Bing Will Look Better Than Google

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-08-11 Print this article Print

Google also came under fire because CEO Eric Schmidt sat on Apple's board. He stepped down in August, but the FTC said it is still looking into the matter.

There are other areas where Google is being scrutinized, some of which I'm sure we're not even aware of; this does not mean Google is becoming or has become evil. It's trying to feed a growing machine.

Google is slowly cultivating the perception that it's becoming too data-hungry in its quest for indexing and organizing as much of the world's info online as it can, through the Android mobile operating system, Chrome Web browser and forthcoming Chrome Operating System for netbooks.

In fact, some have compared Google's thirst for branching out in cloud computing, or the Internet, to Microsoft's own tentacular approach to the desktop. They compare Google's multichannel approach to search and Web services via Google Apps, Android, Chrome and Chrome OS to Microsoft's broad desktop strokes with Windows, Office, Windows Media Player, and Internet Explorer).

That pervasive approach served Microsoft well, but because Microsoft chose to bundle software applications with Windows, the DOJ came down on it for owning the desktop operating system market and trying to own the browser market by bundling browsers with Windows-based PCs. Microsoft has recovered from the DOJ's fallen hammer, but it is still reeling from an ongoing European Commission antitrust crackdown.     

You can argue that after the DOJ put Microsoft in its place that millions of users didn't flee from Windows because Windows had already saturated the market. Barring a systematic revolt, this made it virtually impossible to rip Windows out by the roots.

Search is different. Users may be staying with Google because they are comfortable now, but what if they get so fed up by the legal brouhahas that they revolt? You know Microsoft will fire up the anti-Google marketing machine for users on the fence. Microsoft is trying hard to make Bing look cool and if you've seen the Bing search blog lately you know there is excitement around the product. This is no limping-along Live Search.

If the government cracks down on Google for being the Internet poster child for greed, users could grow increasingly disenchanted with Google as their search engine. Google would become much like Microsoft has been on the Internet until Bing: uncool and not a place to live on the Web. Google users could leave for Bing and by extension, products such as the new Office Web alternative to Google Apps.

Microsoft has nothing to lose and everything to gain, and if we look at Bing as Microsoft's new entry into an established market, we cannot ignore this simple fact: Microsoft does not lose in the markets it enters. It devoured the desktop, it devoured the office productivity space and it devoured the browser market.

How can Google avoid this? I'm not sure it can, unless the company has some magic antitrust bane to ward off Varney, privacy and antitrust pundits and others. It's how Google handles the action when the DOJ's hammers fall that could determine whether or not it comes out whole.

If not, the public perception of Google will deteriorate past the point of no return and Bing will reap the rewards. Growing disgust with Google may be the only way Bing has a chance to win in search.  


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