EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

03.23.09

Microsoft’s Very Own “Death Spiral” (on the Web)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is Dying Online, Desperate for Yahoo! Deal

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft executive

Spiral stairway

Summary: In Microsoft’s latest attempt to “tilt Google into the death spiral,” it reaches out for allies

THE STRUGGLE to stay relevant in the Web era is a key one to Microsoft and the phrase “tilting <Company_name> into the death spiral” is rather common in the company’s internal communication. Since GNU/Linux is not tied to any one company, Microsoft’s current “tilt” attempt is directed at Google, whose market cap almost equates to Microsoft’s.

So what is a Steve Ballmer to do?

The company has gone as far as the manufacturing of lies, but figures that are not paid for by Microsoft indicate that the company’s steady decline carries on. The Wall Street Journal wrote about this in the context of ongoing talks between Microsoft and Yahoo.

But who needs a deal? Ballmer also set off a whole new round of Yahoo speculation, saying he would be open to discussing a search partnership with Yahoo’s new chief, Carol Bartz.

Sure, Ballmer’s statement isn’t really anything new; he has been panting after Yahoo’s search capabilities for months, and he reiterated at the software giant’s strategy update in late February that he preferred a search deal with Yahoo but no outright acquisition. And make no mistake: the only things that have changed since Ballmer last made eyes at Yahoo are the passage of time and the fact that the Sunnyvale, Calif., company has a new chief executive.

[...]

But on the flip side, both Microsoft and Yahoo still are losing market share in Internet search, and Standard & Poor’s analyst Jim Yin expects that Microsoft “will continue to lose marketshare in Internet search engine,” according to a March 11 research note. That decline has been visible over the past two years at both Microsoft and Yahoo, and there is little reason to expect that to ease or reverse itself.

That last remark is not exactly news. Going a week back, InternetNews claimed that “Microsoft U.S. Searches Sink to 12-Month Low.” This is representative of some other areas including Azure that's going offline, Hotmail that’s losing users (mostly to Google), and other units that are being shut down as part of a trend.

Microsoft’s share of U.S. searches last month fell to its lowest level in a year, according to Web tracking firm comScore.

The latest data show that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) garnered only 8.2 percent of all U.S. search queries in February, slipping from 8.5 percent in January. The company had previously held a 9.6 percent share in February 2008.

Microsoft is now leaning towards Yahoo! as a harbour [1, 2] that’s of little or no use, unless they wish to harm Free software.

A year ago — and only a month or so after Microsoft’s initial bid for Yahoo — Microsoft’s CFO seriously considered buying Yahoo and go into over $20 billion in debt. But no longer is Microsoft truly interested in buying companies for growth, maybe because Microsoft is in debt territories even without Yahoo [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. According to Dow Jones (via CNN):

Microsoft CEO Sees Fewer Acquisitions

[...]

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said Thursday he expects less acquisition activity in the economic downturn since targets will be less likely to sell at depressed valuations.

Dina Bass, who has some inside connection with Microsoft, wrote the following in Bloomberg:

Microsoft will experiment with new business models and ways to present Web search results, Ballmer said. So far, its efforts haven’t made much headway with users. The company controls a smaller portion of the Web search market than it did four years ago, when it switched from using Yahoo! Inc.’s search technology. Building market share will be a step-by-step process, Ballmer said.

As Ars Technica shows in its new article, titled “Why Microsoft continues with search: it’s still not solved,” this is a purely technical issue. Microsoft is currently rebranding, once again renaming (Kumo), and changing the outside appearance of its search engine, but it’s the underlying engine which must change. Microsoft has already suspended plans to build a datacentre in Iowa, so its ability to expand and grow in this crucial business area seems highly limited.

Some days ago, one of Microsoft’s talking heads called Preston Gralla, started yelping — yet again — about Google being a monopolist. This is part of a strategy that began 2-3 years ago when Microsoft tried to portray Google as what a major newspaper called “evil empire” and Microsoft even donated money to this daemonisation cause. Gralla, who does Microsoft/Windows stuff for a living, is using his appointment in the Microsoft-funded IDG [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] to constantly attack Google and attack GNU/Linux, which are Microsoft’s biggest competitive threats. That is all Microsoft has left. It can’t compete based on quality, so it also sued Linux and encouraged companies to sue Google, maybe even Apple.

“Microsoft has already suspended plans to build a datacentre in Iowa…”Returning to Bloomberg, Bass also wrote this article about Microsoft trying to sneak its way into search using agreements (probably a reference to buying exclusivity, i.e. buying one’s way to market share). Mozilla complained about this tactic only a couple of days ago (direct link).

Steve Ballmer is still trying to form a partnership with Yahoo (like the one they so hypocritically blocked when Google came over to Yahoo's rescue). Mary Jo Foley informs that Microsoft claims to have held only a single meeting with Carol Bartz.

Although you’d never know it from most of the headlines today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said he has had only one meeting so far with Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz since she became CEO. And it sounds — at least according to Ballmer’s remarks — that he and Bartz did little more than exchange pleasantries.

There is a lot more news coverage about this at the moment. The last impression varies depending on the source:

Yahoo is already caving somewhat, having promoted Firefox 3.0 when it was new*. Here is some interesting news about IE8, which has just been released.

Microsoft IE8 Browser Seeks To ‘Accelerate’ Searching, Yahoo Adds ‘Visual Shortcuts’ To Search Box

[...]

The other development I wanted to discuss is Yahoo’s “visual search shortcuts.” This operates from the search box on the browser toolbar. Yahoo must first be selected as the search provider in the IE 8 search box (Live Search is the default). If you then enter a query you see search suggestions but also “shortcuts” for certain categories of information: stocks, movie showtimes, movie reviews and weather.

What is this technical linkage about and when did it come into play?

As one last and very secondary note, IE8 is nothing to care about. Despite Mossberg's good relationship with Microsoft, IE8 failed to impress him and the same goes for TechCrunch, which writes:

With IE8, Microsoft Ignores One Third Of The Market

[...]

[S]peed is really everything. Without speed, all the other features fall by the wayside. You can’t enjoy a WebSlice (which is a slice of a Webpage that is constantly updated) if it takes forever to load. And if you look at Internet Explorer’s market share, it has steadily been eroded over the past few years by its faster rivals Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. We’ll have to wait for new independent speed tests to see how IE8 stacks up, but speed does not appear to be its strong point.

Microsoft is doing what it always does: focusing on its massive installed base of users and ignoring the rest. If you’ve already left IE for a speedier browser, IE8 is not going to bring you back, and Microsoft knows it. For instance, Internet Explorer long ago turned its back the Mac and IE8 will be no different. There will be no Mac version, even though Macs continue to gain market share against PCs.

Bundling and integration that violate the rules seem to be the last card in Microsoft’s deck for renaissance on the Web. The best tagline for IE8 to have might be “too little, too late.” The same goes for Microsoft’s Web ambitions.
_____
* Yahoo was headed by Yang and Decker back then [1, 2, 3], but Microsoft fought them until its potential insider, Carl Icahn, played a role in pushing Yang out.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

3 Comments

  1. twitter said,

    March 23, 2009 at 9:21 am

    Gravatar

    Nice summary. It’s easy to lose the big picture with all of the BS M$ pumps out through their purchased and managed press. It’s also difficult to know where M$’s finances really are when you can’t trust what they put into quarterly reports, but the line drawn from $60 billion cash a few years ago points to less than zero today. Not much has changed to turn that line around. Xbox, Zune, web search, online services, Vista and Office 2009 all flunked out and Windows 7 won’t be much better. The company has started to fire people but that kind of cost cutting won’t produce the product they needed now, nor will that product be adequate in the future. Iceland, where things are worse for people, shows an interesting structural weakness in M$’s business operations that creates a cascading revenue failure, so the end may come sooner than anyone imagines.

    Ultimately, there’s no room for non free software in the era of affordable computing. Other people can and are doing what M$ used to do, and they do it for much less. There’s no room for a $60 OS fee or a $400 Office suite on a $200 computer. Analysts and people in industry see this clearly. As Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini bluntly put it, “Microsoft has to figure out: What’s their strategy?” The retail channels M$ squeezed to push Vista and fight EEE PC simply went out of business, a trend that started before the financial crisis which is cleaning out everyone left. The only thing they have left is patent extortion, an injustice informed opinion thinks is doomed to fail.

  2. David Gerard said,

    March 23, 2009 at 12:07 pm

    Gravatar

    This post inspired today’s NotN.

  3. amd-linux said,

    March 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Gravatar

    “Me, too” would also very well summarize their business activities.

    They have long time ago given up to even try to invent. They now bully and copy.

    They’re done.

What Else is New


  1. Don't Let the Collapse of News Companies Be the Collapse of Information (or Ascent of Misinformation)

    We're growingly concerned that the collapse of the mainstream media will entail reliance not on reliable and independent alternatives but corporate marketing agencies, charlatans and frauds, sometimes even deliberate falsehoods and state-manufactured bogus stories



  2. When Police Gets in the Way of Investigations, Having Used Microsoft Products to Investigate Microsoft Issues

    In this long article we outline barriers we’ve come across in pursuit of information from the police (the pedophilia arrest at the mansion of Bill Gates — followed by conviction and arrest — has thousands of pages about it, but since September the police has shared not even one!)



  3. Guest Post: Free Software is About Software Ownership

    "In effect, companies will lose control and profit. Will they accept that?"



  4. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 27, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, January 27, 2020



  5. Links 27/1/2020: Linux 5.5 is Out, Work on Linux 5.6 Commences, New Solus and Award for Andrew Tridgell

    Links for the day



  6. EPO: Goodbye to the Rule of Law and Hey Hi, AI!

    The EPO’s embrace of buzzwords — no longer a unique EPO strategy (it has already spread elsewhere) — puts examiners in a very bad position and they’re grappling with nerve- and mind-racking dilemmas (risk of unemployment for truly upholding the EPC)



  7. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 26, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 26, 2020



  8. Links 26/1/2020: MuseScore 3.4 Released, New Kate Icon and Solus 4.1 Fortitude Available

    Links for the day



  9. MIT and Microsoft Have Done Nothing to Actually Tackle Pedophilia and Ephebophilia

    MIT never actually resolved the issue that caused Joi Ito, Richard Stallman and others to be ejected; Microsoft meanwhile continues to profit from life-changing abuse (while seeding puff pieces in friendly media, just to pretend otherwise)



  10. Opinion: If You Advocate Population Control and You Are Yourself Doubling in One Single Generation, Then You Might be Hypocritical

    People with 3-5 children (each) tell us that the world has an overpopulation problem; while the growth of the population certainly poses a risk, these people lack the moral authority to lecture us about that (unless they adopt a eugenicist worldview, wherein only particular people are permitted to reproduce)



  11. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 25, 2020



  12. Nothing Has Truly Changed Since Netscape and Antitrust

    The same old crimes persist, as well as the blatantly anticompetitive behaviour



  13. When the Monopolists and the Patent Litigation Industry Hijack the News They Control the Narrative

    Money buys perception and litigation firms have certainly 'bought' the media coverage, which fails to convey the issue at stake and instead paints a rational court decision as tragedy for "innovation" (by "innovation" they mean monopolies on nature and on life)



  14. Links 25/1/2020: OPNsense 20.1 RC1 and DXVK 1.5.2

    Links for the day



  15. The Linux Kernel is No Longer Free Software?

    Gardiner Bryant, the creator of The Linux Gamer as well as The Off Topical Podcast, reacts to our articles about DRM in Linux (he even pronounced my name correctly)



  16. Sometimes Proprietary Software is Proprietary (Secret) Simply Because It is Not Good and Obfuscation Helps Hide Just How Ugly It Is

    Why nonfree (or proprietary) software generally fails to catch up with Free/libre software — at least on technical grounds — and then makes up for it with marketing and FUD offensives (discrediting perfectly-functioning things, based on their perceived cost)



  17. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 24, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, January 24, 2020



  18. Links 24/1/2020: GNU/Linux in Russia and More New Openings

    Links for the day



  19. When EPO Press Coverage Boils Down to Lobbying, Press Releases, EPO Lies, and Bribery

    Any attempts to properly assess and explain what happens in Europe's patent landscape are being drowned out by EPO-bribed and law firms-connected media; to make matters worse, the EPO's bribes have expanded to academia, so even scholarly work in this domain is corrupted by money of special interest groups



  20. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 23, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 23, 2020



  21. Links 23/1/2020: Qubes OS 4.0.3, EasyOS 2.2.5, GhostBSD 20.01

    Links for the day



  22. Passion of the Microsoft

    A rough timeline of Microsoft’s interactions with Linux and the Linux Foundation since 2015



  23. The Patent Microcosm is Really Panicking as European Patents on Life and Other Spurious Junk (Invalid Patents) Are Successfully Rejected

    European Patents (EPs) may be revoked en masse if what we're seeing is the gradual emergence of 'European Mayo' (and maybe soon 'European Alice')



  24. Distractions From Microsoft's Gigantic Tax Evasion and Contribution to Denial of Climate Science

    Microsoft (connected to oil companies) wants us to think of it as a "green" company; not only does it contribute to climate denial but it also evades tax, which is a serious crime that costs tens of billions of dollars (the public pays this money instead)



  25. Confirmation: System1/Startpage Offered Pay to People Who Pushed for (Re)Listing in Privacy Directories

    The debate is now settled; those arguing in favour of listing Startpage as privacy-respecting are in fact secretly 'compensated' by Startpage (in other words, they're Startpage 'shills')



  26. Vandana Shiva: “Bill Gates is Continuing the Work of Monsanto”

    A recent interview on what Bill Gates is really up to in that sham ‘charity’ of his



  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 22, 2020



  28. Extending Linux With DRM, Azure and exFAT

    An insufficiently 'conservative' Linux ceases to be freedom-respecting



  29. Linux Foundation (LF) Now Dominated by Lots of Microsoft People and LF Chiefs Join Microsoft in Smearing GPL/Copyleft

    We continue to see additional evidence which serves towards reinforcing our view that the so-called 'Linux' Foundation is actually hostile towards many things that are associated with Linux (unlike those looking to exploit/hijack Linux for proprietary ends)



  30. Links 22/1/2020: Wayland 1.18 Alpha, ODF 1.3 Approved

    Links for the day


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts