Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 18th Feb 2010 21:01 UTC
Legal BBC News reports that the US and European regulators (yes, the same EC that slapped MS with a EUR900M fine) have approved the deal that will see Microsoft control Yahoo's search and advertising business. This will mean that one of the first, great search engines (there was a time before Google) will now be powered by johnny-come-lately Bing.
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RE[2]: Ouch for Canonical
by Bryan on Fri 19th Feb 2010 19:01 UTC in reply to "RE: Ouch for Canonical"
Bryan
Member since:
2005-07-11

Actually, it could change a lot:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60S2RW20100203

The basic problem, as I understand it, actually isn't too dissimilar from what SReilly was talking about in his article on the fate of high-end RISC ISAs.

Building a mondern search engine requires a ton of capital investment. Web search combines the challenges that come with creating a global-scale datacenter with the domains associated with search: natural language processing, pattern matching, geographic information systems, data mining, &c. Doing search well means having infrastructure and talent well above what most other services require.

(And this is probably the main reason pretty much all other contenders have dropped off or failed to gain traction entirely. Very few other companies have have the capacity to scale either, much less both, to the extent that's necessary to remain competitive. Even Amazon.com, which has huge datacenters and a lot smart engineers, wasn't able to make inroads with their A9 engine.)

Evidently, Microsoft is only willing (able?) to subsidize their search business with so much of their Windows+Office revenue--which I have to say is almost refreshing on some level. In order to justify taking this investment further, they need to make Bing profitable. This Yahoo deal gives Microsoft a sizable enough audience to attract attention from advertisers, which will bring enough revenue to finally start doing things like competing outside the US in a meaningful way and addressing the technical issues around relevancy and index freshness--although the Yahoo engineers they're getting from this deal will hopefully help that, too. If Bing can continue to inch upwards and become profitable by sometime this year, or 2011 at the latest, they could be in a really good position to compete with Google in a serious way.

Edited 2010-02-19 19:06 UTC

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