Lu Hire Shows Ballmer Is Switching Tacks to Help Microsoft Battle Google in Search - Page 2

Adding Lu only adds to the luster, and underscores Ballmer's sentiment: If you can't buy them, poach them. Enderle added:

Now they've got somebody on board who at least knows the landscape and was able to compete at least to a certain degree with Google. More important, he understands the portal side of it, which is probably where both Yahoo and Microsoft should have focused instead of trying to make a head-on run against Google on search given that Google's now entrenched in search and is going to be really hard to displace.

Indeed, The New York Times' Saul Hansell echoed Enderle's sentiments, noting that Microsoft is combating Google at its own game:
Mr. Ballmer sees Microsoft's No. 1 enemy as Google. Google's No. 1 product is a search engine. So to beat Google at its own game, he may figure he needs the person who can make the best search engine possible. By that standard, Mr. Lu would be on anyone's short list.
With Lu running Microsoft's Online Services along with Suchter, Microsoft may poach more engineers from Yahoo, which has opened up its search platform. It could also give Microsoft the credibility to lure programmers from Google, Facebook or other Silicon Valley darlings.
Yet these potential advantages don't equate to a recipe for success, Enderle noted:

Is it going to be a silver bullet to the group? Boy, MSN has struggled ever since it launched. The only thing that may work this time is the combination of some experience, coupled with the fact that the position reports to Steve Ballmer, who is [insert a more vulgar word for annoyed here]. The only thing you can say for sure is if they don't start doing something quick, that is going to be a short-lived job.

IDC analyst Karsten Weide added that if you have a 65 percent market share, or Google's approximate share in search traffic, you're likely to keep that position.
"I have no reason to believe [Lu's] a bad choice, but we'll have to wait and see what happens," Weide noted. "There are only so many experienced online managers to go around. It's certainly not the worst choice that they could have made.
Kara Swisher at AllThingsDigital has trenchant fun with Ballmer's letter to Microsoft employees about Lu's hire here.