It’s almost impossible to look at any news site without seeing another puff piece for Microsoft’s newest attempt to become a player in internet search, Bing, which, according to the link, is coming soon.
I unhesitatingly predict that it will be the Cuil of 2009.
Why am I so certain Bing will be a bust? Because Microsoft hasn’t gotten anything right about the internet yet.
When AOL opened its gateway and, suddenly, millions of persons who had never had access to the inner tubes discovered them–and then the other online services (there were still other online services back then) had to follow suit to compete, Microsoft was banking on CDs (Encarta, recently deceased, being the most notable example).
MSN and its successor, Live Search, flopped. MSN came along to compete with AOL at the very moment broadband was killing the online service subscription model (indeed, the only paying AOL subscriber I still know keeps a subscription because the family vacations are normally in dial-up territory).
Meanwhile, the whole concept of “internet portals,” where persons would start their internet sessions, never seems to have caught on. Most persons seem content just to have home pages that open up when they first start their browers, rather than a “portal” crawling with distractions (I usually open to blank page showing the Opera Speed Dial myself).
The only internet-related thing that Microsoft has done that achieved market penetration has been Internet Explorer, and that’s because they gave it away as part of their campaign against Netscape.
Microsoft has written some great applications. Some of them are almost as good as the free and the free and open source applications that I use daily in my Linux world (that’s not a redundancy, by the way–software may be free without being free and open source; I’m not a software freedom fanatic).
But Microsoft are copiers and implementers, not innovators.
Nope, when it comes to the internet, Microsoft just hasn’t gotten it and I don’t expect them to start.