Bing: A Sacrifice for MicroHoo

If the Bing parody ad was a blow to the Bing team’s self-esteem, wait ’til they hear about this: Microsoft is about to buy Yahoo’s search advertising business for several billion dollars, plus guaranteed revenue.

Dammit, Ballmer. Just when I was starting to appreciate Bing for its pornsearch capabilities, here you go trying to eat Yahoo again. Here you go threatening to confuse your users once more. Here you go sacrificing real technological improvement at the altar of your vendetta against Eric Schmidt. Here you go spitting in the faces of your developers developers developers to court advertisers advertisers advertisers.

This deal didn’t make sense last year, and it doesn’t make sense today. It may make sense to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, the businesswoman who just wants “big boatloads of money”. It may make sense to Ballmer, who’s just insane with hatred for Google. It won’t make sense to users, who won’t know whether Microsoft wants them to Bing or Yahoo. It won’t make sense to developers, who won’t know whether to develop stuff for Bing or Yahoo. It won’t make sense to advertisers, who won’t know whether they should advertise on Bing or Yahoo. It won’t make sense to marketers, who won’t know whether they should optimize their sites for Bing or Yahoo.

On top of all that confusion, Microsoft buying Yahoo’s search advertising business shows a complete lack of faith in Bing’s ability to compete. It shows a complete lack of faith in developers. It shows a complete lack of faith in software innovation. It almost makes you miss the days when Microsoft was a technology company.

Think what you will of Bill Gates; the man waxes poetic about the power of software. His buddy Ballmer clearly has no such faith in his own company’s technology.

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