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Why has Microsoft begun to impress me?

When Steve Ballmer said pompously (yeah, that was downright pompous!) 'We won the desktop. We won the server. We will win the Web. We will move fast, we will get there. We will win the Web.', everyone thought this is version 2.0 of Bill Gates's infamous outburst against Google and its founders.

But fed on the Windows and Office dollars, Microsoft actually seems to be pushing towards being a VERY significant player in web domain, if not the winner.

Talking in terms of web-search pie, Microsoft's Live Search is still distant 3rd behind Google and Yahoo, but consider this: While Google Search grew by 44% YoY iin terams of search volume and Yahoo managed only 20%, Live Search leapt by 77%. MS is also in fierce competition with Google in race of acquiring nice search providers (like MedStory,a medical provider)

And to Microsoft's credit, Live Search has also begun impressing cynics and critics. Though they had to tone down their radically new search interface, they still have managed to be somewhat better than Yahoo in this regard!

But what made me write all this is actually none of this!

Did you know MS has released its own mashup editor called Popfly(.ms! Heck they even got an DNS registered for that, there must be many others coming) and to run it you will need to install a Microsoft runtime called SilverLight? (Well I didn't know that till very recently and managed to get an invitation for Popfly. Whoopeee!!!!!!)

Which brings them head-to-head with Adobe, whose Flash has now become the de-facto standard for rendering RIA (Rich Internet Applications). This is what wikipedia says about SilverLight:

Microsoft Silverlight (code-named Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere or WPF/E) is a runtime for browser-based Rich Internet Applications, providing a subset of the animation, vector graphics, and video playback capabilities of Windows Presentation Foundation. Version 1.1 also includes a complete version of the .NET Common Language Runtime, named CoreCLR so that Silverlight applications can be written in any .NET language.

Simply put, Microsoft SilverLight is positioned against Adobe Flex, and Sun Microsystem's Java FX. Also note that they are making .NET more lucrative once again and positioning as a tool for developing RIA as well.

So while everyone is harping about Google's hyped entry in Microsoft's backyard of desktop applications, it seems Microsoft is working hard to reaching 'there'!


@nkur said…
One question: Could the growth of Live search be attributed to its being default engine for Vista based machines?
Vaibhav said…
thats a good question by Ankur
and this is the way MS grow, a good way, they take their prominent market like OS and put all other things default there.

Article seems interesting, let see.
Abhishek said…
That is an interesting observation Ankur. However I think since Vista's peneteration is pretty insignificant at the moment, so Vista bolstering Live Search is far fetched. Also please note that Apple Safari has got only Google and Yahoo in its search engine list, and Google is default. In recently launched Safari for Windows, this again is story, so Google gains a lot there as well. Same goes true with Firefox. Google is default, though Yahoo and Live are in the options' list!
So I think this factor can be ruled out.
@nkur said…
to me its a pure play market strategy of many companies, and is not specific to micro$oft. I have read this in my studies here!

Also live search may not be specific to vista, check if MSN Messenger install also offers making livesearch as default and IE 7 Installation too!

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