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In a bid to counter the threat of Google, Microsoft has earmarked some of its $5bn research-and-development budget to MSN, and according to both Sutton and Kent, a large chunk of that will go on search.
"At the moment Google has a better product, is a better experience and is more exciting. But we also have a lot of customers using search and now we have to make it better because search is so important," admits Kent.
So alot of cash is going towards search as thought by many of us. They now admit Google is better and exciting!
For starters, they could act on legitimate concerns of copyright infringement and deceptive marketing practices instead of suggesting they will and then not following through on things your average grade school kiddo could spot, and spot in significantly less time.
Other than that area of sub-standard performance, I have no particular ax to grind with them.
How could they possibly spend even $1 billion on search? I thought all they'd need to do was hire a couple dozen PhDs and lock 'em in a room until they came out with an algorithm. Besides a bunch of servers to crawl the web and maintain the index, what else would MSN need to develop a SE to beat Google?
I don't quite get this either. Throwing money at a project doesn't ensure success, but it certainly helps. It seems like Inktomi and FAST have had plenty of money to work with but still haven't come close to Google in many respects, though. Maybe the whole thing is tougher than I imagine, but it seems to me that anyone with even $100 million could come up with a product to rival Google, which begs the question "why don't they?" Google is no doubt worth several times that amount. Their real value is in their PPC advertising, and while some may say that the market is somewhat established with Google and Yahoo/Overture, I'd imagine that the market would follow search traffic to a new, high-quality search engine.
The wildcard is that M$ doesn't need MSN Search to be profitable. They could write it off as empire building and win just to win.
...what else would MSN need to develop a SE to beat Google?
A new operating system?