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This week the tech scene has been alive with buzz about Microsoft’s business model.
CEO Steve Ballmer has yet to make any official statements (at least at time of writing), but speculation is rife that the company are set to undergo a large-scale restructuring, in order to become, in Ballmer’s own words, a ‘Devices and Services’ company.
When we talk about examples of digital transformation, it’s often the assumption that we’re speaking about older, traditionally non-digital businesses attempting to come to grips with the brave new world of digital marketing and ecommerce.
Many case studies show businesses who have long relied on traditional revenue funnels and struggle with multichannel attribution, and who have yet to master social, mobile and ecommerce (or even email in some cases).
According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Windows 8 represents a "rebirth" of Windows and it's the "deepest, broadest and most impactful" version of the operating system his company has yet created.
Those are strong words from a man whose legacy may hinge upon Windows 8's success. But Ballmer apparently isn't afraid to use them, or to offer up bold predictions about how fast Windows 8 will find its way onto consumer devices.
Will any company ever be able to compete effectively against Google in the search market? Microsoft is trying, and spending a lot of money in doing so.
But Steve Ballmer might want to have a chat with IAC's Barry Diller. That's because Diller, who spent close to $2bn buying Ask.com in the belief that it might one day compete with Google, has come to the conclusion that Google just can't be beat in search.
Recently, Google created an international firestorm by threatening to pull out of China. Google cited a hacking attack originating from China as the impetus for its threat but the real rationale behind the move was quite clear: Google wants to play by different rules in what will be the most important consumer market in the world.
Google won praise in some circles for taking on the Chinese government and making a statement about censorship and human rights. Certainly, it does not look likely that Google will get what it truly wants, and while the outcome of Google's strategy (if there is one) is yet to be seen, I'm not the only one who thinks Google has likely made a big mistake by handling the situation as it did.
So after one of the worst wrong turns in corporate history, Yahoo has finally acceded to Microsoft by crawling into bed with the Bingmaker. In a nut, Microsoft will power Yahoo’s search engine and Yahoo will sell the ads globally.
Microsoft’s search market share will rise to around 21.5%, according to figures released by Hitwise last month, or roughly one quarter of Google’s share.
The deal lasts for 10 years, proving a little about my previous assertion that Microsoft is only five or so years into a 25-year search strategy. It is playing the long game, and this deal has solidified its position.
From where I’m sitting this signals three things:
- Yahoo has totally given up on proprietary search. It might become a media company after all.
- Microsoft has strengthened its hand and the deal should help prise further market share from Google.
- Advertisers may benefit in the long run.
But what do the search marketing professionals make of the deal? I’ve been asking a few questions, so let’s hear what they have to say…
Google commands a dominant share of the search market and there's no sign that this will change anytime soon.
But should it be worried about Microsoft's recently-launched 'decision engine', Bing?
Despite Google's still-solid dominance of the online search market, Microsoft hasn't shed any of its search ambitions.
According to AllThingsD.com, Microsoft will unveil and demonstrate its new 'Kumo' search at the D: All Things Digital conference in California next week.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been making funny noises again. He’s been talking about the future of search, and the issues Google faces.
He said: “Google does have to be all things to all people. Our search does not need to be all things to all people.”
Maybe so, but it’s hard to know exactly what Microsoft is trying to be, in terms of search. Nevertheless, Ballmer says that the company is experimenting with new business models for search, as well as new ways of presenting search results.
It's not the type of party that one usually wants to attend but sometimes you have to make an appearance.
Microsoft today reported disappointing results for its fiscal second quarter. Those results included an anemic 2% revenue growth from the same period a year ago - $900m less than expected.
CES, the world's largest consumer technology trade show, started yesterday.
Despite the economy and speculation about the economy's impact on CES this year, CES seems to be doing alright this year and is still one of the most important technology trade shows in the world; the place where hot new consumer gadgets are launched and big announcements made.