Microsoft’s IE 7 Serve Unfair Advantage Over Google & Yahoo?

Everyone is pointing to a NY Times article that claims Google is complaining to the Justice Department and the European Commission about Microsoft’s new Internet Explorer 7. IE7 has set the default browser search engine to MSN Search, Google feels this puts Microsoft at an unfair advantage. Marissa Mayer is quoted as saying; “The market favors open choice for search, and companies should compete for users based on the quality of their search services.” She adds, “We don’t think it’s right for Microsoft to just set the default to MSN. We believe users should choose.” Microsoft replied to this saying that Google is correct, IE7 sets MSN Search as the default, but changing that setting is incredibly easy and can be done at any time.

The article also says “Microsoft insists it has no intention of deploying its browser as a weapon in the search wars.” I have always thought Microsoft would use its browser as an asset in wining the search war. I even claimed that relevancy wouldn’t play a part in which search engine gains the most market share in the future. Let me be clear, Danny Sullivan disagrees with me on this point. And this weekend, recent information showed that Danny may be right and I may be wrong. But if Google is that worried about IE7 and Microsoft, than maybe I will be right? Time will tell and I hope Danny follows up on this entry with his own thoughts.

Postscript From Danny: Just briefly, I’ve written before (and here and here) that despite having a browser tie-in for years, Microsoft has failed to maintain search marketshare. IE7 and Vista, in my view, will hardly be the killer tool in beating Google and Yahoo for Microsoft.

In some related articles, see Google Testing Software Distribution With Dell, Plus Details On IE7 Search Battle, which summarizes a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year on the ongoing fight/issues with search and Internet Explorer. The article itself is here: Pressuring Microsoft, PC Makers Team Up With Its Software Rivals. Also see Google-MSN Fight In Internet Explorer 7; Yahoo Pokes At Google In Firefox.

Postscript 2 From Danny: I’ve now posted some extended comments here: Google Worried About Microsoft’s Browser Advantage? What Advantage?

Want to comment or discuss? Visit our Search Engine Watch Forums thread, Google
Objects To Microsoft’s IE7 Search Default Plans

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