Microsoft is set to launch a trial version of its long-awaited Internet search engine, as it reacts to the growing threat of Google.
News of the release leaked out amid growing interest in a section of the industry that Microsoft has previously been ambivalent about. For years it has licensed search technology from Yahoo, to use on its MSN Internet portal.
Microsoft has been growing increasingly wary of the growing threat from Internet search engine Google – in particular, the introducuction of email and desktop services.
Google was one of the great Internet success stories, building up an impressive level of advertising sales through its sleek search engine. Shares in the company were auctioned earlier this year, for an initial price of $2,718,281,828 (the mathematical constant e multiplied by a billion). The internet search leader’s expansion plans have created unease at Microsoft.
But Microsoft is preparing the counter attack. Its Internet search will be followed by a new desktop service in 2005, which could be bundled into future versions of Windows, potentially pulling the rug from under Google, which relies on users downloading its desktop tools.
Speaking at the annual meeting yesterday, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer pledged to overtake its search competitors and double advertising revenue within the next five years.
“We will catch up, we will surpass,” Ballmer declared.