Last Updated Aug 20, 2007 6:20 PM EDT
In May [...] only 8.4% of all searches among U.S. Web surfers went through Microsoft's MSN or Windows Live engines, compared with Google's 56.3% share, according to research firm Nielsen/NetRatings. [...]As can be expected, Google is privy to the vertical search world and knows that Microsoft is a threat, so it isn't planning just to stand back watch. But if anyone has experience and pockets deep enough to wage a long search war, it's Microsoft.
Microsoft isn't going to give up the fight any time soon. But the software giant is savvy enough to know that it may need to shift the battle to a different front. In recent months, Microsoft has been spending money to boost its efforts in what's known as vertical search, those niche markets where Netizens go when they're looking for specialized information. Think Monster.com or CareerBuilder.com for job seekers or Technorati or Feedster for blog info. [...]
And there are plenty of other niches for Microsoft to mine. With its deep pockets, Microsoft could buy the search-engine leaders in such vertical markets as job openings, comparison shopping, classified advertising, travel information, and more. "They are going to nibble around certain areas where they think they can make inroads and establish leadership," says Greg Sterling, founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, an Oakland [California] consultancy.
(Image of Windows Live Search Logo by Windows Live)