微软将成为惠普电脑默认搜索引擎

英国《金融时报》理查德•沃特斯(Richard Waters)旧金山报道
2008年6月4日 星期三 
 
微软(Microsoft)于6月2日达成一项分销协议,试图借此提高其网络搜索业务日益衰落的地位。根据这份协议,微软可能从其竞争对手雅虎(Yahoo)手中夺走市场份额。

微软与惠普(HP)达成一项协议,在惠普销往美国和加拿大的所有个人电脑上,微软的搜索服务将被设为默认值。该协议部分取代了大约两年前惠普与雅虎宣布的类似协议——根据当时的那份协议,惠普在美国和欧洲销售的电脑上都携有雅虎的搜索服务。

微软-惠普协议的条款尚未透露,但此类协议通常意味着,搜索服务提供商将为每台设有默认搜索服务的电脑支付一定款项。

 
与硬件制造商的分销协议已成为搜索引擎赢得新用户的主要武器之一。谷歌(Google)两年前与戴尔(Dell)签署了全球分销协议,而微软也与第四大个人电脑制造商联想(Lenovo)达成类似协议。

微软和雅虎都在努力寻找追赶市场领导者谷歌的办法,而通过从雅虎手中抢得惠普的部分业务,微软使两者间的竞争升级。康姆斯克(ComScore)的数据显示,4月份,谷歌在美国搜索市场的份额上升至61.6%,相比之下雅虎占20.4%,微软占9.1%。雅虎和微软都是从一年前开始失去市场份额的。

微软已将提高市场份额作为其搜索业务的首要任务,希望更大的规模能为其搜索广告系统吸引更多广告客户。这家软件公司上个月放弃了对雅虎的主动全面收购,但后来就部分交易方案与雅虎重返谈判桌。

据微软表示,40%的互联网用户从不更改电脑搜索引擎的默认设置。有一个例子能显示分销合作关系的重要性:将谷歌设为Firefox网络浏览器默认搜索引擎的一项协议,使该浏览器的开发商Mozilla集团成为硅谷成长最快的互联网公司之一。据所能找到的最新数据显示,2006年,Mozilla从谷歌获得6000万美元的收入。

Microsoft sought to boost its dwindling position in the internet search business with a distribution deal on the 2 Junethat could wrestle market share away from rival Yahoo.

The software maker struck a deal with Hewlett-Packard to have its search service set as the default on all the PCs that HP sells in the US and Canada. The agreement partly replaces a similar deal that HP and Yahoo announced nearly two years ago to carry that company’s search service on HP machines in the US and Europe.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed but such arrangements normally involve payment by the search company for each machine that is shipped with the search services set as default.

Distribution deals with hardware makers have become one of the main weapons the search engines have used in their battle to win new users. Google signed a global distribution deal with Dell two years ago, while Microsoft itself reached a similar arrangement with Lenovo, the fourth-largest PC maker.

By partially winning HP away from Yahoo, Microsoft has stepped up the competition between the two as they struggle to find a way to catch market leader Google. According to ComScore, Google’s share of searches in the US grew to 61.6 per cent in April compared with 20.4 per cent for Yahoo and 9.1 per cent for Microsoft – both of which lost ground from a year before.

Microsoft has made gaining market share its top priority in the search business, in the hope that greater scale will draw more advertisers to its search advertising system. The software company last month abandoned an unsolicited offer to buy all of Yahoo but has since returned to the table with a proposal for an alternative partial transaction.

According to Microsoft, 40 per cent of internet users never change the default setting of their computer’s search engine. In one sign of the importance of distribution partnerships, a deal that makes Google the default on the Firefox Web browser has helped turn Mozilla, the group behind the browser, into one of the fastest-growing internet companies in Silicon Valley. Mozilla generated $60m in revenues from its Google deal in 2006, the latest date for which figures are available.

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