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March 16, 2007

Is Microsoft Finally Getting the Hint to Promote Live Search?

By Li Evans

Livesearchcredit1 A readerof John Battelle's blog sent him a hat tip, information about a new program that Microsoft is launching in order to promote is Live Search.  Microsoft is trying to leverage its massive base of enterprise customers' computers to boost the use of live search by "giving credits" for using Live Search.

From recommendations that include training employees to "Get the Most Out of Live Search" to removing all toolbars, it seems that Microsoft might finally be getting serious about their continuous slippage in the search market share. 

Livesearchcredit2 So how does the program work?  Well enterprise level companies can get anywhere from $2 to $10 a year for each PC, plus a $25k enrollment credit for participating in the program.  The credit isn't for actual money, it's for credit towards Microsoft products.  If you are a huge corporation of 1,000 computers or more that uses MS products exclusively, that can really add up to savings and a real temptation.

Of course it's not just Google, Yahoo and Ask being targeted here, Firefox is in their sight too.  The program stipulates that you must use IE 7 to attain the credits as well. 

CIO's who have a budget crunch could be very tempted to opt into this program, if they figure the savings on MS software & support alone for their corporations is large enough not to ignore.  They could look to Google & Yahoo and say "what have you done for me lately?"  Realizing, that they don't get a thing from using these search engines to help their budgets.

Of course, in typical Microsoft fashion, this could backfire in a huge way.  Essentially, this could be taken as a bribe.  Google and Yahoo could spin this as "Microsoft Live Search is so bad they have to bribe users to use it."  Microsoft has stumbled badly in the last couple of months, the launch of Vista wasn't exactly like the launch of the Wii, and they still continue to loose market share in the search space.  Will this program begin to put a halt to that slope they are sliding down? 

Freeacerlaptop_1 Every time I think Microsoft is waking up about promoting Live Search, I get burned.  Either their advertising sputters out and disappears, or they do something ridiculously stupid that even die-hard fans (there are some out there, I'm just not one) shake their heads.  I just get the feeling that yet again, Microsoft is taking the wrong approach, "bribing" customers makes them resent you even more because you are holding them captive.  Didn't Microsoft learn a thing with the Acer Ferrari/Blogger fiasco, or maybe it was just Edelman who learned the lesson there?

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