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MSFT Makes a Strategic Error Chasing Search

31 Jul 2009

Whoops!

Pardon my haste, but when I originally made the video I was under the false impression that Microsoft had made a similar bid to last year's offer and had purchased Yahoo. Thanks to Wade Dorrell (MSFT business intelligence program manager) for discovering the video before I wrote this post and correcting my false assumption. Seriously, thank you Wade. Now back to my tactics rant.

Microsoft is wagering that the combined research departments of their own R&D and Yahoo! will be able to compete with Google's US search monopoly. Yahoo!'s early site directories were a great way to find new content. I'll always have fond memories of Yahoo! in my early years of web discovery, but now it appears the business is headed in a contraction direction (refocusing).

Lead Real Time Search Instead of Chasing Bot Crawled Search

Microsoft made a big mistake in my opinion. Chasing after bot crawled search is not a power move. In my opinion they should have acquired Twitter as well as the half dozen or so companies working real time search, and completely owned this emerging market. Instead of grabbing Yahoo's search with the partnership to marginally increase their influence on normal web search, they should have went full bore and took a gamble on a real time search.

Another leadership move would be opening up the Twitter pipeline to the public, allowing further innovation and research (twitter may yet do this itself). Even Google could compete in this space (and probably make some strong contributions). This would be a show of investment and an incredibly tactful public display. By opening up the stream they'd be showing that no one business shall own real time information streams and we'll all have to work together to make the most utility out of real time information flow.