updated 12:50 am EDT, Thu July 3, 2008
Microsoft offers iPods
Microsoft is attempting to convince Australian users to use its Live search engine by offering products from industry competitor Apple as bait through a local venture with the Nine Network, Ninemsn. The Brisbane Times reveals that the software giant is offering the iPod nano, Shuffle, and Touch to users who perform searches through Ninemsn. Ninemsn head Alex Parsons said that it would have run the contest using the Zune, but the Microsoft-made player does not currently sell in Australia.
"Where we don't have a great product or we don't have a product at all there's no internal edict that says we're not allowed to use competitor products," said Parsons.
Microsoft is approving the promotion in order to draw attention away from search and advertising competitor Google - the use of Google's services at Ninemsn is forbidden - by providing a very Google-like search interface, as well as improving search results, speed, and content. Google currently sees use from 9.7 million Australians, compared to Live at 3 million, and Yahoo at 1.4 million.
Overall, Ninemsn hopes that it will succeed in the long fight, since Google controls so much of the present marketplace.
Microsoft is currently spending a great deal of money to compete with Google in the US, with the purchase of Powerset, a company who developed "semantic web" search technology that recognizes both meaning and context of search terms.
Yahoo and Google are both working with graphics giant Adobe to build Flash file functionality into both search engines, allowing users to perform searches of Flash file contents.