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.