The Australian iTWire has a rather biased and misinformed article entitled Official: Microsoft ‘bribes’ companies to use Live Search which contains the following excerpt

Microsoft’s new program is called “Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search” and has been unveiled by John Batelle’s ‘SearchBlog’. The money on offer is significant, especially when multiplied across thousands of PCs. The deal means that companies can earn between US $2 and US $10 per computer on an annual basis, plus a US $25,000 “enrollment credit” which is a nice big wad of cash that will likely need a large-ish, strong and sturdy brown paper bag to hold securely while being passed under the table.  

For companies that have thousands of computers, this could translate into anywhere from US $100,000 to $200,000 per year, which is money that could be put to good use in the IT department or elsewhere in the company.
Former Microsoft employee and blogger Robert Scoble who served as the online face of Microsoft during his three years at the company is not impressed with Microsoft’s moves in deciding to offer companies money to use search.  His arguments are quite valid and boil down to Microsoft really needing to create better products, rather than needing to pay companies to get more traction for Windows Live. After all, Scoble isn’t the first to observe that Google doesn’t need to pay anyone to use its search services – people use them voluntarily because of the quality of the results

The amount of bias in this article is pretty amazing considering that Microsoft is primarily reacting to industry practices created by the Google [which have also been adopted by Yahoo!]. Let me count the ways Google bribes companies and individuals to use their search engine

  1. Google pays AdSense publishers for each user they convince to install Firefox with the Google Toolbar installed. Details are in the documentation for the AdSense Referrals Feature. Speculation on Slashdot was that they pay $1 per user who switches to Firefox + Google Toolbar.

  2. Google paid Dell $1 billion dollars to ensure that Google products are preinstalled in all the computers they sell and the default search engine/home page is set to Google. Details of this deal were even published in iTWire.

  3. Google paid Adobe an undisclosed amount to bundle Google Toolbar [which converts your default search engine in your browser to theirs] with all Adobe products.

  4. Google entered a distribution deal with Sun Microsystems to bundle Google Toolbar [which converts your default search engine in your browser to theirs] with all new installations of the Java runtime.

  5. Google products which converts your default search engine in your browser to theirs are bundled with the Winzip archiving utility. Financial details of the deal were undisclosed.

  6. Google is the default search engine for both the Opera and Firefox browsers. Both vendors get a cut of the search revenue generated from user searches which runs in the millions of dollars.

I could go on but my girlfriend just told me it's time for breakfast and I'm already in trouble for blogging on a Sunday morning. However the above links should be enough to debunk the inaccurate statements in the iTWire article. I guess iTWire's "journalism" is further validation of the saying that you should never let the facts get in the way of a good flame.


Sunday, March 18, 2007 8:26:23 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
[em]"Google paid Adobe an undisclosed amount to bundle Google Toolbar [which converts your default search engine in your browser to theirs] with all Adobe products."[/em]

Hi Dare, slight misimpression there. The free Adobe & Macromedia clientside engines (Player, Reader, Shockwave) have long offered additional downloads during installation, from Google, Yahoo, perhaps others. (It's an offer of additional download, not a bundle.) Actual products, which Adobe sells, are a different thing altogether.

Corrected: Google presumably paid Adobe to offer Google Toolbar to some of those downloading Adobe's free runtime engines.

tx, jd/adobe
Sunday, March 18, 2007 8:55:40 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
First vistola, now searchola, way to go guys!
Goin' down down down...
Sunday, March 18, 2007 11:06:31 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It's not the same. Google is not paying the people or companies that use their products or services just to use them. Your points are all related to partners and distribution deals. Despite Microsoft having advantages with distributing their products and services to the extent that have been convicted of illegally leveraging their monopoly, MS still feels that they need to resort to bribing end users to be competitive.

You guys really need to wake up and focus on providing users better products and services and give up on trying to manipulate the marketplace. It's just not going to work any more. Next you will be complaining that Google is too powerful and ask the government to intervene on your behalf.
Sunday, March 18, 2007 11:33:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
From an end user perspective I'm trying to figure out what the difference is since in neither case does the end user get paid. When I buy a Dell PC, I don't get a cut of the $1 billion that Google paid Dell. Similarly if I'm an employee of a company that has agreed to distribute Live Search to my thousands of employees, I don't expect to get a cut in my paycheck either.

In that sense they are both distribution deals which don't directly put dollars in the pocket of the end user. Of course, I realize that the more sensational headline of "Microsoft is Bribing People to Use It's Products" is more attractive to Google fans and Microsoft bashers, so I expect that many will refuse to acknowledge the parallels with what Google has been doing for years.
Monday, March 19, 2007 12:46:59 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I just don't think the issues are comparable. All the Google examples are (more or less) payment by results, i.e. payment for success in getting people to download and install Google products. The Microsoft deal involves employees being forced to use a Microsoft product by their employees. There's a big difference I think between the approaches. Now, if Microsoft paid employers for every employee who voluntarily used Microsoft search in preference to any other available search, that would be fine (but maybe not too expensive).
Monday, March 19, 2007 6:24:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
> All the Google examples are (more or less) payment by results

No they're not.

The bundlers get paid to bundle, period. If I reformat my Dell-- which is inevitable, due to all the paid, bundled craplets it comes with from the factory-- Dell doesn't refund Google any money.

There might be some *additional* payments, eg, Firefox, where the search revenues are shared somehow. But giant up front payments for bundling, regardless of whether the consumer opts to use the bundled software, are absolutely standard in the software industry.

ITWire just illustrated that they have a profound misunderstanding of how the software industry works, which is more than a little damning for an "IT" magazine. No idea what Scoble's thinking: if Google's product is so awesome (and it's been my default search engine since 2000), why do they need to pay anyone anything?

Give up the naïvite. It's pay to play, and has been for years.
Monday, March 19, 2007 6:13:09 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Paying for distribution and paying for usage are quite different.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007 10:55:42 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
best not to get upset about ITWire - they simply report whatever suits their viewpoint (i.e. microsoft is evil, linux is good).

They are simply unreliable and biased imho.
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