Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Steroids and Yahoo/MSFT

After nearly a full year of wrangling, Yahoo and MSFT have completed their search deal. With massive investments in R&D and marketing, and now the Yahoo deal secure, I was thinking about whether, after 7 frustrating years, MSFT is ready to really compete in the largest, and most pivotal Internet space.

Let me start with a bias...I think that the 'best' product, offering the most value, usually wins. Best, of course is an ambiguous definition. Nonetheless, as both services are 'free', cost is measured via opportunity cost. All things being equal, however, an incumbent market share leader usually beats competitors who offer only similar value. As in war, an invading force requires an overwhelming advantage to dislodge an opponent.

A common expression when trying to position a new product vs an entrenched competitor is to say 'gee, our product is like theirs, but on steroids'. Obviously, this is now a dated expression, taken from the days when steroids had a connotation of bringing speed, strength, virility, and other good stuff with no downside. But, the expression masks something, a lack of sustainable differentiation. If anything, merely an incremental advancement that does not stand the scrutiny of the market. I have a hard time recalling products 'on steroids' dislodging market leaders. It takes much more innovation, or fundamentally changing the value curve to do so. Google did it to Yahoo, and Yahoo did it to AOL. Curious, I wanted to do a quick test to see if Bing is bookmark worthy.

Let me share a totally random and singular (unscientific)comparison; here's the top five results, with the top 3 irrelevant for me, when searching 'Bing is Google on steroids' in Bing:

Mexican Steroids - Web - CyberDefender steroids / mexican-steroids.html [Found on Google, Bing,]​20... ·

Steroids - definition of Steroids in the Medical dictionary
- by the ...
... Google Bing? ... Steroids. A group of drugs that includes the corticosteroids, similar to hormones produced ...​Steroids · Cached page
steroids definition of steroids in the Free Online Encyclopedia.
... Google Bing? ... steroids, class of lipids lipids, a broad class of organic products found in living systems​steroids · Cached page

Search Wars: Forget Bing, Google Has More to Worry About from Twitter
Stealing any thunder Microsoft might have managed to generate for Bing , day 2 of the Google I/O ... Google Wave, Email on Steroids! — Inventor Spot - Inventions, Innovations, and ...​bing_​google_has_more_to_worry_​about ·

Five Reasons Why Microsoft’s BING Outshines Google –
Five Reasons Why Microsoft’s BING Outshines Google . By Bryan Lambert - Sunday, June 14, 2009 ... With Bing you get image and video results on steroids. For instance, with the image ...​Five-Reasons-Why-Microsofts-BING-Outshines-Google.htm · Cached page

And from Google, using the identical 'Bing is Google on steroids:

Five Reasons Why Microsoft's BING Outshines Google –
Bing is what Google was 10 years ago, fresh, innovative, and (dare I say it) cool. ... With Bing you get image and video results on steroids. ... - Cached - Similar -

19 Comments - User Centric Releases Results of Eye Tracking Study
usercentric google versus bing eye tracking study .... It would be very earlier to compare Bing with Google however no doubt Bing seems ... - Cached - Similar -

Bing Launch Has Google Scared | Internet Marketing News

It is very unlikely that Bing will be able to knock Google from the top of the ... Yotify- Google Alerts on Steroids - 1995 views; Find High Pagerank Blogs ... - Cached - Similar -

Google Wave, Email on Steroids!
Google Wave is what email would be like if it were on steroids! ... "Bing" on the other hand is another story! So there you have it. Google once again leads ... - Cached - Similar -

What the Bing is this? Live Search Makeover Review | FlipCurve - 9:24am
Jun 4, 2009 ... Bing honestly feels a little like Google on steroids, which I feel will lead to either a love it or hate it response. ... - Cached -

In this random example, the Bing juice just didn't go far enough. Google on steroids, hardly. A homerun? Hardly.

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