Bill Gates thinks
that users should benefit from using one search engine
or another, and predicts price competition could emerge
as engines bid for users.
The interview Gates
did with British publication Computing
touched on a variety
of technology topics. For one thing, the man respects
Google, but one will need to find the 'Unimpressed' crayon
to color in his views of the search engine company:
But, while acknowledging
Google as a fine company, a serious competitor',
he is dismissive of the threat.
products are you talking about? Seriously? Other than
search, which are you talking about? Google Talk? Wow.
A total "me too" product. Even Gmail - what
is the unique thing?" he says.
We'll revisit his
opinion of Google in a moment. But what's all this about
being paid to use a search engine?
As Gates sees
it, Google makes about $50 per user every year from
the searches they perform. Being atop the search pile
means there's no competition, and Google's highly relevant
results have kept it there.
does really begin, and one has to believe Gates means
"once we figure out how to out-Google Google with
MSN Search," users will benefit as he said in the
"As search becomes
competitive and people realize that other offerings are
as good, or are even significantly better, there will
be price competition.
"You will get
some free content or a check, or some incentive to use
a different search engine. Competition for users has not
even kicked in. I can assure you it will not stay that
And he added:
"We are going to run some experiments on that in
the next year."
Microsoft has a cash
pile believed to be worth about $50 billion dollars. Shareholders
have always wanted the company to give some of the cash
back, and Microsoft did finally start paying a dividend
in recent years.
But here it sounds
like the company could use some of that to bankroll
a campaign to get users to switch search engines; once
its advertising network gets under way, some of its profits
could take over funding incentives.
a small percentage discount on its web site for users
of its A9.com search engine and toolbar. After a certain
number of searches go through A9, users become eligible
for a 1.57 percent discount on their purchase. That could
pale in comparison to what Microsoft might offer.
a Forrester analyst who doesn't see relevance being
pushed aside simply for financial gain:
says the quality of the search results will still be the
"What is relevant
is whether the site is good enough to give people what
they want from a search," she said. "Financial
incentives alone will not be enough."
In the meantime,
Microsoft will keep building its search and prepping its
advertising network for debut in the US and elsewhere
(it's running in France and Singapore now). Until then,
Gates would like everyone to pay attention to Google:
And he can't resist
one more dig at the world's biggest search engine company.
great, they are smart people, the press should continue
to feed their arrogance as much as possible," he