Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Google and Microsoft at it again.

An interesting post in NY Times highlighting the current search defaults dispute between Microsoft and Google. Nick Carr givers more perspective in his post. I feel an interesting way to look at this is like this:

A web browser is an economic complement to Microsoft products (Word, Excel). So is Internet Search a complement to Microsoft products as well as a Web Browser. Google fully dominates the market for Internet search, while web browsers are already commoditized (free). Thus you have one company (Google) fully monopolizing a complementary product (search). As I posted earlier, companies want to commoditize their complements. Google's monopoly in search (even though it is free) does not allow MS to prosper as Google has a stranglehold over one of the most important complements and maintains a constant threat. So what does it do? Turn the tables, erect barriers to the usage of the complement using an already commoditized product (browser). As I said earlier, the person/product interfacing the end customer directly is the most powerful link in the distribution channel. Never underestimate its power, even if it is free.

Jeff Nolan says:
Of course, Google could also make available a script from their search page or as a button on any site (perhaps as part of AdSense) that overwrites the default search engine in IE7 with Google (with user permission of course)

I wonder if it would be as easy for Google to come up with such a script - it can be only done *if* MS will allow the browser's default search wndow to be configurable. I would not bank on MS' generosity if I were Google.

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