04.12.10

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Microsoft is Losing to Google in Search and in Mobile (Linux)

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Kernel, Microsoft, Security at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every time you use Google, you’re using a machine running the Linux kernel.”

Chris DiBona, Google

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Summary: Turf wars involving some of the most disruptive trends in technology (beyond the desktop) indicate that Microsoft will continue to lose billions while GNU/Linux increases in relevance

MICROSOFT continues to struggle against Linux, especially in areas such as mobile. Microsoft boosters like Paul Thurrott are spinning data from a Microsoft partner [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] which also says that Google loses market share* despite the fact that data from companies that are not Microsoft partners may suggest otherwise. “Microsoft Name No Match For Google Name in Search War,” says this one news report.

A Microsoft proponent, Todd Bishop, has asked: “Is Microsoft Bing losing steam?” He links to a survey from a firm which is not a Microsoft partner (these companies are sometimes offering/selling bias as it is their business model).

That said it’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Bing search engine experienced a decrease in market share in the U.S. for the first time in four months in March, according to new data from Experian Hitwise.

As an important reminder, Microsoft is losing over $2 billion per year in this area, where it is almost literally buying market share rather than genuinely gaining any (Verizon for example [1, 2]). According to this report, Microsoft is still paying people to use its search, which is not a sustainable strategy.

I can understand the excitement when you look at how major retailers and brands are collectively spending billions on their Facebook and Twitter sites. Recently the granddaddy of them all, Microsoft, created 425,000 fans to its Bing page – wait for it – in one day. How did they do it? Easy, they paid for it.

They offered “virtual” currency for the wildly popular FarmVille website. I know, Farmville? Turns out there are 82 million (really) players to tend crops and raise livestock on a virtual farm.

According to this, Apple excludes Microsoft as a search option, but it does include Yahoo! (Yahoo! leads to Microsoft after radical intervention).

Bing is still nowhere to be seen in the iPhone’s Safari app, or anywhere else in the preview version of the OS. Besides Google, which remains the default search engine, the only other option remains Yahoo.

The integration between search and mobile phones has become increasingly important as iPhone OS and Android both move upwards to tablets and sub-notebooks. Since Microsoft is hardly relevant in mobile phones and its renaming attempts are pointless, this will be a serious problem in months/years to come. Microsoft loses a lot of money in this area and its investment in new phones seems to be in vain. As the New York Times points out, Microsoft is betraying its own mobile partners, perhaps out of despair (act of desperation).

Come Monday, Microsoft will need to apply some of its most sophisticated public relations and marketing maneuvers.

[...]

So, is Microsoft still the neutral software maker just helping phone companies make their products or a direct rival in the phone business? I’ll be curious to see how the company spins its answer to that question on Monday.

Microsoft is indeed planning a blitz for later today, just days after messing up quite badly with Windows Mobile. This serious failure is also explained here:

Microsoft has apologised to Windows Mobile 6.5 users this week after it killed a beta of Office Mobile 2010 some had been running on their devices.

Investors.com has published the article “Losing Ground In Mobile Market, Microsoft Aims Both High And Low”

Joe Wilcox from Microsoft Watch (when the site was alive) responds to Michael Gartenberg, who is spinning for Microsoft and pretending that Windows Mobile still has a chance. Windows Mobile is being abandoned by developers [1, 2], so it takes great courage (or ignorance or a paycheck) to suggest an imminent reversal. For those who do not know, Gartenberg is a Microsoft AstroTurfer. We wrote about him in posts such as:

In short, Wilcox tells Gartenberg that “mobile multitasking is a necessity” (Apple and Microsoft don't have that and the same goes for cut and paste in Windows).

Context is key, particularly for Millennials accustomed to doing many things — blogging, gaming, homework, listening to music, social networking and watching videos — at once on PCs. Even more than the PC, the smartphone is highly contextual, with usage changing depending on circumstance and often demanding multiple functions or applications to be available nearly simultaneously. Gartenberg’s turn-by-turn example is a good one, if, say, the user is walking to a destination, streaming from Pandora, searching Google for the nearest coffee shop, using location services to see if any friends are nearby, but suddenly stopping to snap a photo of a llama in the street and then uploading it to Facebook and Twitter. Multitasking mobile operating systems make easier these kinds of rapidly changing contextual scenarios.

Apple and Microsoft might insist that multitasking would “confuse” users, but it’s a lot more likely that since Linux phones already enjoy reuse of a kernel, multitasking is a trivial feature to incorporate ‘out of the box’.
___
* It also happens to show that the biggest winner is Linux [1, 2, 3, 4].

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