I am not sure whether to be impressed or horrified by the alleged actions of Microsoft execs Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. On the one hand you must admire their desire to win but on the other, is throwing chairs and shouting obscenities the way to take Google out? According to this article it may not be the right way to do it but it is the way it is being done.
Take a took at this excerpt from the Forbes article:
Lee’s evidence follows hot on the heels of sworn evidence from former Microsoft engineer Mark Lucovsky, claiming Chief Executive Steve Ballmer picked up his chair and hurled it across his office, before saying of Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt: "I’m going to bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to kill Google"–but punctuated by a couple of obscene gerunds.
One thing is for sure. This is a war and Microsoft will leverage every advantage it has to take Google down. I have written before that Microsoft can give away free search ads if they want to compete with Google and go for the jugular. Worse, they can compete head on with Google’s Adsense program where publishers are paid a portion of the revenue generated by ads that are clicked on by users. Google has a big weakness here. They don’t disclose how much they will pay publishers but instead say that higher quality content will generate more revenue. What that means is unclear to pretty much all small publishers. Larger publishers are able to negotiate directly with a human at Google and are not subject to such arbitrary payment terms.
So how does Microsoft combat this? Simple… Pay publishers 100% of revenue for 12 months as long as they sign a 2-year contract to stay in the Microsoft search network.
Microsoft can get away with doing all of the above and not hurt their stock price as they aren’t really generating much money from search anyway. If they want to gain market share and hit Google where it hurts, now is the time they will act. Look out Google.