Microsoft Sets Its Sights on Google

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Microsoft, according to some, is having success with its Laptop Hunter ad campaign. Personally, I think the ads are laughable at best and purposely misleading at worst. Regardless, it looks like we're going to see more of the same attack ads. The difference, however, is that Microsoft has moved its cross hairs from Apple to Google.

Google has about 65 percent of the search market share ... and rising. Yahoo shows about 20 percent. Microsoft ... well, do the math.

But as software moves from the desktop to the cloud, advertising - search and otherwise - is becoming a key component of the ecosystem. This hasn't been lost on Redmond.

Microsoft has earmarked $80 million to $100 million to launch its improved Live ... Kumo ...Bing search engine . Yep, Bing is the name that this iteration of the search engine will be using. Microsoft will be unveiling the new search engine at this week's AllThingsD conference.

But how will Microsoft's search engine differentiate itself from Google or even Yahoo?

According to Ad Age:

"People with knowledge of the planned push said the ads won't go after Google, or Yahoo for that matter, by name. Instead, they'll focus on planting the idea that today's search engines don't work as well as consumers previously thought by asking them whether search (aka Google) really solves their problems. That, Microsoft is hoping, will give consumers a reason to consider switching search engines, which, of course, is one of Bing's biggest challenges."

Microsoft, including this new search engine campaign, will be spending almost a million dollars a day on advertising. At the same time, they've been laying off thousands of workers who theoretically could be making their products better.

Contrast that to Google.

Google spent about $25 million on all its advertising last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence, with about $11.6 million of that focused on recruiting the best talent. They've also recently begun advertising their Chrome browser in multiple, sometimes nontraditional, media channels.

Will there be a real difference? According to Ad Age, there isn't much more to this whole Bing ... thing:

"People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them). "

Somehow, I think the Microsoft search engine, in whatever name it next appears, will be more marketing than substance.

This story, "Microsoft Sets Its Sights on Google" was originally published by Computerworld.

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