Microsoft and Yahoo! Boohoo for Google?

Not likely – or at least not yet anyway!

Today Microsoft and Yahoo! announced that they have (finally) completed a 10-year search deal which will help them be more competitive against the giant that is Google. However, they haven’t combined their advertising businesses.

Microsoft Yahoo Partnership

Microsoft Yahoo Partnership

Yahoo! currently has about 20 percent of the global search market, with Microsoft hanging behind with just under 10 percent which leaves Google with the lion’s share of the remaining 70 percent. Many have estimated that Google will begin to lose market share to Microsoft’s Bing as it gains popularity through its visual superiority over Google, however other have argued that if this becomes the case then Google will just match Bing’s template ideas. They have still yet to prove if they do what they do better than Google, all they have shown us so far is that they do it prettier.

The question that now needs answering is what will happen to the search as a result of this partnership? Well, according to Reuters, under the deal announced on Wednesday, Microsoft’s Bing search engine will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search technology for Yahoo’s sites, while Yahoo will be responsible for selling premium search ads for both companies.”

So how long has this engagement taken to come to its happy ending?

  • 01/02/2008 – Microsoft makes an offer out of the blue to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion or $31 a share, after two years of rumours of a merger
  • 03/02/2008 – Google lawyers announce the buyout will hurt Web innovation
  • 04/02/2008 – Yahoo’s Jerry Yang lets the employees know that selling to Microsoft is a possibility
  • 11/02/2008 – Yahoo! tells Microsoft ‘where to go’ saying their offer “substantially undervalues” Yahoo!
  • 19/02/2008Bill Gates announces that they’re not interested in raising the offer for the buyout. Yahoo! releases severance plan details that would take effect after the deal and make it more expensive for Microsoft
  • 05/03/2008 – Yahoo! announce and extend deadline for nominating candidates to its board, effectively buying time to come up with an alternative proposal. Rumours emerge that Yahoo are in talks with Google, MySpace and AOL
  • 18/03/2008 – Yahoo! release a very healthy revenue forecast for the following two years – basically telling Microsoft “you see, that’s why you’ve undervalued us!”
  • 05/04/2008Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer gets aggressive and gives Yahoo! a deadline of three weeks to accept the deal on the table or expect Microsoft to start hostile tactics and lower the offer price
  • 09/04/2008 – Yahoo! announces it’ll have a trial run of using Google’s ad platform in place of its own for a bit – Microsoft raise antitrust concerns
  • 26/04/2008 – Microsoft’s three week deadline expires
  • 01/05/2008 – Ballmer announces to its employees that he “won’t go a dime above” what he thinks Yahoo! is worth and is willing to walk away from the deal
  • 03/05/2008 – Microsoft increases its offer to $33 a share, Yang retorts by saying they want $37, Microsoft walks away
  • 15/05/2008 – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn says he’ll try to oust Yahoo’s board at its annual shareholder meeting if it doesn’t reopen talks with Microsoft and ditch plans to team up with Google.
  • 18/05/2008 – The pair get together to have a chat about a more limited deal, however after a month Yahoo announce the talks have stopped
  • 12/06/2008 – Google and Yahoo! officially announce a deal to run Google’s ads alongside Yahoo’s search results and some of its partner sites
  • 21/07/2008 – Icahn takes back his threat in exchange for three seats on Yahoo! board
  • 09/09/2009 – The U.S. Justice Department hires an antitrust litigator to review the pending Yahoo-Google search-advertising partnership.
  • 05/11/2008 – Google gets worried and cancels the partnership to avoid a Justice Department lawsuit. Yang can still see a Microsoft acquisition in the future
  • 17/11/2008 – Yang steps down as CEO for Yahoo!
  • 19/11/2008 – Ballmer washes his hands of the talks and says Microsoft is “done with all acquisition discussions with Yahoo!”
  • 05/12/2008 – Microsoft hires ex Yahoo! search executive Qi Li to lead its own online division
  • 13/01/2009 – Yahoo! hires Carol Bartz to replace Yang
  • 10/04/2009 – New reports emerge that Bartz and Ballmer have met about possible deals, including one in which Microsoft would sell advertising on Yahoo’s search pages and Yahoo would manage Microsoft’s display ads.
  • 03/06/2009 – Microsoft dumps Live Search and replaces it with Bing
  • 29/07/2009 – Microsoft, Yahoo! partnership announced

Now we wonder, is this going to be a marriage made in heaven – or can we expect to see the divorce papers come through shortly?

Microsoft Bing – search with a sting or just bling?

So Microsoft are trying to change the world again with their new search platform Bing. Apparently it isn’t a search engine anymore it is a ‘decision engine’ so is this offering anything new or are they just trying to reinvent the wheel.

Over the years search is not something that Microsoft have done well and I wonder who is more worried – Microsoft on hearing the news that Google will soon be releasing an operating system Chrome OS or Google when they saw Bing.

bing crosbyAt first sight bing has a nice clean interface and I’m sure the use of images will have people setting it to their homepage to see what image they are displaying today, but what is under the hood. Ultimately the success of a search engine is down to the search algorithm and the results it produces which is why Google has such a huge market share (81.22%). Where others put monetisation above results, Google put results above monetisation and stole the market. More recently google have become more and more of a corporate machine and I would suggest that the quality of the search results have suffered leaving the way for other companies to reclaim some of the market share.

I have only just started to use bling and only when I remember to use it, but most of the time I will still type my search into the google toolbar I have installed. Google will be a hard habit to break but the proof is in the eating as they say so why not use this comparison site for a bit, which brings up the results side by side and decide for yourself.

One thing you can be sure of is that anything that keeps Google ‘on their toes’ can only be good for the end user and Microsoft with their huge advertising budget will do that. Microsoft have extensive knowledge in usability and Google have extensive knowledge in search algorithms but the difference between these two is that the first is transparent and the second a closely guarded secret, so whilst microsoft continue to try and make Bing peoples default search engine by its interface and good usability Google will continue to improve their algorithm and then as Microsoft launch new functionality Google will just pick the bits they want and apply them to their search engine.

We also have to ask the question – why Bing? A quick look at the dictionary reveals:

Bing – a heap or pile
Bling – flashy; ostentatious; glitzy

So you decide is Bing just a bing of s***e or just a bit of bling or is it something that can truely challenge Google.

One more dictionary definition for you comes from the urban dictionary.

Enough said I think.

Free Website Training Courses in Lincolnshire Anyone?

Looking to improve your knowledge of SEO or Google Analytics?

Recently we’ve been mulling over the most effective ways to help local businesses promote themselves online and realised we’ve missed one vital area – training courses.

We felt that with finances so tight for businesses at present, paying a digital agency such as ourselves an ongoing fee to manage their websites and/or online marketing may stretch budgets too far. Instead, a one-off charge is far more manageable and invests valuable knowledge in either the business owner or a member of staff who may act as Webmaster.

Lovely Stats - But What Do They Really Mean?

Lovely Stats - But What Do They Really Mean?

Over the coming weeks we’ll be talking to website owners to distill their training “wants and needs” into a focused training course.

Our hope is to pass on our combined knowledge of:
•    Website Analytics
•    Search Engine Optimisation
•    Pay Per Click
•    Google AdWords

This will be via either one-day training courses based in Fulbeck, Lincolnshire with gourmet lunch provided or alternatively, at the clients business premises (where the client takes us out for lunch of course! ;O)

The latter would be the more expensive option as it would effectively be one-to-one consultation, with the Fulbeck course aimed at small groups of about 6 people, helping to reduce the cost per person.

One area we feel is vital for any web training course to be successful is the support after the course ends. So all our training courses will come with a minimum of seven days email and phone support, ensuring any problems or questions that arise  after the course can easily be resolved with the trainer.

We’d really love to hear any feedback or suggestions you might have about the correct course content, how long the courses should run and preferred locations?

Which topic would be most useful to cover? (Select Two Topics)

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How long should the course last?

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If all goes well, we’ll put on the first web training course completely FREE so even if you are only vaguely interested, drop us an email and we’ll put your name in a hat (or similar storage device?) to see who gets to come!