In the race to be the most popular Internet search engine on the planet, the field is aptly described as a group of tortoises conspiring to catch a hare.
Google dominates search competition so thoroughly (82.89% of the global search market share, at last count) that it’s often hard for tech commentators not to just shrug their shoulders and write about something else. Even so, love of underdogs and the prospect of the overthrow of empire attracts buzz.
Now, it appears Microsoft may be taking another jab at the champion in a tag-team effort between its Bing search platform and Mozilla’s Firefox Web browser. Bing has been an albatross around Microsoft’s neck since 2009, losing the company $5.5 billion in intervening years, but the new deal may breathe new life into the war of the search engines.
Microsoft hopes the deal, inked in the shadow of an expiring partnership between Mozilla and Google, will help elevate the search engine’s paltry market share of 4% to something that can justify not terminating the venture before it hemorrhages even more funds.
The news sheds new light on rumors in other camps that have been speculating on Microsoft’s possible acquisition of Yahoo, and would suggest another strategy is at play. Yahoo has been flailing since its game of administrative musical chairs ended with the termination of CEO Carol Bartz in September 2011, but execs say Microsoft has expressed no recent interest in throwing it a life preserver.
The deal essentially marries the Bing search engine to Mozilla’s newest version of the Firefox browser, although veteran Firefox users will be able to upgrade their current browsers to the same effect. This will replace Google as Firefox’s default browser, and industry observers speculate the move is designed to send a message to Google that Mozilla is willing to court other revenue opportunities.
The general consensus, however, is that Google has little need to worry about the deal, considering its market position and that Mozilla has not dismissed a future relationship once their current arrangement expires.
The search giant is not quite invincible, though, as evidenced by its current entanglement with the U.S. Department of Justice over antitrust concerns and a powerful community of advertisers and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists that see value in diversification when it comes to search engine options. For these people and search-engine users at large, continued competition, however lopsided, is better than an Internet with only one avenue of navigation.
This article was written by James Madeiros, Staff Writer for Sparkplug Digital, a Seattle Online Marketing company.