Surprise, surprise: already this week, we’ve seen Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz dinging new rival Bing in an interview with Fox Business Network. But apparently they’re not through. In an interview with the same network, Google CEO Eric Schmidt offers his own completely unbiased criticism of the minor upstart of a rival:
It’s not the first entry for Microsoft. They do this about once a year. From Bing’s perspective, they’ve got a bunch of new ideas and there are some things that are missing. We think search is about comprehensiveness, freshness, scale and size of what we do. It’s difficult for them to copy that.
Refreshingly, Schmidt admits “We still don’t really know what you mean” when we enter search terms. Throughout the interview, Schmidt reinforces Google’s commitment to innovation (comprehensiveness, speed, depth, etc.), implying that Microsoft’s marketing push for Bing might detract from the time the company has to focus on improving its core technology.
And Schmidt’s not the only one getting in on the Bing Bashing—paidContent points out another Yahoo executive today disparaging Bing:
And following Bartz’s lead—as well as that of Google CEO Eric Schmidt—[Yahoo search VP Larry] Cornett also took a few jabs at Bing. While complimenting Bing for being “fast” and “integrated,” he said that it would be difficult to get people to try out another search service if it was not “radically different.” “I don’t think they’ve achieved that yet,” he said. Cornett said Yahoo had a leg up in introducing its own changes since people are already coming to Yahoo.com to visit its other sites.
While Cornett emphasized Yahoo’s portal/destination status like CEO Carol Bartz did to FBN, Cornett was careful to reiterate his company’s commitment to search, after Bartz’s comments Monday had some search gurus doubting:
But . . . Cornett insisted Wednesday that search was still central to the company, adding the evidence that the new home page the company is expected to launch later this year will feature search more prominently. The list of “top searches,” for example, which currently lies at the bottom of the home page will be moved to the top right. “There is much more of an emphasis on search and discovering what people are searching for. I can’t share any stats yet but I think it’s a very solid improvement,” Cornett said at the RBC Capital Markets Technology, Media & Communications Conference. . . .
“I obviously can’t share too many details but search is a critical business for Yahoo. . . . If you look at reductions it has been to reinvest in the things that make the [most] sense for Yahoo.”
Good to know, Yahoo—before you get written off as a search engine forever for a few easily-misinterpreted statements.
What do you think? Are Yahoo and Google really superior, or are they just trying to sound that way to downplay the potential success of a new rival? And does it matter in the end—can Bing get off the ground despite their criticism?