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BrustBlog Pontifications on Microsoft and the Tech Industry

Steve Berkowitz, the Microsoft Senior Vice President of Online Services, made what I consider to be a stunning admission of defeat.

Here’s the context: quoted in Mary Jo Foley’s blog, from his presentation at the JP Morgan technology conference, Berkowitz makes the distinction between “destination search” and “convenience search.”  Destination search, effectively, is search conducted at a search site.  Convenience search is performed in-place, through some context-sensitive search facility in an application or Web page.

Berkowitz believes Microsoft is more likely to have a good showing in convenience search than in destination search.  Implicit in this assertion is that (a) Microsoft doesn’t believe it currently has a good showing in either search area and (b) MS believes it is very unlikely that it will ever have a good showing in the destination search arena.  In other words, people who want to go to a search engine will go to Google, and MSN/Live Search’s (last?) best hope is essentially as a mashup Web service.

While I’m glad to see Microsoft admit that no one takes its page terribly seriously, I have to say I’m a little shocked to see them write off the whole prospect of improving and competing in the “destination search” arena.  And besides, to admit that your search engine is second-class but to assume people will use it anyway as an in-place service strikes me as somewhat contradictory.  Select/Ctrl-C/Ctrl-E/Ctrl-V/Enter isn’t that hard.

Especially if it gives back better results.

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 11:01 PM | Back to top

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