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Microsoft The Almighty Buck News

Bing Loses More Money As Microsoft Chases Google 317

angry tapir writes "Microsoft posted strong results for the third quarter of its 2010 fiscal year, largely thanks to sales of Windows 7. But the company continues to suffer heavy losses in its Online Services Division [warning: obnoxious interstitial] as it tries to match Google in the online search and advertising market. ... The division's quarterly loss grew by 73 percent to $713 million, compared to a loss of $411 million during the same period last year."
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Bing Loses More Money As Microsoft Chases Google

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  • by haus ( 129916 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:46PM (#31993302) Homepage Journal

    ... but we make it up in volume!

    • How much of those losses involved the large volume of advertising they've put into Bing?

  • by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:49PM (#31993330)
    Competing on the world stage isn't cheap. I do find it surprising that MS lost $713 on its "Online Services Division", but keep in mind not all of that is search/anti-Google. They are rolling out their "Office LIve" stuff as well as pushing their version of the "cloud".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by socceroos ( 1374367 )
      True. I know of people who actually enjoy using Microsoft's online services. They're not the crappiest out there any more.

      I could see Microsoft carving themselves a slice of the online market - perhaps not large enough to make an impact though. Having Google spread its self over so many fronts helps their cause.
      • by linumax ( 910946 )
        I use Skydrive []. It's 25 GB of free space, simple UI and pretty fast upload/download speeds.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The problem with claims about the quality of M$'s online stuff, is the double speak inherent in those losses. Most of those losses are driven by advertising costs, M$ paying other online and old world media companies to advertise the quality of M$'s advertising but if M$'s advertsing is so good why are they spending all that money advertising else where.

        The reality is that the aggressive M$, dog eat dog, prove your profit basis, employment conditions, marketing, where accountants and lawyers take total p

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

          Anybody that challenges the Steve Ballmer ideology is driven from the company.

          No shit, he said, forgetting to post anonymously.

      • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @01:14AM (#31995088)

        I know of people who actually enjoy using Microsoft's online services.

        Some people enjoy Colonoscopies [] too.
        I'm just sayin'...

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:02PM (#31993460) Homepage
      Isn't Office Live a response to Google Docs?
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:08PM (#31993502) Journal
      Unfortunately for them, Microsoft's "Online Services Division" has a deeper fundamental problem than merely losing money.

      That is, much of the money that they do manage to make, they make by cannibalizing MS server products sales. Now, I'm sure that they'd rather cannibalize their own server product sales than have Google/Amazon/assorted 3rd party penguin swarm datacenters eat them, cannibalism beats starvation after all; but that is still sort of a depressing mandate.

      Their only "greenfield", so to speak, revenue opportunities are search(at which they are fairly tepid) or in providing "the-first-hit-is-really-cheap, also granular" access to various MS services(Exchange, Sharepoint, MS SQL, etc.) to tiny outfits that can't afford to do them in house(and, given SKUs like Small Business Server, we are talking pretty small outfits).
      • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:04PM (#31993990)
        MS may have bigger problems than just the online services division. For example, statcounter is currently showing four straight weeks [] of flat usage share for windows 7 in north america. If this is really a trend or if statcounter is flubbing their surveys remains to be seen. But if it's true, it means that win7 doesn't even seem to be able to cannibalize old OSes very well. I would say it's depressing for MS, but they're raking in bajillions of dollars every quarter still, which is more than me.
        • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:10PM (#31994034) Homepage Journal

          Windows development was completed with XP. Since then Microsoft have been looking for reasons for people to upgrade. Before XP the next release was always better than the last.

          • thats about quite right. people dont need to upgrade anymore.
            • by Gerald ( 9696 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:20PM (#31994102) Homepage

              ...until Office drops support for XP, that is.

              • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

                Most small offices I know of are still using office 97-2000. MS would have to cut legacy support for office 97-2000 from their own products to really cripple small offices.

                • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @12:36AM (#31994818) Homepage

                  Eh? Since when has Microsoft supported their products in more of a token manner?

                  What will ultimately kill XP, and the older applications which run on it, is new hardware (or rather, old hardware that dies necessitating its replacement).

                  But honestly, MS doesn't want to outright kill these products. They'd rather have people using them than something non-MS. They want them around filling a segment of the market - and they're not going to die for decades, anyway - for one reason or another. What Microsoft is really concerned about is corporations and large companies upgrading to the latest, greatest: those companies and licensing is Microsoft's bread and butter.

    • by meinhut ( 533063 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:13PM (#31993546)
      This is the easiest question around. We all know search engines save info on us when we use them. Who do you trust? Micro$oft or Google. Every time I ask this question everybody says "Google." Bing will never get past this question.
      • Neither
      • by AnotherUsername ( 966110 ) * on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:29PM (#31994170)
        If you were to ask me, I would say Microsoft(no $ in there, by the way). I do not trust Google at all. It is not that I trust Microsoft so much as I do not trust Google at all. The fact that Google is just an advertising company that does search compared to Microsoft actually having products to support itself is a major factor in my decision.
        • by DI4BL0S ( 1399393 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @04:09AM (#31996152)
          Your signature elaborates your decision...
          Google has shown in the past that they care allot about protecting they customer information
          While Microsoft has shown in the past that all they care about is making things theirs
          where a failed attempt to make the internet Microsoft compliant rather then open to all things OS by sticking to their own standards instead of W3C.

          No thanks, I'd choose Google any time over MS
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

        What, seriously?

        Think about it. Who would have more to gain by selling your information? Google, because they don't have an actual sellable product other than advertising, and selling personal information ties in really nicely there.

        Of the two, who would have the most to lose from such a scheme? Microsoft, by leaps and bounds. People - the common man, even - hasn't trusted Microsoft since the 1990s. Microsoft (a large corporation as opposed to a startup, in most minds) selling personal data is sleazy and im

    • This is exactly right. This simply reflects an increase in investment in OSD, an investment executives assume will pay off down the road. And even looking at Bing over the last year, they've made some pretty major improvements.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MBGMorden ( 803437 )

      Which is pretty much directly in competition with Google. Google has had their Docs platform out for years, and personally, despite thinking at first that it was neat, but useless, I've basically converted to Google Docs for all my personal use (naturally it's still "real" MS Office at work).

      Very little of what I do in such documents is private/sensitive information - heck often it's stuff I'd like to share. It's also often stuff that I want a backup of. Google Docs provides me with access to those docume

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wvmarle ( 1070040 )

      What surprises me most is this.

      Time and again MS is trying to enter a market, only to sustain huge losses in the beginning. Now Bing, before the Zune (ended in failure), the Xbox (lost a lot of money, still alive though, can't imagine it has made them any money overall even if it would be profitable by now), and before I'm sure they lost heaps of money entering the office suite market with OpenOffice, the webmail market with Hotmail, and so on. Only their OS business has made a constant profit it seems. An

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        One large problem is the bright folks at Microsoft can't innovate on anything that could possibly lead to a loss of revenue of Windows products. That is, anything out on the interweb that doesn't run on Windows. From this standpoint they are hamstrung a bit competing with others that have a complete clean slate to start with. Do you think anything that reduced sales of Office or Windows would make it past the product managers? Unlikely. Windows and Office are just too profitable at the moment to risk doing
        • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @02:03AM (#31995412)

          One large problem is the bright folks at Microsoft can't innovate on anything that could possibly lead to a loss of revenue of Windows products.

          Of course. That is an issue. Though it seems they do invest a lot now in on-line services, including real improvements to IE's standards compliance.

          On the user interface field they are being taken over on all sides by Apple and even Linux. There is so much innovation done there - MS doesn't have a proper touch interface to compete with the iPhone/iPad OS, for example. Of course MS has their legacy - there is no reason not to keep the old interface and allow the option of a new experimental one. Maybe even a few experimental interfaces. Let the power users find them and try them out - and listen to what the market thinks about it.

          I strongly believe that it is not the underlying hardware that counts any more (yesteryear's is more than good enough for 99% of us - save hardcore gamers and hardcore CAD developers and so). It is not much the OS that counts any more (it just has to work, stable and secure - who cares what's under the hood), it is just the user interface. And there is no reason why MS can not do anything good there.

          Computing is moving on-line: the browser is getting important. MS seems to understand this.

          Computing is also moving more towards hand held devices. Like the iPad. MS is missing out on this.

          Desktop computing as we had it will remain - the basic office work and gaming and web browsing on the "big" screen. MS is strong there now, but with the experiments going on in their competitor's products it is only a matter of time before someone finds the holy grail of desktop user interfaces and the competition really takes off. The Windows technical lock-in (mainly MS Word) is slowly dissolving already.

      • by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 @01:55AM (#31995346) Journal

        Ugh. Uninformed post rated highly by fanbois...

        Time and again MS is trying to enter a market, only to sustain huge losses in the beginning

        Yeah, I'm with you. MS Word was a big loser at first against Word Perfect...

        ow Bing, before the Zune (ended in failure), the Xbox (lost a lot of money, still alive though, can't imagine it has made them any money overall even if it would be profitable by now), and before I'm sure they lost heaps of money entering the office suite market with OpenOffice, the webmail market with Hotmail, and so on. Only their OS business has made a constant profit it seems. And Office is doing well as well. But that's it.

        WTF? Microsoft's model has *always* been:

        1) Be the platform everybody else uses.
        2) Watch new companies prove business models,
        3) Spend the money made in #1 like water to build in the (now proven) business model,
        4) Advertise like crazy.
        5) Profit!

        On the other hand I have never heard about serious losses on Apple's side around the introduction of the iPod. Sure they lost money on some products, but not this kind of numbers.

        I guess you never heard of the 1990s?

        Sun has likely lost money on development of StarOffice, now, but their product is steadily making inroads and I don't think they are still pumping much money in it. If only because they're not such a rich company any more.

        Didn't you hear that there is no "Sun" anymore. It's now called "Oracle"... how's life under that rock?

        Netscape burnt and died, and from its ashes Firefox has risen. Making heaps of money, going strong, doing well.

        Mozilla (the "for-profit" arm of the Mozilla foundation) made about 72 million. [] While not bad, it's hardly "heaps of money" for a product used by too many millions to count. For a comparison, Mozilla's annual profits are roughly equivalent to what Microsoft profits in a single day. I'm not saying this to knock Mozilla particularly, since I type this in Firefox 3.6. But this "heaps of money" thing is just.... you know.

        "Competing on the world stage" may not be cheap, but I think it may help if Microsoft starts to develop their own products and their own ideas, instead of an "iPod killer", a "Google competitor", etc. That seems to me a failure from the start.

        When has Microsoft done any different? See their business model above. MS's big deal with IBM was a resell of a hackish copy of a the dominant operating system - CPM.

        ...MS is not exactly a company that is innovative these days.

        ... or at any other point in its highly profitable history.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by poetmatt ( 793785 )

      It's not about competing. They're trying to buy marketshare. If they spent $713M into making a good product (and they know how to do it) by being honest for once, they'd be in the black.

    • Not to mention, Microsoft's online services probably serve as a pretty good dogfood, if not marketing, program for their servers and tools business, which does make money. I don't think as many people out there would have Silverlight or other MS technologies installed on their machines if it was not for MS's own services pushing them.
  • Because... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cosm ( 1072588 ) <> on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:51PM (#31993344)
    the Bing results page feel like one of those typosquatter's "featured" results.
    • Re:Because... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:18PM (#31993610)

      I often thought that Yahoo and Microsoft just violated the KISS rule. comes from the "web portal" days of AOL and seems determined to die with it., to their credit, seems to have learned the lesson finally that people like Google's minimalism and just slaps a background image on it to differentiate their service somehow, but I don't like their results that much and what they do well isn't that different from what Google delivers. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

      Unless Bing starts behaving like Apple and delivering what I don't even know I want yet, I don't see it heading much anywhere.

    • by mgblst ( 80109 )

      Ha, this is great, I never noticed this before, but it is so true. You have a header, usually a grahpic that stands out from the rest of the page, and a page of results.

  • by DumbparameciuM ( 772788 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @09:52PM (#31993356)
    Which is....ummmm.......

    Can I get back to you?
  • Luckily... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:00PM (#31993426) Journal
    Bing is a decision engine, so they should be able to decide when to pull the plug...
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jhoegl ( 638955 )
      Yup, same company that thinks that you still need a window when you don't have a wall.
      Their marketing people are BRILLIANT!
  • by MacAndrew ( 463832 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:01PM (#31993456) Homepage

    I think it's important to consider the unbelievable forces involved -- nearly limitless funds on both sides. How many companies would like to take in the amount Microsoft casually loses? How much did they lose on Xbox in the beginning? When the rich guys go at it and it feels good that the rest of us pick a winner, what about the other companies that should have been contenders but couldn't buy admission? What Microsoft decides it wants, it tends to get. One of the government attorneys involved in the antitrust suit commented that they had legal resources that rivaled the Department of Justice.

    The Google/Facebook conflict is another one to watch. I don't think Google has abandoned Buzz by any means, and Facebook is really pissing off a lot of people these days.

    In all cases, don't linger on the losses they're having. They can afford it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but they are losing money in a bad place.

      I actually worked for MSFT from 2004 to 2007. One of the reasons I accepted employment with them was because it was in their online services division: I saw the days of proprietary software as numbered, and believed the only way MSFT could survive in the long-term was to become a service provider and derive advertising revenue from the brokering of information and monetizing of relationships: basically beat Google and Facebook at their own game because of their

      • I don't think they'll succeed, either; but I also underestimated them in the Xbox thing. Maybe even Zune will succeed someday.

        What I guess I was hinting at is my desire for SOMEONE ELSE to enter the fray. Of these characters I like Google the best, but I don't trust them either. Facebook I think it going to do themselves in, they're getting too hard to use. The "privacy settings" thing is ridiculous. But I also think they have a few years left before power changes hands.

        I know Google is approaching FB

    • by EdIII ( 1114411 )

      How many companies would like to take in the amount Microsoft casually loses? How much did they lose on Xbox in the beginning?

      Interesting you bring that up. There is not a single quality console out there because those unbelievable forces can afford to lose so much money in the process, and it provides a huge barrier to entry in that market.

      It's also worth keeping in mind that Microsoft lost so much money on the XBOX360 in warranty repairs that could have been prevented by a minimum of QA it could have fu

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      In fact, you could argue Microsoft can't, long-term afford NOT to pump massive amounts of money into it's online services because if (and this may or may not be probable but I think anyone will admit it's possible), internet services usurp the vast majority of computing tasks from the desktop computing model, then Windows, Microsoft's core product, become much less relevant than it is today. If Microsoft makes headway in the cloud, at worst they have something to fall back on if the Desktop OS market tanks
    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      One of the government attorneys involved in the antitrust suit commented that they had legal resources that rivaled the Department of Justice.

      Which I find rather strange. The judge (or an expert) should clearly have seen that the video was doctored -- lying in a courtroom is a jailable offense! Why did nothing happen?

      Of course, using that reasoning I still don't understand why nobody is in jail over the Sony rootkit; if one of us had done it, the outcome would be clear (PMITA).

      • Most judges and many attorneys aren't very technically sophisticated. I don't know what happened but my impression was that the whole thing was mishandled - and then Bush was "elected" so it all went away.

        As for lying in court, that happens every day. They all had their eyes on the prize, not the sanctity of the process.

    • How much did they lose on Xbox in the beginning?

      Are they making money on the XBox now? I thought that had been pushed off by all the defective units.

    • It's important to note that other companies are taking in Microsoft's losses. Sure, those companies are law firms, manufacturing, grocery stores, and myriad others, but every dollar that Microsoft loses ends up back in the pocket of someone else. A big loss for a company that can afford it is just the thing to help bring up the economy!

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      "What Microsoft decides it wants, it tends to get." only works when they can leverage the monopoly position of Windows. Outside of that game/control they almost always lose. Xbox is not a winner, it's hanging on and it will probably take another 10 years for them to break even if they are lucky. They don't own the market let alone control it.

      Even Windows CE/PocketPC/Mobile/what-ever is a $10+ billion loser and they just got shut down by Android and the iPhone. There are a few other areas where they tried t
      • I agree they've been inept and they tend to "extinguish" things they get their hands on. I think they'll lose this largely on the merits - google does a good job. Also google has committed surprisingly few of the dick moves like happen with Facebook and msft; but can we count on that ?

        What I want is a little(r) guy to have a shot at the title. Normal companies can't compete with cash firehoses and I think it stifles new stuff. Also I think at some point google will go evil or incompetent.

  • by DumbparameciuM ( 772788 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:06PM (#31993490)
    The main problem with Bing is that you can't really use the world as a verb like you can with Google. Think about it - you can't say you're going to "bing" something, it just sounds gross.
  • by Chelmet ( 1273754 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:07PM (#31993498)
    Google is just better at this game. I find Bing a hinderance to smooth workflow.

    Oft-times I'll know exactly what I'm looking for, or even the exact site I want to go to, and going via google is often faster than remembering/typing a URL. I know my search result will be top, as I know what to search for. This is far more hit and miss with Bing.

    This does change over time, however. It used to be the case that if I wanted a review on a new pair of speakers or a motherboard or whatnot, I could google the product with the word review in the search, such as "b&w 683 review". Whilst for that particular search you'll find some good reviews do pop up first, for a lot of products its an ordeal trying to find decent reviews. Often it'll be a sales page where you can drop your own review, and more often that not they're blank. Its becoming more and more difficult to search for professional reviews, so for many products I go direct to specialist review sites, such as tomshardware for computer stuff.

    I seem to have run a little off topic, but my point is that all of this is far more difficult to accomplish with Bing than it is with google, so I'm not surprised they're losing money - they've entered a marketplace with an inferior product (at least for the casual home user), and that's rarely a profitable move.

  • I just Googled 'Bing'. And search Bing for 'Google'. The one time in history Bing had better results. Nobody on the intertubes cares about Bing, there's very little to find.
  • Problems... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:17PM (#31993592)
    If Microsoft wants to get ahead, stop trying to imitate and start innovating. The only time imitation works is when the current product becomes crappy. Take for instance the Xbox 360, it didn't get ahead because it was great, but rather got ahead because the competition was crappy. The Wii had (has) a shortage of good games and the PS3 was (and still almost is) far too expensive.

    Google isn't getting any worse and Bing just isn't innovating in any meaningful way. Trying to promote Bing is like promoting alternate keyboard layouts, even if it -is- better, any benefits will be lost in the fact that people have to re-learn something. Google isn't just a search engine, its a bookmarking engine. Its a lot easier to remember "nexus one review" than []
    • by Anonymous Coward

      How totally delusional can you possibly be?

      Last gen Microsoft wasted billions only to end up:

      Last place in Japan
      Last place in Europe
      And the console only viable in the US and a few other minor markets

      This gen Microsoft has wasted billions only to end up:

      Last place in Japan
      Last place in Europe
      And once again only viable in the US and a few other minor markets

      The only thing Microsoft has going for it this gen is a 50 percent failure rate to pad out their worldwide sales total from suckers buying 3,4,5 or more X

    • by jcr ( 53032 )

      >If Microsoft wants to get ahead, stop trying to imitate and start innovating.

      You realize you're talking about a total shift in their corporate culture, right?


  • ... this article [] provides a nice comparison of Apple's recent quarter to Microsoft's recent quarter.
  • ... when I want to use the cash-back feature. But I've usually used Google to narrow down my purchase first.

  • by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:24PM (#31993650) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft does have a bit of history of sinking large amounts of money on totally losing projects, and there have been suggestions that it may be partially intentional.

    The poster child for this is Internet Explorer, which was developed and handed out free, for a 100% monetary loss. Various people have suggested that the intent was never to charge for it. The motive wasn't profit; it was control. The idea is that they wanted to control the "browser market", which included killing any startup that wanted to make money on a browser. They succeeded at that, and even the most critical reviewers agree that MS still controls at least 2/3 of the browser "market". From a power viewpoint, IE has been a real success, even if it has been a money sinkhole. It gives MS control of a large part of how the Web works in reality. It has especially been an effective tool at scrambling all attempts to develop rational standards and interoperability.

    The only people who consider this a "loss" are those who believe that money is the only corporate motivator. Those who understand a desire for power and control find it easy to understand why corporations like Microsoft would sink so much of their profits into such losing projects.

    It's entirely possible that MS's ongoing attempts to get into the search "market" is something along the same line. It may not matter to them how much money they lose, as long as they end up in control, with the insignificant startups all bankrupt and standards irrelevant because Bing is the de facto standard and doesn't interoperate with anything they don't control.

    In particular, their main motivator may be all the information on our searches that google is collecting. Imagine what Microsoft could do to the world if they had control of all that information.

    (Of course, some of us are starting to worry about the effect of nice guys like google having all that information. And maybe it'd be prudent to not worry about it quite so publicly. After all, google does know what you've been googling ... ;-)

    • by mgblst ( 80109 )

      You seem to be a little confused. Power, Information all means more money. Microsoft gave away IE so they could control the internet, which means more money. They can control the homepage, search engine, create the most popular brower, create the dev environment which server pages (ActiveX, .Net)... and more, to make more money.

    • Just because IE was free doesn't mean they didn't make *any* money from it. Even the earliest versions of IE came with pre-installed bookmarks to companies who paid for placement.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Money is the only motivator. Huge losses in one department offset huge profits in another division, limiting taxes. Or, huge gains in a mature business is used to develop a new business. These losses are only on paper, as the company itself shows a 35% gain in profit.

      MS is like the US a few years back. More money than sense, more money than opportunities. MS knows that it can spend until it's kills off the competition, and when a conservative administration in white house, can buy the executive branc

  • Compete with Sony and Samsung, make a TV. I'll buy it.
  • by Whuffo ( 1043790 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @10:39PM (#31993782) Homepage Journal

    For some reason, corporations seem to feel the need to compete in areas where they're clearly outmatched no matter what. So we'll see Google, Microsoft, Apple and whoever else steps up to the plate slug it out for a chance to lose millions chasing a train that left the station years ago.

    Bing is a prime example of this kind of dysfunctional behavior. Microsoft has even gone to the extreme of paying people to use Bing and they're still not going to make it. In the world of web search, Google has years of experience doing it and they're getting better every day. Microsoft can't catch up no matter how much money they throw at it - in the final analysis, the general public reaches for Google when they want to search. I suppose Bing can slug it out with Alta Vista and Yahoo! for the "also ran" prize. If Microsoft would put all this money and effort into improving the things they're strong in - but no, we'll suffer along with bug-ridden Windows and Office while Microsoft chases the Google butterfly.

    Google is doing it too - diverting resources from their core competency to compete in operating systems. Android looks like it has a chance because the competition phoned in their submission (Windows CE, WTF?), but the Chrome OS will be fighting an uphill battle all the way. It's good, but not as good as Sugar and that's a non-starter. They can park the wreck of Chrome OS next to the burned out husks of BeOS, Next, AmigaOS, and others in the scrapheap of history. That doesn't mean they won't "sell" a bunch of copies - but taking Microsoft on in the OS space is every bit as insane as Microsoft taking Google on in the search space and in the end it'll all count for nothing.

    Right now, Apple has arguably the best cell phone OS in existence. It's much more polished than Android and - Windows CE doesn't count. Windows Mobile 7 is vaporware and while the demos look great the reality when they finally ship copies is almost certain to follow their past performances and be a giant disappointment. Apple doesn't have a free ride in this mess either - they're caught up in that "We sold a lot of units so we must be something special" nonsense. They're going to have to stop thinking they're superior and get busy; iPhone was very nice, but the competition is working on their game and despite their constant attempts to fail one of them is going to get it right one of these days.

    The next few years should be very interesting. From here, it looks like Google will continue to own web search (and advertising) and Microsoft will continue to own operating systems and "office" applications. Apple, despite their desperately dysfunctional leadership will be worth more than either one (if not both) of them - only because they avoided throwing money away trying to bury Google or Microsoft. But they're not immune from the need to destroy themselves - watch the news and see what kind of lunacy they take part in as their superiority complex becomes blatantly obvious.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      For some reason, corporations seem to feel the need to compete in areas where they're clearly outmatched no matter what.

      That's the way the global economy works. If you aren't growing, then you are dying. However much you have today, it's not enough... you must have more.

      • by Whuffo ( 1043790 )
        I'd submit that there's a significant difference between growing and suicidal behavior. There's a lot of things Microsoft could do with those hundreds of millions that would be more productive and create real growth for their company.
    • by mgblst ( 80109 )

      For some reason,
      Not for some reason, for the most obvious reason. These companies make large amounts of money. They can either invest it in the bank, but flowers for everyone on the planet, or TRY TO MAKE MORE MONEY BY INVESTING IN OTHER AREAS. I am confused why so many people seem not to understand this. Microsoft did it with Xbox, PocketPC, Bing. Apple did it with iPod, iPhone, iPad. IBM did it with the IBM PC, consultancy. Amazon did it with selling to other markets. EVERYBODY DOES IT, BECAUSE IT IS FU

  • Just imagine how different the world would be if Microsoft heeded the advice of its own research arm - Microsoft research. Back in 1999-2000, MSR researchers were chomping at the bit to create a search engine (which at the time would have been FAR more advanced than anything else on the market, including Google). All they needed was budget and a "go ahead", the motivation was made abundantly clear to the executives. Ballmer said "no".

    Fast forward five years, and in about 2004-2005 Ballmer realizes that he's

  • by Nom du Keyboard ( 633989 ) on Monday April 26, 2010 @11:45PM (#31994320)
    Microsoft can't build a competitive search engine and Google can't field a competitive Office Suite -- and neither of them have taken the cell phone world by storm yet. All is still good and balanced with the universe.
  • On the upside, for Microsoft employees, that means less money to spend on chairs. *ducks*
  • If you read the entire Business Week article, it turns out that advertising revenue is up 19% at Bing. What's killing them is the Yahoo deal, which is apparently a money drain during the cutover. Microsoft's "online services" also include other MSN-related things, including their declining dial-up business.

    It's too early to tell how this will unwind. Microsoft is patient. Bear in mind that the original XBox lost money through its lifespan. Only now is the gaming operation moving into positive territo

A committee takes root and grows, it flowers, wilts and dies, scattering the seed from which other committees will bloom. -- Parkinson