By Susan Aldrich, SVP, Sr. Consultant/Analyst, Patricia Seybold Group
Historically, search has been Microsoft’s Invasion of Russia: huge expense, army turned back in defeat, humiliation, and mass death ensues. Okay, no death involved, but search has not been a happy story in Redmond. Now Microsoft has Bing, the new branding for its Internet search. We are utterly convinced that Bing will boost Microsoft’s market share. Rebranding is essential to getting people to take another look at Microsoft’s search efforts. Microsoft has chosen an interesting name and, furthermore, created a lovely homepage for Bing. Choices are emotional, and Bing is pretty attractive. That alone is enough to get us to use it: we like seeing the Bing home page gracing our browser window, like lovely wallpaper.
Microsoft has a huge campaign planned to call attention to Bing – estimated at $100 million—to get people to give it a try. Microsoft is also offering incentives to people who shop using Bing: Every so often, it offers a cashback bonus. For a time, use of Bing will surge. And some percentage of people who give Bing a try will stay, out of inertia or pleasure. More market share for Bing, less for Google and Yahoo!.
Sure, Bing isn’t as clever as Google, but, for many or even most of our searches, the answers aren’t hard to find. Offering search refinement is a nice touch, when it is offered. It's not always offered. Maybe Bing will prove to be “good enough” for enough people enough of the time, that Microsoft can declare victory. But we’re not counting on it. In the search wars, Microsoft still looks like Napoleon to us.