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

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. Minimalism for Maximisation of Productivity and Clutter Mitigation

    Unfortunately, GNU/Linux (especially the latter, Linux) embraces bloat and anti-features in pursuit of sales (appeasing large corporations, not users’ needs), reducing the modularity, reliability and productivity of computer systems in the name of helping “dumb” users (they keep telling us people are very dumb and those who disagree are “elitist” and “extremist” or even “neckbeards” — in effect insulting every person out there)



  2. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 21, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, September 21, 2020



  3. Post-Coronavirus Linux.com Became Nothing But a SPAM Site

    As per the Linux Foundation‘s very own brochure, scripted and fake ‘interviews’ are to be produced and then edited/negotiated (before publication) with the sponsor… in Linux.com as the platform. This is corruption (or marketing, one might call them de facto ads presented as fake ‘articles’).



  4. Erosion of Free Speech and Tolerance of Opposing Viewpoints in Free Software Communities

    The concept of free speech is being reinvented by oversensitive people who nowadays expand the list of exclusions/exemptions (from scope of 'permissible' speech) to politics and criticism of large and highly abusive corporations



  5. Links 21/9/2020: PlasmaShell With Vulkan, Plasma Beta Review Day, OpenMediaVault 5.5.11

    Links for the day



  6. Guest Post: The Worrying State of Political Judgement in Free Software Communities

    A look at what Mozilla has become and what that teaches us about the Web and about software



  7. Links 21/9/2020: KTechLab 0.50.0, Linux 5.9 RC6

    Links for the day



  8. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 20, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 20, 2020



  9. Git is Free Software, GitHub is Proprietary Trap

    More and more people all around the world understand that putting their fruit of labour in Microsoft's proprietary (but 'free') prison is misguided; the only vault they have is for human beings, not code



  10. Daniel Pocock on Codes of Conduct and Their Potential Dangers in Practice

    In Debian we’ve already witnessed several examples where Codes of Conduct, if put in the wrong hands (in the Linux Foundation it’s corporate hands), can achieve the very opposite of their intended goal and its a true shame as well as a travesty for legitimate victims of real abuse



  11. Links 20/9/2020: Flameshot Screenshot Tool 0.8, Okular Improvements and More

    Links for the day



  12. Reminder: Vice Chair of the Linux Foundation's Board is an Oracle Executive Who Used to Work for Microsoft

    The Linux Foundation issued statements to the effect of opposing Donald Trump, but its current leadership (people from companies like Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) is a strong proponent of doing as much business as possible with Trump (even in violation of international law)



  13. [Meme] How to Hijack Linux and Free Software to Make Them Proprietary and Microsoft-Controlled

    Intel keeps outsourcing almost everything (that's not proprietary with back doors, e.g. ME) to Microsoft's proprietary software prison, known as GitHub; to make matters worse, Intel now uses the Microsoft-hosted Rust to develop in Microsoft servers, along with Microsoft, code that promotes Microsoft proprietary software (e.g. Hyper-V) and non-standard 'extensions'.



  14. DDOS Attacks Against Us Lately

    (Distributed) Denial-of-service attacks or DDOS attacks have slowed down the site, but we treat that as evidence of suppression and fear (of what's to come and what was recently published), or accuracy (in reporting) rather than inaccuracy



  15. [Meme] Windows as Dead Man Walking (Patches Accelerate the Death)

    Microsoft is squeezing whatever life is left in its “burning platform” (which is already exceeded in terms of market share by Android) that has a "burning" (bricked) WSL with barely any users and plenty of critical problems



  16. We Let Them Get Away With Murder, But They Make up for It by Banning Words

    The Microsoft propaganda machines (notably ZDNet this weekend) are busy portraying Microsoft as a “good company” for censoring words, never mind the actual, meaningful, substantial actions of Microsoft, which is boosting authoritarian people who imprison even babies (for the ‘crime’ of being on the ‘wrong’ side of the border)



  17. High-Profile and Invalid (Invalidated) European Patents Harm the Presumption of Validity of European Patents

    The EPO's 'printing machine' (over-producing patent monopolies) is harming the legal certainty associated with such patents, helping nobody but deep-pocketed monopolists and law firms



  18. Epitaph for (Death of) Patent-Centric Media: Litigation Giant Bird &amp; Bird Nowadays Doing Ads as 'Podcasts' in Think Tank Site 'Managing IP'

    Publishers don't hesitate and openly revel in taking bribes as if it's a badge of honour or importance, allowing themselves to be profoundly corrupted in pursuit of quick cash; we discuss what's happening in sites that pretend to cover patent news (but actually drive agenda of litigation giants, to the detriment of actual innovators)



  19. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 19, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 19, 2020



  20. Links 20/9/2020: 4MLinux 34.0 Released, September Release and EndeavourOS for ARM

    Links for the day



  21. Video: Free Communication With Free Software - Daniel Pocock - FOSSASIA Summit 2016

    The 2016 FOSSASIA talk from Daniel Pocock (Debian) about Free software alternatives to Google, Microsoft Skype and so on (Microsoft started paying Debian in 2016)



  22. [Meme] Microsoft Downtime... Now in 'Linux' (Wait a Month for Microsoft to Restore Uptime)

    Microsoft’s utter failure that is "WSL2" is bringing the failures Windows is so notorious for (loss of work, lack of security, fatal patches) to so-called ‘Linux’; the timeframe for a fix says a lot about just how much Microsoft “loves” Linux…



  23. Coming Soon: Microsoft Leaks (Which Microsoft Pressured Medium to Suppress and Promptly Unpublish)

    Microsoft is no ordinary company; exposing it is like dealing with the Mafia or some drug cartel in Mexico, but we're able to publish truths about Microsoft nonetheless (their notorious intimidation and silencing attempts have always failed against us)



  24. Dishonest Corporations -- Like Smug Politicians -- Pretend to be Something They're Not

    Corporate lies dominate the media, having been crafted by unethical marketing departments with their photo ops and hashtags



  25. GNU is Also a Brand, But It Boils Down to Philosophy and Principles, Not Greed or Corporate Identity

    Why the goal of GNU should be freedom rather than so-called 'world domination' (the objective of large firms with shareholders)



  26. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 18, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, September 18, 2020



  27. Links 19/9/2020: Taiwins 0.2 and a Call for Ubuntu Community Council Nominations

    Links for the day



  28. One Year Later Richard Stallman Needs to be Un-cancelled and Attention Turned to the Real Perpetrator of MIT Scandals

    The sheer hypocrisy, treating Stallman as the real nuisance to MIT when it was in fact Bill Gates who trafficked money through convicted sex criminals (to MIT); justice needs to be belatedly restored



  29. ZDNet's 'Linux' Section Isn't About Linux But About Microsoft

    ZDNet's so-called 'Linux' section isn't really about GNU/Linux; it's just the site's usual Microsoft propaganda, bought and paid for by Microsoft



  30. Debian's Network of Gossip and Gossipmongering in Debian-Private

    Reprinted with permission from Debian Community News


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