Forbes.com is running a poll on the occasion of Microsoft’s launch of MSN Search asking readers what their favorite search enginer/service is. No surprise, it’s Google by a mile, followed by Yahoo, followed by MSN.
From the handful of searches I ran on MSN yesterday, I’d say Microsoft has a long way to go, not necessarily based on any keen insights into their methodology, but on the fact that I find the MSN site butt-ugly and cluttered beyond belief compared to good old spare Google.
Charles Ferguson had a great piece in the MIT Technology Review in December on the Microsoft/Google battleplan. It says it better than any other analysis, given Ferguson’s front row seat at Vermeer (developer of WYSIWIG web builder Frontpage) during Microsoft’s call to action against Netscape. He builds a plausible scenario for how the battle for dominance in search will come down to a classic architectual platform battle, with ISVs and APIs becoming the arsenal.
Microsoft knows that game.
I’d like to link to the Ferguson article, but even me, a paid subscriber to the digital Zinio edition of the Tech Review, can’t get the to the piece. Maybe Charles did the world a favor and has it posted elsewhere. I’ll chase it down.