In early 2008, Microsoft was willing to spend close to $45bn to buoy its
search position. We know what happened next: Yahoo rebuffed, Microsoft
walked away and Yahoo has floundered ever since.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Microsoft. The economy,
along with the stock market, tanked later in the year, saving Microsoft
from what could have gone down as one of the worst timed deals in
And despite the stock market's rebound over the past
several years, Yahoo is still valued at well under half of what
Microsoft was willing to pay in 2008.
For Microsoft, Google's overwhelming dominance of search has not deterred the Redmond software giant from trying to compete in the market.
In fact, if anything, it's only given Microsoft a greater incentive to try to recapture a market it probably believes it should have owned.
After years of failure, it's hard to argue that Microsoft has finally made some headway in the search wars with Bing. At the same time, of course, this doesn't mean that Bing will ever compete toe-to-toe with Google, or that Bing will ever become a profitable investment.
In terms of hard numbers Google is still the leader in the search engine market, certainly in the US, UK and many parts of Western Europe, but that doesn’t stop Microsoft’s Bing from pulling out all the stops to gain some ground.
Here are five important ways in which Bing might just be starting to get an edge on Google.
Google, Bing and Yahoo may not be the best of friends, but every once in a while they do get together in a high-profile way.
That was the case yesterday, when the search trio announced the launch of Schema.org, which seeks to add more structure to content on the web.
Despite the potential for search engines to leverage data culled from popular social networking hubs like Facebook and Twitter, it's still unclear what social's long-term role in search will be.
When it comes to Bing, however, one thing is clear: Microsoft 'likes' Facebook.
According to a report by BIA/Kelsey, in just a few short years, consumer
spending on 'daily deals' like those offered by Groupon and
LivingSocial could reach $6bn.
So it's no surprise that the concept has been commoditized and everyone
is jumping on the daily deal bandwagon. Take for, instance, major
publishers like the New York Times which is launching its own daily deal
service called TimesLimited.
You'd think that after being caught red handed copying Google (or not), the engineers at Bing would come up with something original. But copying Google is just far too easy.
Sarcasm aside, Bing announced yesterday that it has added new personalization and localization features closely resembling similar features Google has had in place for some time.
The internet has been awash this week with claims that Bing has been stealing Google's results. This claim is complete rubbish, despite the various statements by Google.
Google and Microsoft are rivals, and they have been for some time. Everybody knows that. But what was previously a healthy rivalry between two of the most prominent names in technology increasingly looks like a bar-room brawl.
Earlier this week, the two companies became involved in a very public spat that created a social media spectacle and led TechCrunch's MG Siegler to write, "Wow, Microsoft and Google are punching each other in the face right in front of us."
I've been asking some of the UK's search experts about the most significant events of 2010, and their predictions for next year...