John Battelle has a nice post, Can We Please Bury The Netscape Metaphor, pushing back on the idea that Microsoft
will roll over Google just like it rolled over Netscape.
Yeah, too right it’s a bad comparison! I’ve been saying this for ages, in response to the many press articles that have pursued the metaphor since the search wars heated up
Since the hype is picking up again as a result of Microsoft’s expected new search technology rollout
tomorrow, here’s a recap of my past thoughts on the subject:
Some have assumed that back before the Google IPO, Microsoft would bulldoze Google because of its large cash coffers. This neglected the fact that Google had already done
amazing things without needing much cash at all. My article from Nov. 2003, Surprised Google & Microsoft
Talked Takeover? You Shouldn’t Be!, looks at this more.
My review in February about a New York Times article on the subject of Google v. Netscape looks
at how the media was painting this picture back then and earlier. It also explains that ultimately, we’re not dealing with a software product this time but a media product. It
also notes how there’s a third player in this battle, Yahoo, and highlights my network model view of search that I’ve
discussed since back in 2003:
This isn’t Microsoft-Netscape part two. Instead, this is ABC-NBC-CBS-FOX. There’s unlikely to be one overall winner, but a particular search network may get a larger share
than others depending on the quality of its programming.
In March, I revisited the issue and highlighted how unlike with the battle against Netscape,
Microsoft didn’t buy technology this time to jump start its efforts. Imagine the situation today if it was already using good technology it had purchased from someone like Ask
Jeeves or AllTheWeb.
In April, I pulled everything together in my Search Wars: Battle Of The Search Superpowers article,
looking at the current battle Microsoft is fighting against not just Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft is a serious competitor to both Google and Yahoo, not to mention AOL and Ask Jeeves. But it’s not likely to wipe either Google or Yahoo out. It’s in for a tough,
long fight with no guarantee of victory.