @Blueskylaw: You ask a complex question that has a very simple answer: Why can’t they just stick to making software? That simple answer is: THEY CAN’T! Any more, any software produced by Microsoft represents a) incredible amounts of bloat, b) mediocrity fueled by trying to be all things to all people, and c) poor implementation of features and awkward-at-best user interfaces.

      So, since they have become a colossal FAILURE at making software, they have to come up with equally feeble attempts to compete in other markets to try to make up the slack. We may be witnessing the proverbial beginning of the end for M$. And I say good riddance! Their marketing approach is WAY outdated, and it’s time for them to go.

  10. CreativeLinks says:

    You know Microsoft, perhaps if you just concentrated all your efforts and resources on your operating system–instead of sticking your thumb in hundreds upon hundreds of horrible applications–you wouldn’t be losing market share at such an alarming rate.

    • tundey says:

      @CreativeLinks: Really? And google is focused on just one thing? Please! All these companies are the same. Google has been gobbling up smaller companies at a Microsoft-like rate. Orkut, Picasa, Google Earth, Sketchup are a few of the products/technologies that Google acquired by buying the original companies. That’s straight out of the Microsoft playbook.

      • CreativeLinks says:

        @tundey:
        I don’t believe I ever said that Google focuses on one thing. However, Google has NEVER stopped focusing on building the best search engine in the world. They continue to expand their search engine constantly–adding image search, ad words, news search, video search, mapping, etc.

        They may dabble in other web applications that increase traffic, but they never lose sight of thier flagship search engine. they just keep improving it.

        At one point, MS had 98% of the OS market. 98%!

        How do you drop that monopoly? Especially when your OS is pre-installed with almost every computer out there and people are already familiar with your system.

        You lose focus. You force changes on customers who don’t want it. And you create such bloated, crappy, untested code that people don’t look forward to your releases, but FEAR them.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @tundey: Except that you’ll note that the quality of most Google acquisitions are light-years better than Microsoft’s. Or worse (for MS), once their gremlins get to work on them, Google is able to improve them far more than MS’s are able to. (Obviously, they’re not perfect: they miss as well, but it’s to be expected)
        They also are more prone to aim for “blue sky” type apps – ones which may not make immediate commercial sense, but that they’re willing to throw out and see if they catch on. That’s how true innovation happens.

        • NeverLetMeDown says:

          @Trai_Dep:

          Also, it’s worth noting that pretty much all of their acquisitions have been flops, from a financial point of view. Essentially all of revenue comes from search engine ad sales. None of the other products is even vaguely profitable.

    • Fist-o™ says:

      @CreativeLinks: ditto

  11. dotyoureyes says:

    The most baffling thing here is the selection of the name “Bing” for the product.

    Kumo was a distinctive code name. It sounded serious, exotic, and very non-Microsoft.

    “Bing” is lightweight, and smacks of a desperate attempt to find a product name that could be turned into a verb a la Google. Microsoft’s legendary branding-by-focus-group strikes again.

    What’s the most successful brand Microsoft has developed in the last decade? Xbox. What was the original code name of that project? Xbox. The branding folks couldn’t come up with anything better than the original team had.

    Microsoft: Trust your developers. Especially the ones without MBAs. Kumo was a great product name. Bing is terrible.

  12. tundey says:

    So are you saying everybody should just give up the search war and let Google control everything? I know going up against Google in the search realm seems foolhardy but there was a time when Yahoo! was the king of search. Maybe Microsoft won’t win the war but I think they should be applauded for not giving up.

    • econobiker says:

      @tundey: Yahoo got bloated where as people didn’t want bloat they wanted answers…

      Yahoo also had profiles almost like stripped down Myspace/Facebook type things back in the late 1990s but they shut the functionaliy down due to people sharing ***too*** much of their interests and info… Yeah good move and then Yahoo tried again with that POS profile deal named 360 which they are now letting die off with their ‘new’ profile scheme starting up…

  13. ds says:

    Well, it’ll help you find those people you lost touch with after high school.

    NED! RYERSON!

    • Hank Scorpio says:

      @ds:
      Do you have life insurance, Phil? Because if you do, you could always use a little more, right? I mean, who couldn’t?

  14. Jessica Haas says:

    +1 to Phil for that great picture.

  15. stopNgoBeau says:

    I think its great. Even if Microsoft tries really hard and ultimately fails, Google will do something to increase its performance and functionality to compete with Microsoft, even if it is just for a very short time frame. In the end, the market gets a better product.

  16. packcamera says:

    Being “binged” is still not as sexy as getting “wolframmed”…

  17. PittDragon says:

    Bing? They were so close to a great concept, should have called it Bang. Awesome conversations would ensure.

    “Yo, guess what I just banged?” or “Hey, I banged today”

  18. silver-bolt says:

    Microsoft has had as many failed search engines as they have had failed OS’. That’s just hilarious.

  19. econobiker says:

    Will MS Vista machines mysteriously start removing Google applications and directing people to “Bing” in place of Google after one of their “Security updates incorporationg WGA and BGR (Bing Google Removal)”?

  20. chris_d says:

    The thing about Microsoft is that they won’t give up. They’ll keep throwing money at it until it’s good enough. Not as good or better; just good enough — by that I mean good enough that most people won’t say, “Oh this sucks. I’m going to figure out how to change the default.” They’ll then make it the default in their good enough browser, which is the default browser in Windows, which is the default OS on computers.

    Bill Gates realized a long time ago that you don’t have to be better, you just have to be good enough and the default.

    Google’s got a big challenge on their hands since Microsoft still controls over 90% of personal computer market share.

    • GuinevereRucker says:

      @chris_d: Not for long :)

    • Ratty says:

      @chris_d: Bill Gates hasn’t headed Microsoft for a while.

      Try Windows 7 and say that’s “good enough,” and not “significantly better.” Go ahead.

      • chris_d says:

        @Ratty:
        Reread my post. At what point did I say Gates was still head of Microsoft? All I said was he figured out something a long time ago.

        I’ve already run Windows 7 build 7000. The thing I notice most, aside from the endless messages about how it’s a counterfeit copy (that I downloaded directly from Microsoft), is that it takes more clicks to do things than in XP. For example, getting to the IP address — 7 clicks. In XP it’s 5 or 6. On Mac OS X, it’s 3.

        There’s no question that 7 is better than Vista, but then again, what isn’t? Vista has a horrible user experience. Too much clicking around to find things, too much crap popping up. It’s also dog slow; 7 is better in that department.

        7 is significantly better than Vista, but if Vista is your standard, well, that’s a problem, because Vista has serious issues with speed and usability.

        • consumerfan says:

          @chris_d: Get the IP Address?
          XP = Double-click Network icon in System Tray, click Support tab.

        • GuinevereRucker says:

          @chris_d: I can get my IP in 4 keystrokes, no mouse clicks :)

          But then I’m a geek and I actually wrote a script for that with a hotkey configuration :)

    • You Cannot Untoast says:

      @chris_d: I think their problem is they generally think they know better, instead of listening the throngs of people who actually do. They call it innovation, but I call it bullheadedness.

      IE is about the only thing that makes me hate my job as a web developer.

  21. Ratty says:

    I’ve been using the beta at work (still kumo to us) and I really have preferred it to google. Waiting and hoping it’ll come out soon so I can use it at home.

  22. korybing says:

    As much as I like google I want this Bing thing to become a hit, considering my last name.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft doesn’t have to win, though it certainly wants to. But even if it just takes some of Google’s market share, that’s a slice of a very lucrative pie.

    And as others have stated, anything that keeps Google from getting complacent and having to compete is a good thing. It’s interesting that so many who decried the Microsoft “monopoly” seem willing to roll over and concede everything to Google.

  24. Eric Lane says:

    If they have any sense of humor, if you search for Ned Ryerson you’ll get the reply “BING!” (Groundhog Day)

    “I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing! Got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate? Bing, again.”

  25. Michael Bauser says:

    The saddest part of this story is “It finds you your porn quicker” — that would probably be a better sales pitch than anything Microsoft will come up with. “Spike TV” would totally run that commercial.

    At this point, the only people who look forward to a new Microsoft search engine are struggling search engine optimizers who can’t beat Google’s filters. They’re probably all on Webmaster World right now, collectively hoping that Microsoft will save them from Google’s “unfair” system.

  26. OsiUmenyiora says:

    Google’s empire is on shaky ground. The chances are very good that someone somewhere will one day create a better search engine, and when that happens Google’s value will rapidly sink like a rock. Not to say that Bing will slay Google, but some day.

    That being said, if you build a better search engine they will come, and without $100 million worth of advertising. I don’t recall ever seeing an ad for Google before I tried them.

    But build a crappy search engine and they’ll also leave, no matter how much you advertise or how many members of the cast of Friends you put on TV.

  27. Claremole says:

    Am I missing something?

    What does Matthew Perry have to do with this?

  28. FLConsumer says:

    MS is suffering from the same mentality as the big 3 US carmakers — playing catch-up rather than truly creating something new and different.

    To regain market share, especially when your product quality has been piss poor, it’s not good enough to be “as good as” the competition. Even being a bit better won’t make a difference — you need to be substantially better, by yards/years.

    Why are they wasting money and resources on this crap? Windows needs a complete re-write. I still see plenty of NT 3.x code under the hood. MS needs to go re-write the OS and Office before someone else beats them with a superior product.

  29. Robb Shecter says:

    I watched the Bing promo video, and: problems are self-evident. Right there on the surface:

    The focus was all about channeling visitors to web shopping. It was obviously all about industry deals, online shopping, and money.

    Google’s focus, in contrast, was in finding the best, most relevant results. Everything else followed naturally.

  30. parnote says:

    The question isn’t whether Bing will be better than Google; it should be will it be better than MSN? Google, regardless of what people may think, is untouchable. Whatever MS does will only cause Google to outperform MS, as it always has. The competition will be good for users of the internet, without a doubt. But, as with what always happens, Google will “do it” 100 times better than MS and will offer it for free, as opposed to making the end user sacrifice a paycheck or two for the “privilege.”