03.23.09

Gemini version available ♊︎

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 in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

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.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all stlll the same



  2. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  3. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  4. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  5. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  6. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  7. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  9. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  11. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  12. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  13. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  14. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  15. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all



  16. Jack Dorsey's Decision is a Wake-up Call: Social Control Media is Just a Toxic Bubble

    The state of the World Wide Web (reliability, preservation, accessibility, compatibility etc.) was worsened a lot more than a decade ago; with social control media that’s nowadays just a pile of JavaScript programs we’re basically seeing the Web gradually turning into another Adobe Flash (but this time they tell us it’s a “standard”), exacerbating an already-oversized ‘bubble economy’ where companies operate at a loss while claiming to be worth hundreds of billions (USD) and generally serve imperialistic objectives by means of manipulation like surveillance, selective curation, and censorship



  17. IRC Proceedings: Monday, November 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, November 29, 2021



  18. Links 29/11/2021: NuTyX 21.10.5 and CrossOver 21.1.0

    Links for the day



  19. This Apt Has Super Dumbass Powers. Linus Sebastian and Pop_OS!

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  20. [Meme] Trying to Appease Provocateurs and Borderline Trolls

    GNU/Linux isn’t just a clone of Microsoft Windows and it oughtn’t be a clone of Microsoft Windows, either; some people set themselves up for failure, maybe by intention



  21. Centralised Git Hosting Has a Business Model Which is Hostile Towards Developers' Interests (in Microsoft's Case, It's an Attack on Reciprocal Licensing and Persistent Manipulation)

    Spying, censoring, and abusing projects/developers/users are among the perks Microsoft found in GitHub; the E.E.E.-styled takeover is being misused for perception manipulation and even racism, so projects really need to take control of their hosting (outsourcing is risky and very expensive in the long run)



  22. Links 29/11/2021: FWUPD's 'Best Known Configuration' and Glimpse at OpenZFS 3.0

    Links for the day



  23. President Biden Wants to Put Microsofter in Charge of the Patent Office, Soon to Penalise Patent Applicants Who Don't Use Microsoft's Proprietary Formats

    The tradition of GAFAM or GIAFAM inside the USPTO carries on (e.g. Kappos and Lee; Kappos lobbies for Microsoft and IBM, whereas Lee now works for Amazon/Bezos after a career at Google); it's hard to believe anymore that the USPTO exists to serve innovators rather than aggressive monopolists, shielding their territory by patent threats (lawsuits or worse aggression) and cross-licensing that's akin to a cartel



  24. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part VIII — Mr. Graveley's Long Career Serving Microsoft's Agenda (Before Hiring by Microsoft to Work on GitHub's GPL Violations Machine)

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley was promoting .NET (or Mono) since his young days; his current job at Microsoft is consistent with past harms to GNU/Linux, basically pushing undesirable (except to Microsoft) things to GNU/Linux users; Tomboy used to be the main reason for distro ISOs to include Mono



  25. Dr. Andy Farnell on Teaching Cybersecurity in an Age of 'Fake Security'

    By Dr. Andy Farnell



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, November 28, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, November 28, 2021



  27. Links 29/11/2021: Linux 5.16 RC3 and Lots of Patent Catch-up

    Links for the day



  28. By 2022 0% of 'News' Coverage About Patents Will Be Actual Journalism (Patent Litigation Sector Has Hijacked the World Wide Web to Disseminate Self-Promotional Misinformation)

    Finding news about the EPO is almost impossible because today’s so-called ‘news’ sites are in the pockets of Benoît Battistelli, António Campinos, and their cohorts who turned the EPO into a hub of litigation, not science; this is part of an international (worldwide) problem because financial resources for journalism have run out, and so the vacuum is filled/replaced almost entirely by Public Relations (PR) and marketing



  29. Trying to Appease Those Who Never Liked Free Software or Those Who Blindly Loved All Patent Monopolies to Begin With

    It’s crystal clear that trying to appease everyone, all the time, is impossible; in the case of the EPO, for example, we hope that exposing Team Battistelli/Campinos helps raise awareness of the harms of patent maximalism, and when speaking about Free software — whilst occasionally bashing the alternatives (proprietary) — we hope to convince more people to join the “Good Fight”



  30. Links 28/11/2021: Laravel 8.73 Released, GitHub Offline for Hours

    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