After Hours

Has Microsoft found an answer to beating Google?

News Corp. may remove content from Google and sign a deal with Bing. Would other publishers follow? Would it boost Bing? We discuss the possibilities.

Podcast

News Corp. may remove its content from Google and sign a search deal with Microsoft Bing. Would other publishers follow? Would it boost Bing? We're skeptical but we discuss the possibilities on The Big Question podcast this week.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan.

You can play this 19-minute episode from the Flash-based player at the top of the page or:

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About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

72 comments
mike
mike

Look, the key to search is getting the right answers to questions, period. I tried out Bing recently as I started doing some Sharepoint development. I'd hit help in Visual Studio, and it would take me to the MSDN site, and the help usually wasn't all the helpful. But, there's this big "Bing" search box at the top of the MSDN page, so I gave it a try, then another, then I'd copy my search tools into my Google search box in FF, and get the answer I needed, usually on the MSDN site. But Bing couldn't find it! Bing could have been great too! After all, its built on Lucene!!!

buzon
buzon

I dont think so. Most people dont like the agressive business style of MS. Other companys can see positive to do some money, but internet people prefer keep away for MS. Examples: MySQL, no SQL for internet-db. Php/Unix/ no MS products. Mayor success of internet, like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube... all they dont come from MS.

beageo
beageo

Has Microsoft found an answer to beating Google? Too right! Any day now MS will have worked out how to completely block new ideas from reaching their staff - an art in which Google has long been a clear winner. Of course certain brilliant ideas from washed out overpaid lackeys of a geriatric Aussie might just be picked up by MS. Lets hope the fence sitting journo sceptics keep the bastards honest.

Snak
Snak

My first reaction to the statement that News Corp are removing comntent from Google and adding it to Bing was - Why? Why not keep your stuff on both? But then I read through the replies and found out that we're talking about paid content here (I do not watch the web casts. I even had to give up watching TROLOF when my office was amalgamated into a 'unit'). First of all, I don't care. I don't need to pay for content, so it makes little odds. I use Ask anyway; I like the fact that I can ask Ask a question and get an answer, unlike asking Google a question that only results in 5 million links for each word in that question. Secondly, I know Rupert Murdoch wont give a damn that I don't like him - I'm just one out of millions who see his greedy, grasping empire as the Satan of our times. Thirdly, I fully expect Microsoft and Rupert to get on very well - after all, birds of a feather and all that....

jazzy5
jazzy5

Most people look at this from the point of Google vs Microsoft. But the issue here is New Group vs Google. On this it seems that no one has a clue. New Group is mostly for the Wall Street people, not for the IT, PC fans, etc. If they move from Google to Bing, Google will not even notice. It a small group. But, a powerfull group. The group that controls the money. Where the money goes, everythingl else will follow. Follow the money. First the Wall Street gang. Then corporations will follow, because Wall Street gang is going there. Then it becomes company policy to use Bing not Google. Many people will get expose to Bing and switch to Bing from Google. After a couple of years Google will be a minus player, maybe like Netscape and we will wondering what happen. Accuse Microsoft to be the most evil thing. Take then to court. But never realize the small change with News Group going to Bing was the cause of all this. Most people at passionate about Google but do not have sense about business. It's not the best techology that wins but the best business sense. Ask Sony about Betamax.

schmoogar
schmoogar

This will do nothing more than reduce Newscorp readership or cause one-off republishing sites to sprout up all over the place. If people prefer Google over Bing, restricting content from Google will not change that. Building a better mousetrap will. Right now, Google is the better mousetrap.

tvmuzik
tvmuzik

I think Microsoft wants to defeat Net Nuetrality, one bit at a time, as quickly as they possibly can.

sebasgonky
sebasgonky

Come on Jason, tell us the truth. Why do you like Micro$oft so much?

alfielee
alfielee

Just a moment...putting you through... Google admin here, what can I do for you? "I want BING please, not Google!" We've got "bling, bring, bong, bang & bung, boing even but no BING. Is it something new or something we've missed? Used to be singer named Bing...NO! Well, I'm worried now, so what is this BING?" "Microsoft BING!" You want me to find BING for you. Oh... that latest piece of electronic wizardry from Microsoft. True genius how they got that working. I saw the software & but for the fact of needing to respond to some request I would have noticed it. Oh how silly of me to not realise. Is it still running? Does it do anything? Does anyone use it? I haven't had any drop in my stats so who's using it? Oh I see, you work for Microsoft. Of course you do. That's why it's so important. You go ahead & use your BING BING or whatever it's called. It doesn't matter. If it's important to you then it's important to me. I'll record BING BING as having a user & I'll try & find it for you. It doesn't score very well on the Google-metre but good on you BING BING. Well...BING BING recorded...what...where's BING BING? Whoops, it's gone again. Time to take it down again. ...next

patrick
patrick

You shouldn't post replies while high.

carlsf
carlsf

Im a GOOGLE user and always will be better results. MS BING is being pushed onto users via MS Doewloads and this I HATE. Tried BING it got BOINGED. SORRY MS better luck next time.

davidbteague
davidbteague

All this has been said, but I still want to put my 2 cents in. First, I purely hate video presentations. I never watch them. Video almost never has any depth. I hate slide shows, for slide shows take too long to load, even with a broad band connection. I avoid News Corp and everything Rupert Murdoch has touched. His stuff has all turned to crap. A better word exists, but I am concerned that it might hurt the tender ears of our censor. Fox News is a creature of Murdoch's making. Bing? I tried it. It still sucks. Why did MS Encarta fail? I wonder if that's the reason why Bing won't succeed. Murdoch is making his News Corp irrelevant as well as unfair and unbalanced.

alfielee
alfielee

...even if it's true David, you're cruel, cruel to the core. Rupert has done an amazing job manipulating the world into believing that it's actually flat & now with BING, it'll stay flat. If BING/Microsoft can actually save their data without it being shredded by some worm, which is unlikely, then the fact that BING is an unused space makes its not being lost, wasted. Now the truth is that people google something because they search for something using Google. No-ones going to google using BING. BING is a noise not a site. I tried it once & it was wrong. As is usual with Microsoft I'm sure if you pay them a small amount of money they will give you a separate piece of software that will nearly work instead of BING.

mullachv
mullachv

This recording is akin to two homeless people comparing NYSE vs NASDAQ - irrelevant in the general scheme of things.

mhunter392
mhunter392

First, your article title sounds more like a marketing ploy supported by Microsoft. Second, I do not have time for webcasts, and most tend to lack substance. Articles give us the ability to read & digest when we have time in our busy schedules. Third, we have thoroughly tested doing searches and other actions between Google and Bing. Bing is substandard. They do NOT perform as their marketing material brags. Yes Google searches have their issues too, but Bing is just more of the same-o from MS. I always complained about doing searches for tech info on MS web site, and I usually had to use a different engine to find what I wanted. MS, even today, searching on their site is extremely time consuming and frustrating. Fourth, News Corp may be using the "threat" of going to Bing to put pressure on Google to get something else from Google (better prices, services, new apps, etc).

reindrop
reindrop

I've got a better idea~Why doesn't everyone just get along and stop trying to out do everyone else? Stop acting like children!

giff
giff

You're new around here aren't you :-)

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

Adults and children are no different. My older son continually tries to manipulate my younger son. He puts some of the most ridiculous spins on things I've ever heard. The only difference between them and adults is that usually the manipulation can be seen, and other pressures beyond simple manipulation come into the picture. With control and billions of dollars involved people will never get along.

doug.brunner
doug.brunner

Does News Corp actually expect that moving there content off of Google will encourage consumers/users to change their behavior? Do they expect me to either change my search provider or use both just because News Corp is only available on another? Contrary to the dillusions of News Corp, user's don't actually seek out News Corp articles - they seek out articles that match the context of their search. If News Corp's articles just happen to be there (in Google results) then we might read them. I suspect News Corp will see a decline in web traffic as a result of this.

peter891
peter891

If Google did not return any stories from News Corp sites, I would not be bothered at all. In fact, if News Corp ceased to exist as a news entity, I would be delighted - since it delivers biased news. I wish Yahoo and others would stop linking to teaser stories on pay sites like The Wall Street Journal.

tonycopp
tonycopp

The 21st Century has a prime candidate for the Internet King Canute Award. Let him erect his plywood fence to hold back the tide on the beach of his choice, Blacks Beach might work for his Aussieness, and we can watch the bleached bones of his publishing genius penetrate the expired flesh.

dsonnen
dsonnen

After News Corp, maybe MSFT can land National Enquirer. Bing the Fair and Balanced search engine with complete coverage of goat aliens and elvis sightings... Your continuous "Microsoft beats Google" drumbeat is tiresome

d.k.rich
d.k.rich

This, in a way, is the first blow to Net Neutrality. When commercial interests start censoring what web users can find/see, we are one more step to losing the open web.

jim
jim

when was the 'Net" ever really neutral? Was it back in the beginning, when it was part of a defense research project? Or maybe it was when governments "volunteered" to help expand the infrastructure and define standards and national security issues? Maybe it was when the Net expansion made several billionaires who built large "friendly" companies who now attempt to further expand it to match their strategies? The true 'neutrality' exists between your ears and behind your eyes. What you choose to read, what you chose to believe is what matters. Everything outside of that is poorly masked marketing of products "in your best interest".

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

If this model works as I said in a previous post is a very dangerous model for the end user. If it works for Greedy Rupert, others will want it also, we'll segregation of the search providers and in turn we the end user will pay for that one way or another. I hope this union either never happens or fails miserably.

erik.pedersen
erik.pedersen

Fox "News" is the antithesis of a newsgathering organization. It is the den of anti-intellectual thugs and bullies who have abandoned all pretence of objectivity - a mere branch plant of the increasingly irrelevant Republican Party. Whether indexed on Bing, on Google or on Rabid-Idiots-R-Us, no sane person would pay the Aussie pillager Rupert Murdoch a nickel for the 'privilege'.

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

That one is just too funny, but very true.

giff
giff

No but News Corp has found a way to make itself irrelevant.

jim
jim

I don't wave the banner for any particular news organization. They are all in the business to make money, and it is human nature to be biased to some degree. I adopt the radical approach of using several sources and (gasp) making up my own mind. Whether you like Murdoch and New Corp or not (I personally am abivalent), consider this: How many people hear/read/see what News Corp has to say? Compare that to how many people might be reading our posts here. I would imagine that your estimation of their "irrelevance" is not causing widespread panic. FWIW, I think they're necessary to balance the scales, since the other side is leaning on them heavily as well.

giff
giff

News Corp asserts that Google is "stealing" their content and wants to force them to pay for use. If they eliminate Google's ability to index their sites (easily accomplished) to what percentage of their potential readers do they become invisible to (and thereby irrelevant).

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

When I first heard of this, I said to myself, "Good, now Murdock will bury himself, and his propaganda network."

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

What this tells me is that Microsoft doesn't think they can compete fairly based on the merits of their software. They basically admit defeat by doing this. Google is better and we can't compete unless we buy the competition away from them with the money we get from Windows and Office. If Microsoft does do this I'll be eradicating Bing from all search options on all 150 workstations that I oversee. Likely no one will notice anyway ;) On a separate note. All you windows users out there are funding this stupidity! Without the anti competitive, illegal business practices that have made Microsoft so powerful we wouldn't even have this story.

bsauer
bsauer

Business has been, is and always will be about doing what you can to kill your competition. Buying up the little guy that might pose a threat has been and always will be the rule of thumb for those businesses that can afford to do so. All major corporations use what ever means necessary to acheive this goal. Some you hear about others you don't. I've been in the computer industry long before Microsoft came around and the big boys back then (IBM for example) did much worse than anything Microsoft was accused of. The one thing that got Microsoft in trouble was not cozying up to the government and when the government thinks it hasn't gotten it's fair share of the money then they come after you. Competition is and should be about coming up with a new approach to things that already exist and being persistant enough to gain support for that approach. It should never be based on getting the government to get you access to someone elses ideas so you can get the upper hand without doing the work(which is exactly what everyone wanted the government to force Microsoft to do). I've used just about everything that has come out that would be a replacement for Windows and have yet to find any that surpass Windows in one basic concept. That concept is putting a non-computer literate person in front of a computer and assessing the learning curve to be able to do the simple things like writing a letter or going on-line. Windows machines have always come out on top in having the lowest learning curve. That is why Windows will continue to stay on top.They don't necessarily perform the best or have the best security but only technically proficient users would even notice. So compete by making the computer very easy for the uneducated user and then you can start competing with Windows.

pepumariusdoru
pepumariusdoru

I am 99% sure that you wrote your reply from a Windows-running machine, right?

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

Incorrect. I use a Linux workstation as my primary OS at work and home. I have to support a Microsoft centric network because that's what I've inherited. While I don't like Microsoft, I'm not so silly to think that it's my sole decision alone to move the company on to something else. The truth is that I don't bash Microsoft, recounting their past behavior is all that is required. I haven't seen any indications that they intend to change.

jim
jim

... I sometimes lose confidence in IT support. Good that you base your decisions on your own feelings and not on trivialities like business need. It amazes me that some people blend ego, bias and naivite to the level you've mastered. This MS bashing has run it's course. The alternatives have had more than enough time to dethrone your 'pretender', and yet there they are. And there you are, earning money supporting what you believe is inferior. That would make you no better than those you bash.... no?

Jeff Dickey
Jeff Dickey

Here's some statistics uncovered by one of my clients, a rather large, multinational corporation well above the bottom of the Fortune 500: * The median work week of their Windows support technicians is just over 57 hours per week. Their Mac support techs are contractually limited to 37.5-hour work weeks, and not one hour of overtime has been requested or authorized for the Mac techs in over ten years. * The ratio of supported systems per Mac tech is higher than the equivalent ratio for Windows techs by a ratio of 17:3. * The median productivity of their Windows PC-using individuals is 74% lower than the Mac median, on the basis of performance evaluations continuously performed on random samples of the employee population; * Those numbers have not been more favorable to Windows since 2001. They have *never* portrayed Windows as being more cost-effective since the company began formal performance monitoring and cost comparisons for desktop computers in 1993. As the current support manager for the company told me last year, "we couldn't afford to be an all-Windows shop."

dacentaur
dacentaur

A lot of males think that to drive a car, you need to know at least the general idea of what makes it work. Funnily, many don't think that they need to know enough about the innards of a computer. I wonder why? I'm a male and though not a technical person, I've found out at least a little of what makes a computer and what are the components. And now this begs the question: When there are so many car companies out there AND customers are supporting all sorts of cars - even the huge gas guzzling ones - why aren't customers supporting alternative Operating Systems?!?!? Now, I'm a Linux newbie. And don't know much about it. But I think that's precisely what the problem is - most people like to be dumb. Taking the trouble to drive a car and to understand how it works is very simple. Unfortunately, understanding how a computer works is a wee bit more complicated than that and so a lot of people get lazy. Or so I think. I, myself, have been lazy. Though, I'm now beginning to get off my ass. So Windows is the answer to all the dumb people (like me) who just want to push a few buttons and get a job done. Until Linux (i.e. any or some of the flavours) matches that (which Ubuntu promises to do - I'm checking it out) there's nothing that anyone can do about the domination of Windows in the desktop/laptop market.

itadmin
itadmin

You are absolutely right - people want to use a computer without learning how to use it. And then they want somebody else to set up their mail, do this and that, even read error messages for them. All for free, of course. I've been on Linux for years. At work I have to use Windows. For some years now Linux has been just as easy to use as Windows. Easier, if you ask me. Linux doesn't try to think for you. You are in control. This XP box I'm using is fine as far as stability is concerned, but still often annoying because of decisions it makes. The big question is why one should pay for something which one can get for free. Most people don't need an application just available in Windows without a Linux equivalent. Most will be able to get along fine using Linux. Maybe being free is one reason why so many are not on Linux. If it's free, it can't be good, right?

Ollie J
Ollie J

MS has always taken a less than impeccable moral route theough the business landscape so this would be no surprise. I think you're a little harsh pointing the finger solely at "windows users" for the ills of MS, the majority of those "windows users" are the ones that propelled Google to where it is now in a position to challenge MS.

Jeff Dickey
Jeff Dickey

Windows and Office for Windows provide the vast majority of Microsoft's revenues, and essentially all of their profits. The fact that people buy goods and services after searching on Google (and thus pay prices that have the cost of advertising adjusted in) is largely beside the point. As a side note, after 25+ years of developing for Windows, I don't know any Windows "users"; that noun implies a certain degree of knowledgeable initiation and control of an activity. Rather, I would submit that people whose PCs are infested with Windows should be more properly termed "usees". IF Microsoft made Windows and/or Office for Windows as usable and attractive as Office for Mac, or as secure as the platform on which that software runs, I'd have a different opinion about "Windows users" entirely.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

Office for Mac is an MS product. Do a search for problems with Entourage and see what you come up with. It's an MS email product that does not support PST files, Winmail.dat attachments (RTF formatting only supported by OUTLOOK) and crashes regularly when attaching to an exchange server. Give me a break. Bill

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

Let's get off the whole MS bashing deal - Google is just as heavy handed as MS, they just get better press.

sml
sml

Competition is a core activity of all business. Google has a stranglehold on which results come to the top of a search and they do not play fair in the SEO world. They sell the positions to the highest bidder, change algorithms to confound small businesses, and tout they are "not evil". Like other businesses are "evil". Business is ABOUT competing and getting rid of competition. MS does it, Google does it, we all should be trying to out do the competitor. Have you ever tried to work with Google? The slow response to a business needs even when a purchase is forthcoming is maddening. They are the 800 pound gorilla on the internet now . . . not MS.

itadmin
itadmin

It's not only Microsoft who acts less than morally. As a kid I always thought banks were scrupulously honest, accurate in their work and completely reliable. Not any more. Two banks would have cheated me did I not discover it. One did. And that's only me. Enron actively cheated and lied. So many corporations look out only for themselves, often to the detriment of whoever gets in the way. Big tobacco, reined in in the developed world, is pushing tobacco in the underdeveloped world. The present economic crises is build on reselling dubious mortgages as solid assets. It seems we have reached the days Paul so eloquently talked of: (II Timothy 1-4)And this know thou, that in the last days there shall come perilous times, for men shall be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, evil-speakers, to parents disobedient, unthankful, unkind, without natural affection, implacable, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, not lovers of those who are good, I've always admired Bill Gates for staying loyal to Seattle with its inclement weather. And he drives around in a Ford Focus. Diogenes had a hard time finding an honest man in Greece. Finding an honest corporation in the world may prove just as hard.

homesickalien
homesickalien

#1, I'm not a fanboy. That's exactly my point. I'm willing to give credit where it is due and not see things so black and white that I must love one product and hate another. I use Linux on a daily basis as my primary operating system. I love it, jack-ass. #2. I agree that a company should do what it can both legally and ethically to beat it's competition. I never stated or implied otherwise. I do not believe that bundling MS Internet Explorer with Windows was ever a crime. As far as I know, Microsoft has never employed underage children or anything similar. So, don't put a dishonest spin on the issue with something so completely irrelevant.

homesickalien
homesickalien

Yes I have, and I did not believe it then, nor do I believe it now to be at all criminal or unethical of Microsoft to include Internet Explorer with Windows and not Netscape or any other browser.

Derteufel
Derteufel

And what business isnt cut throat? Its how they survive.

kirovs
kirovs

Why all posts from Win fanboys start by claiming how they use Linux all the time? "It is the mission of nearly every company to do the best that it can and eliminate the competition if possible. That's capitalism." No it is not. It is the 19th century capitalism what you describe that brought communism to life. Because even this freaky broken system was better than what you describe. You miss critical words- "to do the best it can legally (and ethically) and eliminate the competition if possible. That's capitalism." For example, you don't employ 8 year old kids in the coal mines (1920's in Pennsylvania).

homesickalien
homesickalien

I'm a big linux user and I also love Google products, but I don't begrudge Microsoft one bit for being as competitive as they can be. Like it or not, MS makes fine products (albeit expensive) and for all of the venom that is spit from the mouths of MS haters out there, I rarely hear anyone actually produce one example of Microsoft's supposed illegal and unethical antics. It is the mission of nearly every company to do the best that it can and eliminate the competition if possible. That's capitalism. By the way, why give MS a hard time for buying these indexing rights? Isn't Google doing the same thing? If they aren't now, they surely will going forward to retain those rights. MS has maintained their position because even though Linux based products are getting better and better all the time, they still aren't as easy to use and polished as MS, and Macs are just still too darn expensive and limited as far as hardware configuration options go, making them unattractive to businesses, hobbyists and gamers.

dacramer
dacramer

What a bizarre denial of reality. Historically, psychologically, and socially Microsoft has always been driven by a pathological need to eliminate competitors. That's not theory, or fantasy, or sour grapes. It's fact. Microsoft's own internal correspondence outlines the steps they take over and over to lie, cheat, and deceive. They can't help themselves. It's always worked. They're still doing it. They can't stop.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

You could be right, MS gets the bashing because they deserve it. Over the years they've proven they can't be trusted fully. Google is still an unproven entity, they do some things nicely like open sourcing their work. Open sourcing at least gives opportunity for the community at large to have a voice.

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

However It's also true that with a little more competition around MS wouldn't be the juggernaut financially and politically that they are. Sure the average user just works with what they're given but in the end the truth is sometimes unfair. Windows and Office are funding this like it or not. Upon further investigation it would seem that Mr. Murdoch is likely to take most of the blame for this. However I doubt that MS is objecting too much. I just don't like where this is heading, the precedent of search providers paying for indexing rights is a very uncertain road that I think will only hurt things. Imagine the possibility that one day the search provider will turn that back on the user and we will need to pay per search. Or perhaps MS will create something like the idea of needing to have a "live" account to search their engine, and that perhaps you will need to run windows to log into the "live" account. I know i've done quite a bit of speculation there but if my experience is worth anything I doubt it will play out much differently. It's about money and control.

delta99
delta99

You make a valid point, which I agree with, but let's look at it from a realistic viewpoint: Back in the day, Microsoft took the opportunity to meet the everyday mainstream custumer (not just the upper middleclass and above) halfway with a product that could unify developers as well as end-users when most other big companys only held their own vision for true. This, I think, is mainly why they are in a position of power today, not foul play. Business as usual, I would say, without necessarily agreeing with it.

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