The big news this morning is that Microsoft has offered $44.6B to buy Yahoo, the figure representing a 62% premium on the share price at yesterday’s market close. It’s very unclear at this point what will come of this, but as a user I find it hard to see how such a tie-up could be beneficial to me. From my perspective, although MS has done some interesting things on the net, none of their initiatives have been focused on delivering the best quality of user experience or even innovation – their plays have seemed to by cynically based on scaling up so-so experiences and hoping that the brute force of that scale can make them important. What we learn from Google, however, is that though scale is important, it is deeply related to quality and innovation in a way that consumer software never was.
was Microsoft Agrees to Alter Vista Desktop Search. I wonder if the headline was just a coincidence, or if using a slightly modified “AltaVista” was a sly joke? (For newer Net folk, back in the day, AltaVista was THE search engine.)
Microsoft because now he can concentrate more on important things rather than Microsoft all the time. His most recent piece is called The screwing of the Long Tail, and while I don’t think that the long tail is actually being screwed, he does make some excellent observations about blogs (&c.) and advertising. What I mean when I say that the long tail is not being screwed, I mean that they (we) would have to have expected something to be considered to be screwed – and the whole point of the long tail is that people along that part of the curve are doing it because they like doing it. I’m not sure that it can continue to be a long tail if it’s done consciously for profit.
I re-checked the search I put the Beta MSN through yesterday and interestingly – expectedly – it included more returns than before – though the total was still just 10% of Google’s number and no more relevent. But I think it’s important to guage how MSN and a couple of the others change over time. I think people have an instinctive feel for Google by now, but a new entrant like MSN Search should be given the opportunity to improve over time, to get up to speed, so to speak. Anyhow – over the weekend I’m going to write up 3 or 4 queries and develop a schedule to see how each responds and compare the results. I’ll include Google, MSN Search Beta, and Yahoo! Search. Any suggestions anyone can offer will be more than welcome.
is on now, so a comparison is possible. I thought I’d compare using a very relevant search using the terms “alberto gonzales” at the senate.gov site. The results from MSN were shocking in their sparseness – it only returned 6 hits. The results from Google turned up 112 hits. Just in case, I used the graphical tuners to make sure MSN wasn’t just presenting me with a subset based on my initial (default) settings, but that didn’t change anything. From where I sit, turning up but 5% of the results is quite a failure for the Microsoft search.
the new MSN Search. Doesn’t seem to be working at the moment, but this is supposed to be a big improvement. I’m not holding my breath though.
The second browser war, by Ben Hammersley.
“…why did Microsoft stop developing Internet Explorer? Why would a company so vocal about innovation cease work on perhaps the most used application in the world, and for nearly three years? The answer is not definitive, but the prevailing thinking points to the third aspect of the browser war: it is the beginning of an even larger, if deeply curious, battle for the domination of the entire computer industry.”
I remain suspicious about the possibility of web apps to become the thin client or network computer heralded in years past, but it’s clear there’s something going on, and MS really does look like it’s being forced to hedge its bets a bit more than it has done in the past couple of years.
to an article that has been making the rounds in a big way in the last ten days or so: How Microsoft Lost the API War by Joel Spolsky. There have been many reaction pieces, but this piece on Daring Fireball by John Gruber adds the most interesting perspective. “…whatfs ironic is that [Microsoft is] losing this war despite the fact that they won the browser war.”