Microsoft Must Fight Google's Search Accusations: 11 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-02-02 Print this article Print

News Analysis: Microsoft has been accused by Google of using the search giant's search results. Although Microsoft has acknowledged that it uses "clickstream data," it needs to fight Google on this issue.

Microsoft and Google are at it again. In a shocking announcement on Feb. 1, Google revealed that it believes Microsoft's Bing platform is using its search engine results in some cases. The company provided several examples of the issue, and said that it even created fake search results to see if Microsoft's offering would eventually return the same links on queries.

All told, Google created 100 "synthetic queries" to see if Bing would re-create the same results. According to Search Engine Land, which first reported on this issue, between seven and nine of those results were the same on Bing. These results hardly seem higher than what might be produced by chance.

For its part, Microsoft has said that it uses "clickstream data," but has stopped short of actually saying that it culls Google search results for its own service. Either way, Microsoft needs to fight this battle against Google to the bitter end. Google, once again, is looking like the unassuming victim. It's a problem. And it's something that Microsoft must fight-or else.

Here's why:

1. Google already has the high ground

The biggest issue Microsoft faces right now is that it looks like the bad guy in its most recent search battle with Google. The search giant has come up with several different examples of Bing seemingly matching Google search results. Microsoft's decision to say in no uncertain terms that it didn't steal Google's search results was a smart move. But it can't stop there. If Microsoft stops talking about it, the company will look even worse. It needs to make its case clear and drive it home until people across the world believe it.

2. It's a small sample

Microsoft should continue to inform the public that Google's collection of mimicked search results was by no means the norm. In fact, Bing's results are vastly different than Google's in several cases. If Microsoft can show several more examples of that and make it clear to users, it should be able to stop this problem from spiraling out of control.

3. The blog posts are working

On Feb. 2, Microsoft released a blog post about Google's charge. It was the second post from Microsoft on the issue in two days, and it clearly stated how the software giant feels about the accusation. It was effective at delivering Microsoft's stance-the company called Google's tactic "click fraud"-and it made some folks understand the situation a bit better. Simply put, Microsoft's blog posts seem to be working, and the company should continue offering them up.

4. It makes Bing more relevant

Microsoft is having trouble competing with the entrenched Google in the search space right now. Bing's 12 percent market share is still way behind Google's 66 percent share. But by Google bringing its latest revelation to light, Microsoft can launch its own PR campaign and potentially make its search engine seem more relevant than it really is. After all, if the biggest name in the business is targeting a product, shouldn't that mean that the product is notable and a concern?

5. It can work against Google

If Microsoft can play its cards right and continue to take the fight to Google, the company could go a long way in making the search giant look like a bully. As mentioned, it needs to highlight more examples of where Bing doesn't copy results (and delivers better results) to make Google's accusations look unfair. If it can do that, Microsoft can look like a victim. Whenever a company is against a dominant competitor, looking like a victim is typically a good thing.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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