Posted May 5, 2006 1:45 pm by with 4 comments

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Microsot CEO Steve Ballmer told Allison Linn, of The Associated Press, Microsoft can challenge Google.

“We are hardcore about having the best search offering ourselves, with our partners,” Ballmer said. “We’ll just keep at it and at it and at it, and I have confidence in our ability to build a loyal user base.”

Here’s the thing. Take a look at Yahoo, MSN and Ask – heck even AOL – and you’ll see they all have really cool tools, great networks and relevant search results. The problem? They don’t have the “Google” name.

I’ve said for months that Google has such a strong brand that people simply associate a great search experience with It’s not the technology that will win the battle, it’s figuring out how to take the shine of Google’s brand.

  • Just a note on the brand equity issue. Was on a webcast this week on brand research with search engines. Using Google specifically, they found in a ‘blind’ evaluation (search results stripped of all “Google” identifying graphics, etc) and then an ‘unblinded’ one (Google logo displayed with the results) that the unblinded version resulted in about an 8% increase in customer satisfaction.

  • ray

    MSN? Ask? There is no comparison to G when it comes to relevant search results.

  • Yup, brand is important, but having best-of-breed here is first on the list. If we don’t get our engine noticeably better it won’t matter what else we do.

  • That’s true, but it will be a tough job to become “noticeably better” thank Google. If Google were to stand still, maybe, but you have to assume they’ll continue improving their core search too.

    Some people argue that Firefox is noticeably better than IE, and just as they start gain market share, Microsoft launches IE 7 – and with the MSFT brand and new functionality in IE 7, I see Firefox dropping back. I think the same pattern will happen in search, but with Google playing the role of MSFT.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a MSFT basher or a Google fanatic – just calling it how I see it. 🙂