Microsoft and Ethics – Get some Google Search Share at any Cost

With the majority of the rich world now having upgraded to IE7, did Google notice the way Microsoft have stolen search share? Did WE notice? Search engine optimisationinternational specialists are buzzing. In IE7 there is now an embedded web search facility in the toolbar at the ‘top right’ of the browser. Whilst Google can be selected as the search provider, did we think Microsoft would give up the search currency so easily? Not the same people that knocked Netscape into a cocked hat and into the sidelines of connected world control. But with e on constant alert of the software giant’s malpractice, it can’t be too high in profile. They chose a perfect way to unethically get people to stray from Google.


How they did it

How? By not allowing the selection of a ‘regional’ Google as the search provider. Let’s take the case of a searcher in Canada. When searchers use for their searches they get a set of results. If they travelled across the border to the US, using for the same search would yield a different set of results again (some similarities, but different). Now back in Canada the user searches using and gets different results again – this time the best optimised set of results. He’s in Canada and is built for Canada and delivers the best results ( gives results somewhere between the two because of the overwhelming recognition of .com as a first stop for many domains). The fact that for USA searchers it makes no difference at all gives Microsoft a leading time for regional users to become dissatisfied with the search leader Google before it’s flagged up as a ‘bug’. It’s a perfect mechanism to accomplish their plan of shifting some of that persisting favour Google has amongst web users.

Why don’t they just switch to local Google?

You can try it. Selecting different search providers takes you to Microsoft’s web site from where you get a choice of providers. If you need a regional Google, you have to jump through hoops which the vast majority will not do. But even if they do, the selection doesn’t persist across browser sessions. Microsoft have to allow users to select a different search provider, who knows – someone may even want to use MSN. But the selection is only available from the broad companies – MSN, Yahoo, Google, Ask, etc. These other main search engines (Yahoo, MSN and Ask) have redirects in place that provide local results just as if they were using,, etc. Google is on their own in the way they provide regional results. Perfect then. Microsoft put up with Yahoo, but bitterly hate the Google that some of their best people are defecting to. The IE7 browser upgrade doesn’t permit people to easily select (or other region) as their search provider – and even successfully jumping through the hoops they provide doesn’t allow the selection to persist. Users aren’t going to bother – over time they’ll notice the sub-op

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