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.
The title of this story in my feeds
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.)
I’m glad that Scoble has left
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.
MSN Search Update
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.
It looks like MSN Search
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.
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