I was wondering why the MSFT folks were so eager to get me in front of a PC this week (I will see a preview Weds and report back asap): MSFT will debut its search to the public this Thursday, well ahead of sked. Hmm, wonder if there was a fire under that team’s ass, stoked by Bill and Steve?
From the WSJ piece (the Journal is open this week, thankfully):
The Redmond, Wash. software maker on Thursday will open to the public its service for searching the Internet after eighteen months of development. The company is trying to tap into the lucrative business now dominated by Google of combining Internet search and advertising.
A Microsoft spokeswoman reached today declined to comment on the service. Microsoft, which has been testing the service on a limited basis since June, has said it will start the public version of the service by year-end. The company is also working on technology for searching for data on personal computers that will likely debut sometime later this year.
And of course Markoff has the details:
Microsoft will stress the size and completeness of its service, according to several people with knowledge of the announcement.
Currently Google, the largest search engine, indexes about 4 billion Web pages, 880 million images and 845 million Usenet messages. The service is used by almost 82 million people each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings.
Microsoft has been pursuing a Web portal strategy with its MSN service with little success. And, like Yahoo, Microsoft has been attempting to muscle in on Google’s strong revenue growth.
Google more than doubled its revenue and profit in its first quarter after its initial public offering, underscoring how rapidly the market for online advertising has been swelling.
“I think Microsoft is a couple of years from doing anything serious, but it’s a reminder that the big bad evil beast is out there,” said John Tinker, an analyst who covers Google for ThinkEquity Partners, a small investment bank in San Francisco.