Monday, May 01, 2006


google and miscrosoft: tussle over new IE browser

It is funny to me that when I read this article I looked up into the upper right hand corner of my browesr and said to myself "What are tey talking about" that search box is there already. Then I realized that I stopped using IE a long time ago and converted to Firefox.

In Firefox, the search box in question allows the user to easily choose a search provider. I quess the microsoft one (in typical microsoft fashion) makes it a little more difficult to change.

I am not sure how I feel about Goggle's complaint. On one hand I think that it wouldn't matter so much if Microsoft didn't control the OS (and by default most of the browsers). But on the other hand I ask why would it matter? Google is trying to play the same game by paying Dell to put a Google bar on every Dell pc.

They both know that the easier it is to use something (and the easier it is to get to it), they more likley it is that someone will use it. Since Google's website really has little value beyond search (playing devil's advocate here) they must realize that a web user will not find it a destination site and if they can skip going there, they will. Hence the battle over search bars in the browser. Microsoft owns the property and would like to landscape it they way they want. Google wants them to give them a little bit so the user can have some choice.

It is an interesting battle. If Firefox could take over the market we wouldn't need to worry about it anymore. Maybe there is the secret, beat Microsoft at the product game. Make a better product and work out deals with the pc makers to have it installed by default. Fight Microsoft on their own turf rather than complaining when they lock you out (And I realize that I just inferred that Firefox and Google are the same, which isn't true but maybe it should be).

This is a battle that straddles two layers. MSFT controls the browser and also has a search engine at the later above that competes against Google. Google feels that it could be substituted by th etight connection across layers. But, customers can easily switch the search engine but they are worried about customer inertia and inaction. another good example of multi-layered competition in the network era.
It is a case of one layer relying on another. Maybe that is why Google needs the desktop search bar on the Dell machines. But even so, that might only work for the first search. Once the cosumer gets into the browser, the inaction principle might prevent them from using anything but Miscrosofts built in MAN search. I still think Google has a vested interest in improving the functionality of Firefox. If they can weaken Microsofts's hold on the browser market then the power might shift.
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