Joe Wilcox, research analyst for Jupiter Research, has a blog post entitled What AOL Explorer Means to Microsoft which touches on a topic I've discussed in previous blog posts. He writes

In IE 7, Microsoft makes revolving a search term through several different search engines a fairly easy process. The approach makes sense for a platform provider, but it may not be the best for MSN Search--or is that Windows Live Search, now?

I'm wondering if maybe Microsoft will be forced to an internal browser war of sorts. Microsoft's IE development clearly is focused more on corporate customers and not introducing too many disruptive changes there. AOL is going after consumers with its browser. I don't see how Microsoft can effectively compete, protect its turf and extend opportunities for MSN and search with IE development so corporate focused.

Microsoft needs to more seriously treat the consumer and corporate browser markets as separate opportunities. In one sense, Windows Live seeks to resolve the consumer problem by offering consumers more products and services. To get there, Microsoft is going to have to draw and even clearer line between IE as a platform and corporate product and IE as throughway for consumer products and services.

It seems pretty obvious to me that if Microsoft is serious about Windows Live, then it doesn't make much sense for our Web browser to be tied to the operating system division with its long ship cycles and focus on making corporate customers happy (i.e. keeping disruption to a minimum). I said as much in my previous post on this topic; Mac IE's Death: A Case for Microsoft Disbanding or Transfering the Windows IE Team. I'm glad to see that some analysts are also beginning to point out this hole in our Windows Live strategy.


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