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May 15, 2006
  • In my prior post about Yahoo! and the quote attributed to Terry Semel, I had actually been posting about how the Internet does not really allow for complete competition complete market control. Thus, no reason to believe anyone has "no chance". Why? Because as I was going to say, there is no natural monopoly to form. Oh sure, you can talk about this or that regarding Microsoft - clearly there is fodder. But all things aside, proprietary systems like hardware are much easier to lock down. What keeps a person from switching to a different search engine?

    At any rate, this article from The Economist - Is Google The New Microsoft (subscription required) touches on exactly this point. For those without a subscription to The Economist, here is a free link to the complete article simply retitled Google = Microsoft. (This site may require free registration)

    At any rate, as the article rightly points out, among other things:

    "Try to avoid using Microsoft's software for a day, particularly if you work in an office, and you will have difficulty; surviving a day without Google is relatively easy. It has strong competitors in all the markets in which it operates: search, online advertising, mapping, software services and so on. Large firms such as Yahoo, which previously farmed searches out to Google, have switched to other technologies. Google's market share in search has fallen from a high of about 80 percent to about 50 percent today."

    Additionally, it touches upon the fact about why Microsoft and IBM were able to command such success. Point being? Yahoo! should not be promulgating notions about the search business being over. If it is for them, then indeed it will be.

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    May 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM in Business, Companies, News, Search Engines
  • I have never had anything against Yahoo! In fact, I find Yahoo! to have more relevant search results then others (including Google) quite often. That being said, I find this statement attributed to Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel to be asinine at best and frightening at worst:

    "My impartial advice to Microsoft is that you have no chance," Semel said. "The search business has been formed." - Read the rest of the article (via Good Morning Silicon Valley)

    Perhaps there is a contextual discrepancy, because if not, this statement is truly absurd. Semel does go on to say that other forms will take place but that itself implies the search business is not done. Perhaps he should read The Search. Everything boils down to getting information and we are clearly no where near where we need to be for anyone to believe there is not room for complete change or realignment. Perhaps he should also take a look at this April 2006 search usage chart.

    For Yahoo! shareholders, this should be frightening. One, I am not sure I would bait Microsoft with such a call out. Two, it does not seem to bode well for Yahoo! to be pushing ahead. If everything is set and the game is over, why bother innovate? Why bother bring forward new products or innovations? Perhaps this is the thought that has led Yahoo! to wait 8 years before providing a major upgrade to its ad program, all while Google chomped up and passed it. Third, does that mean he is happy to be second in search? Finally, I find this all the more perplexing because the developer APIs Yahoo! continues to release are quite forward thinking.

    The search business is no where near over and anyone that thinks otherwise is either confused, delusional or attempting mind games.


    May 15, 2006 at 04:30 PM in Business, News, Search Engines
August 29, 2005
  • Writing about my wishes for Windows Vista, coupled with the Google Talk launch, and finalized with some work I am in the middle of reminded me of of something I learned a few years ago:

    Search engines do not (necessarily) want you to find the best results quickly.

    Yes, you read that correctly. A few years ago I was involved in negotiations with several top level search engines for use of a newly developed technology. For the time being, I am going to leave the specific technology out of discussion but in general the technology being discussed would help site users find information many times faster. The technology in question has far wider reach than just search, but applied very nicely to finding information not just faster, but easier too. One of the many end user issues solved would mean the eradication of multiple page clicking - that is, a person does the search and gets most (if not all) of the relevant returns with one click rather than having to wade through pages and pages of garbage. Great for the searcher right? Less time wasted, faster returns, quicker searching! The answer:

    You're right, it's great, but we cannot have our users finding things that easily.

    Aug 29, 2005 at 02:12 PM in Business, Flashback, Search Engines