Microsofts Hardball Tactics Are No Surprise

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


6. The revelation isn't all that groundbreaking

Let's face it: If Microsoft is in fact copying Google search results in some cases, as some reports claim, it shouldn't be all that shocking. In every industry across the world, companies are examining competing products and delivering their own slightly modified versions. Bing is not an exact replica of Google; it's just Microsoft's take on what Google does. In some cases, the results match up. The same could be said if the tables were turned and Google was on the hot seat.

7. Maybe a fight would energize employees

Microsoft is in a funk right now. For years, the company has been watching its core businesses-Windows and Office-run on auto-pilot while other firms in the space innovate. In the technology space, employees aren't typically happy about that. These days Microsoft employees seem to have nothing to fight for. But if Microsoft can make its battle with Google more serious and consider the search giant's claims a shot over its bow, maybe it can energize its employees to do more than they have in the past.

8. It could be a PR nightmare

Microsoft doesn't need another PR problem right now. The company has been viewed throughout the years as the "Evil Empire" that dominates all the markets it finds itself in. There is no question that it does what it needs to do to win. It needs to make sure this incident doesn't further stain its reputation. If Microsoft doesn't find a way to battle back, the company will look, well, Microsoft-like. From a PR perspective, that's not a good thing.

9. It could affect other businesses

Who knows how this latest charge could affect Microsoft's other businesses? If nothing else, people want to know that the company they're buying products from is trustworthy and operating in an ethical manner. If consumers think Microsoft is the evil party here, they might be less willing to buy other Microsoft products. After all, Microsoft and Google compete heavily in the mobile space. A person's negative opinion on Microsoft might make them opt for Android rather than Windows Phone 7. The impact might not be serious-Windows and Office are too important for that-but it could be noticeable

10. The ad business could suffer

The main reason Microsoft is in the search space is to increase its advertising revenue. The best way to do that is to increase the number of people using its search engine. In practice, that sounds simple. But in reality, beating Google in the search space and increasing advertising revenue is extremely difficult. If Microsoft can't make things better with this latest battle with Google, it'll become even more difficult.

11. The haters will keep hating anyway

Part of Microsoft's problem is that some folks are using Google's search engine simply out of hatred for Microsoft. They believe that this latest charge is another in a long line of unsavory tactics on Microsoft's part to match or overcome a competitor. Those folks will undoubtedly take offense to Microsoft continuing to admit no wrongdoing. But at this point, Microsoft shouldn't care about that. The company can't win over that group anyway. Microsoft haters will always hate. So it's best now for Microsoft to stick to its guns and try to convert those who aren't so anti-Microsoft (or pro-Google) and simply want to use the best search engine available.  

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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