I do sales and marketing for a living and one of the things I am responsible for is growing new business. In most cases there has to be an opportunity because of a competitor having quality issues, fill rate issues, or you can provide them with a better price. The problem with selling on price is that you devalue the market and you lower your profit margin. So in most cases to protect the manufacturers I represent I am patient and wait for an opportunity and provide excellent customer service while I wait. I never want to devalue my product. This is exactly what came to mind when I read that Microsoft has lost 11 billion dollars since 2005 on their search engine Bing. Against a fierce competitor like Google who dominates the search market, it is an incredibly difficult task for anyone to gain market share when Google has done nothing but improve their product and offer outstanding services.
In the products we are talking about, search engines come free of charge – there is no opportunity for Microsoft to gain market share based on price. Microsoft however does have an excellent product. I’ve used Bing for several months as a companion to Google and really liked the performance and the aesthetic it provides. I even use Bing on my iPad and really like the layout, the scroll bar at the bottom, and the trending news. And now with Microsoft purchasing Nokia they will have an outstanding map application to further challenge Google.
Like all things, however, Microsoft needs to keep their eye on the bottom line and make stockholders happy. But Microsoft is big and well funded. They have the ability to sustain a long war with Google. I think it is necessary for Microsoft to continue with Bing. As they continue to integrate their operating system across all platforms I think it will become more relevant and more widely used. Microsoft also has done a good job really for the first time in marketing one of their products. The Bing Challenge was very well done in my opinion and a continued advertising campaign will continue to chip away at Google’s armor.
Let us know what you think. Should Microsoft scrap the billion dollar Black Hole that Bing has created? Do we really want Google to remain uncontested as the search engine leader?