Microsoft bribes for Live Search

Written by Brett Thomas

March 19, 2007 | 07:30

Tags: #live #search

Companies: #google #microsoft #yahoo

Sometimes, you just have to acknowledge that you're a little fish in a pond full of very big ones. That must be hard to accept for some, particularly those who are used to excelling and dominating so much - companies like Microsoft. The new Live Search feature hasn't exactly been taking the market by storm, after all. So now, they're flat out bribing companies to use it.

Of course, incentives are frankly not a horrible thing, and are certainly common in the business world. But Microsoft is so desperate to get companies interested in its product, it is offering to pay them for making Live Search the default in their corporations. And it's not even ashamed about the practice - in fact, it's an official deal known as "Service Credits for Web Search."

Here's a bit out of the PowerPoint presentation:

"Employees search the web daily with tools from Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo. OEMs and web sites are already earning credits based on searches that their users bring. Now, your organization can earn credits for Microsoft web searches and redeem them for Microsoft or preferred partner deployment and training services. More searches earns more credits towards the services you value."

The cash being offered is not exactly small - between $2 and $10 USD per computer per year, along with signing bonuses. Though that may not sound like a lot, when you consider it going over thousands of computers in a large corporate network the figure really begins to mount. Even if these credits can only be redeemed for more software or training, it is certainly an enticing offer.

If you're looking to sign up, don't look too hard. Only enterprise-level businesses can apply, no individuals are allowed in the service. The feature also requires fairly up-to-date setups, as Internet Explorer 7 is required to make use of the program. And future payouts also depend on the employees and how hard management "sells the message" of using Windows Live search - if everyone just jumps their browsers to Google, the company won't get the money.

Microsoft is certainly throwing its money into this move, but one only has to look at the search tallies to understand why. It only has 6% of the market share, compared to Google's 60%. Whether this will change it is unknown, but I can bet it will at least be a serious headache for employees that work for companies making the switch.

Do you have a thought on Microsoft's plan? Tell us your thoughts on whether it's bribery, shameless self-promotion or just an all-around interesting idea in our forums.
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