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Gates: Google Kicked our Butts!

 7:46 pm on Jan 24, 2004 (gmt 0)


Bill Gates told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Google kicked our butts," he said, while promising a better next-generation Internet search engine from Microsoft, due as early as next year.

The big news is the second half of that statement: due as early as next year.

So, another year of vaporware promises from Microsoft.



 7:08 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Google's a very nice system, but compared to my vision, it's pathetic" ...Jim Allchin, Microsoft Snr VP early 2003. If you've ever met the man, the arrogance will come as no surprise. That kind of boastfulness however doesn't signify any great commitment, just Jim's superior vision. Reading Gates (is it true he will soon be Sir William as per todays news?) Davos comments, they still don't come across with the intensity he exhibits about things like the Tablet or even the Xbox.


 9:05 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

I dont know what technology can do that.
The technology that indexes what appears on the users screen and nothing else, whether it be rendered by html, js, flash, pdf, jpg, etc. (i.e. it sees what a human sees.)

 9:26 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

KO expanded by buying up other brands and introducing new products but there are still many profitable beverage companies. Many of them private. Evian for example.

When I say search, I mean indexing a huge amount of the internet and promising to deliver the goods know matter what you are searching for (ecommerce, info, educational research, medical research). Search is Cola. The Cola wars are over. It's about beverages now.

Beverages is everything else: Niche search, friend search, email service, news search, job search, froogle, etc.

Unfortunately, MS is in a time warp and within a year is merely entering the cola wars. Yawn...

I think we see eye to eye on this.


 9:46 am on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

A lot of emails in this thread forget the common man..

Linux is a great OS but windows is still popular
by a huge margin
Relevant :
People who use the internet for information are way behind the numbers of those who don't .
A very lare proportion of people in their first brush with technology would go with anything the windows offers "including " search..so if there is a white bar saying " your window to the world here" people will just go into it . This itself is a significant number that is sitting right in the hands of mickrowesoft.
Then the junior level searchers who would switch just for one less click ..we all know what happens with info more than 3 clicks away ...
This one click i believe something which is of great importance at least from a markeing perspective.
The intermediate level users would switch as soon as the quality of searches is of a decent standard .
In the high end there are gods and satans who will slug it out , but if the qality of searches is good enough there will be more and more converts
Google goes public, any reason why mickrowesoft would be barred from shares worse.. takeover .

My Prayers : May we not see a day wherein we get banned from mickrowesoft search just beacuse we don't ban googlebot in our .htaccess.

This form of a public protest at hegemony ( as obviously seen above ) is a part of my exclusive intellectual property . Anyone trying to use it must pay 10 usd into that kid's fund :-)


 4:33 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

For reference:

> Google's a very nice system, but compared to my vision, it's pathetic" ...Jim Allchin, Microsoft Snr VP early 2003.



 7:56 pm on Jan 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

The Internet is still in childhood, search engines are nothing more than 7th graders, Google is the current school bully.....the battle for search dominance will be fought by adults....the battle is yet to begin.

Gates's statement reminds me of the interview with Steve Ballmer several years back. Remember Ballmer saying "Netscape is the dominant browser, we would like a 50% market share".....I have no doubt MS will get the same "50% share";) of the search market.


 12:17 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Last September, a Microsoft employee told me that was going to write all the major algorithms for Microsoft's new search engine, personally.

And I'm pretty sure she wasn't joking or spreading disinformation.

What I conclude from that is that, last September, the search folks at Microsoft were still badly confused.

And if you look at Microsoft Research, there don't seem to be any big difference-makers coming to light soon. I don't find the Okapi algorithm particularly compelling, and whatever that semantic net which was supposed to be better than Wordnet is doesn't seem to amount to much either.

(Hmm. I think this is my first post here. Well, I'll delurk in another thread.)


 12:25 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm. I'm missing the real basics still, such as how to edit or quote posts ...

Anyhow: Microsoft has wanted to do "softer software" -- i.e., software that heavily adapts to what it learns about a user's choices -- for a looooong time. Charles Harsanyi told me about it at length in 1984. I wouldn't worry too much about personalized search.

On the other hand, when an article says that Microsoft wants to index lots of different stuff, from your hard drive to specific other sites to the Web at large, that I would indeed take seriously. That's just running the same search in multiple places and giving you results categorized by where the hit comes from -- capability that's existed for years in enterprise search, on ZDnet, and in the paid listings era on the major search engines as well.


 12:32 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Netgran, thanks for the link, but all of that is pretty old news to those who read WW.

The original mention of embedded search within Longhorn came out sometime in Jan or Feb 2003. The media failed to pick up on it's significance until near the end of 2003.

I've contemplated the significance since at least April 2003, because I remember talking about it with Jeremy_Goodrich around that time.

Here are some original discussions about Longhorn, probably the first serious discussions about the implications.

May 6, 2003

June 25, 2003

June 25, 2003
New Windows OS = Demise of Google Toolbar
If there's no IE, where can hang the toolbar?

July 14, 2003
The fate of the Google toolbar
After IE is discontinued.

It's a well written summary of things that have been reported on extensively in the news since last autumn, and on WW since the beginning of the year.

It's funny about these SE articles on the net because most of the thoughts discussed within them have their genesis right here at WW.

Being a frequent reader, I don't often read original thoughts elsewhere I haven't already read about here at WW.


 12:42 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really don't rate this local/remote search integration idea at all. If I want something off my hardrive, I will do a Find Files search. I don't know anyone who doesn't know pretty much everything that is on their own PC already.

How often do you search for files on your PC and how often do you search for something on the web? The two just aren't comparable or compatible IMHO.

All MSN needs to do is come up with a really good search engine to rival/beat Google. It doesn't have to be better; it just has to be as good and then people will get lazy and start using MSN instead.


 12:51 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google Kicked our Butts!

Which butts? LookSmart? Inktomi?
Were those really worth kicking? ;)

Google's a very nice system, but compared to my vision, it's pathetic

There's always a difference between visions and implementations...


 2:20 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

"I think Longen has hit the nail on the head"

I agree.

Look at it this way -

When you control the dominant OS AND browser you can do anything, achieve anything you want............end of story.


 2:48 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

When you control the dominant OS AND browser you can do anything, achieve anything you want...

What about when you sign on to your Yahoo Broadband internet?
End of Longhorn story.

What about when you log on to Orkut to make new friends?
End of Longhorn story.

What about when you sign in to your user friendly Google email service?
End of Longhorn story.

Google even beat Longhorn to the desktop:
What about when you use your handy-dandy Google Deskbar?
End of Longhorn story.

Longhorn is three years too late today, and in two years it will be five years too late.

End of Longhorn story.

If Google is five years ahead of Longhorn today, where will Google be five years from now when Longhorn finally comes on the market? Another five years ahead of Longhorn.

[edited by: martinibuster at 3:11 am (utc) on Jan. 26, 2004]


 3:10 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think all those things will just push out the time it takes for Gates to dominate completely.

I still think the inevitable outcome will be that he dominates the SE business, the integration of search with the browser and OS will eventually take over, but I hope you are right.


 3:19 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

As for Microsoft's ability to dominate anything let's talk about MSN Internet or the X-Box. They're going nowhere. Based on past performance, if any outcome is inevetibable, it's failure.

Longhorn was supposed to be out this summer, then this fall, then 2005, now 2006. This is in keeping with Microsoft's history of inevitably failing.

Anytime they reach outside of Office or OS they fall on their face.

Sure, they whooped Netscape's behind, but that's because they were dependant on the software sales, and if MS is giving it away, you're toast. Netscape was easy to beat.

Netscape and Google are different companies and have different revenue streams. Google is already giving it away so they cannot be subverted in the manner that Netscape was.

With the Google deskbar, Google has already beat Longhorn to the desktop. Longhorn isn't even out of it's corner of the ring and Google has already rushed over and kicked it's butt.

Let's face it, MS is slow to move, slow to innovate, hard to get their technologies right.

Let's face it, Google is nimble, innovative, and far advanced technologically and beyond any competition. Everything MS is not or ever has been.

The search wars are over. By the time MS gets to the battlefield it'll be five years too late.


 3:51 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Microsoft does not have the will to beat Google. Google does not threaten microsofts lifeblood.

The only areas where MS has been willing to really go out and beat the world have been those areas that threaten their core businesses - their OS monopoly and now their office monopoly.

They went after netscape because netscape ran on just about every OS out there. That meant that in client/server apps, there was no point to have a MS OS on your client. Much better for them to have the dominant browser run on windows only.

The same thing with office productivity software. Wordperfect ran on many different platforms. It didn't lock you in to using windows. MS took it as a serious threat, so they won. And in the process created their second big money maker.

Server OSs do not threaten the MS desktop monopoly. MS is quite content with their low end server business. Eight years ago they were claiming that they would be up and running on NUMA systems within the year. It still hasn't happened.

They were going to take out AOL with MSN. AOL did not threaten the MS OS or office monopolys. The majority of MSN users are locked in by the broadband providers like qwest, not because they were attracted to msn by the $300 million/year in butterfly ads. AOL's eventual demise will be due to AOL, and not MSN.

How about that xbox that loses money on each one sold? Playstation does not threaten windows. MS loses money on each one sold, but not enough to be able to wipe out the competing game consoles.

With search engines, MS is just seeing all the money that Google is raking in and they are lusting after it. But it simply is not threatening enough to microsoft's core business to get the sort of response that it will require. It is also a business model that MS simply does not comprehend. They will try to make money of the search results instead of just of the ad revenue. They will not gain the user's trust.


 4:00 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ok I feel better now, but never underestimate Gates, he has the money and if he has the will it will get nasty.

I agree that whatever he does won't be much good but people get used to things and if Gates has the dominant SE backed (propped up) by the MS OS and IE then he will take a lot of business away from those that don't own an operating system and a browser, make sense?

In short, if there is enough money in it and he gets the right people on the job it is going to be trouble. If it ever came to that the regulators would have to intervene otherwise the average person may get the impression that there is only MS search and nothing else.


 6:13 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Deskbar ain't no thing.


 11:26 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

read martinibuster's posts. Then read them again. And again if you're stupid. MS is too late.

So MS is big, so was IBM. There's no stopping Google, the search wars are over, Google has won. Yahoo's the bridesmaid.

But so what? Search is the buzz now, but MS will get enamoured with the next big thing and move on.


 11:29 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure I would say that MS doesn't have the will. I know in my area if you want broadband you have to use MSN. They are also partnering with all the high speed providers in the region.

So if you sign up for broadband guess what. The first thing you see is the butterfly browser and tech support tells you to check your email, do searches and browse with the butterfly. The same way IE won. If it's the default application on your computer that's what most people will use.

So, if most people have choice of hitting a search button or opening a browser typing in www.google.com and then searching, I think we all know what 90% of the users will do.

I think saying that MS does not care to or can't compete in the SE market will go down in the same quote book as "Who will ever need a hard drive over a MB", and "Check out the new high speed 15B modum".


 11:33 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, if most people have choice of hitting a search button or opening a browser typing in www.google.com and then searching, I think we all know what 90% of the users will do.

Well I guess that most people's homepages are the homepages of their ISPs. This doesn't stop the majority of people using Google to search.

Welcome to Webmasterworld webdevjim!


 11:40 am on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

RE : Sir Bill Gates?

I'm no expert on British gongs, however, I believe that a KBE does NOT entitle the recipient to be called SIR. That right belongs only to British citizens. Having said that, I doubt many journalists are aware of this. Certainly, Bob Geldoff is referred to as Sir Bob despite being an Irish citizen (I think).


Expect DOS attacks on HM Government to be reported in the press in coming weeks. Billyboy is the most loathed man on the planet by much of the developer community.


 12:45 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>the search wars are over

No they are not. All Google has to do is serve poor results over time and people will move. It is never over in this game.

Google is not a Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Coca-cola and Pepsi will always keep their classic drinks consistent. They would not mess around with the flavors in a way where the taste would be different. If Coca-Cola said "Ok, we're only going to make strawberry-flavored cola from now on and we'll drop the classic flavor", do you really think they would retain all their customers? New Coke, remember that?

Google is more like a rock star, actor, or politician. Can ride at the top for a long time but make a few bad moves and the celebrity status goes downhill.


 12:49 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

> over

Not if IBM decides to launch their flushed out engine.


 5:19 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

While I don't think that MS will win the SE game, that sure doesn't mean that google can never lose it's position. It just means that it is not all that likely to be MS that takes the lead.

Most people on the internet right now have an ISP that has a home page with search on it. Many even come with customized browsers. But where do the majority of searches come from? Google.com.

While there are some people that still use the search that comes with their service, most have switched because they trust the results. Most people just don't trust microsoft that much.

<added>As for Sir Bill, before you condem him just for his lousy software and business tactics, you might consider the fact that he is sponsoring immunization programs that are saving aroud 300,000 lives a year. He is doing more for world health than just about any government. You really should give him some credit for that.</added>


 5:54 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

... he is sponsoring immunization programs that are saving aroud 300,000 lives a year. He is doing more for world health than just about any government.

I hope his business competitors would try to compete with him in this arena too.


 7:22 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

There's a lot more to saving lives in the third world than just thowing in money. 20 years ago Live Aid raised millions for Ethiopa. I don't follow these things closely but the last I heard, the same percentage of the population is at risk today of starving to death but the population has doubled. Today, they are permanently dependant on western food aid.

I probably spend half my working day trying to overcome problems set by MS. Much of that would be reduced if MS documented all the secret API calls. However, that would save millions of man hours every year for his competitors so that is never going to happen unless forced to do so by law.

If BG donated half his annual profits to charity I still would not be impressed because his company's policies cost other companies money - lots of it.

It's a personal opinion, but never has a knighthood/KBE been more undeserved. When I read about this late lastnight, my jaw practically hit the floor.



 7:28 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good to see all the crystal balls out there are in good working order. Search is still in its infancy and yet the search engine wars are dead? Fascinating.

AI, associative concept matching, NLP... no room for innovation there I see. Yep, the search engine wars must be over.

Personally, I think they're just starting to heat up.


 8:07 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google is more like a rock star, actor, or politician. Can ride at the top for a long time but make a few bad moves and the celebrity status goes downhill.

I couldn't agree with you more. Google can indeed lose their place, but they are making moves today to protect their position tomorrow. In this respect, Google lags behind Yahoo, but not by much. MSN is the Ringo Starr to Yahoo and Google's Lennon/McCartney.

MSN has fallen behind in terms of

  • developing a search engine
  • developing it's broadband business
  • developing a comprehensive vision for competing in tomorrow's internet landscape.

While Microsoft is inching out the door backwards in a wheelchair, Yahoo and Google are sprinting forward with, "AI, associative concept matching, NLP..."

DG, I am in complete agreement with you about Search being in it's infancy. By saying that the Search Engine Wars are over, I didn't imply that innovation is over. I AM saying that Microsoft has dropped the ball and the spoils belong to Google and Yahoo. Naturally it remains for G & Y to lose. But it's over.

While Microsoft still owns a good chunk of the market, G & Y are chipping away at it bit by bit.

Super Search rules the Earth: Rise of the Mutants
While that war is over, a new one is opening, one that G and Y may not be able to compete as well with, and that's the specialist search engines.

As Brett mentioned above, IBM is rolling out a new product in conjunction with FActiva (a collaboration with Dow-Jones and Reuters). It's going to be a search engine for their collected news archive; news that neither Google or Yahoo will be able to provide.

In a landscape dominated by Giants, it's up to niche players to step in to fill the gaps.

[edited by: martinibuster at 8:52 pm (utc) on Jan. 26, 2004]


 8:20 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>I didn't imply that innovation is over

Ahh, but the next innovator can rekindle the flames of war.

I don't think any company can remain on the pedestal forever. History bears this out. I also think what you are referring to as specialized search may become mainstream search. Okay, time to put up my wand and drain the scrying pool. Currently I see a complacent victor and the beginning of decay that results from complacency.


 8:48 pm on Jan 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Regardless of who's beating who all Gates has to do is write a big enough cheque and it's all over.

This is about money and he's got more than Google or anyone else.

I hope he continues to try to beat them at their own game rather than buy them out.

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