MSFT Wants 30% of Search, 40% of Web Ads

    November 16, 2007

Well, if you can’t be #1, then you should probably do like Microsoft and aim for being “one of the top two” (aka #2). Reuters reports that Microsoft is looking to knock one of their competitors (you know, Yahoo and Google) out pretty soon. Microsoft’s President of Platforms and Services Kevin Johnson, speaking at a UBS investor conference, is aiming pretty high in his three- to five-year plan for the company’s web advertising prospects.

Reuters cites Microsoft’s acquisition of aQuantive, announced in May and completed in August, as evidence of how serious they are about online advertising.

Johnson called Microsoft’s plan for web dominance the “10, 20, 30, 40″ plan. If all goes accordingly:

  1. 10% of all Internet page views will be and Windows Live email
  2. 20% of all time online will be spent at Microsoft website
  3. 30% of Internet searches will be performed on Microsoft/Live
  4. 40% of Internet and digital ad dollars will be paid to Microsoft

Some of these goals are pretty optimistic: while they already have 6% of Internet page views (four percentage points off goal 1), and 17% of time online (three percentage points off goal 2), they only have 10% of Internet searches (twenty percentage points off goal 3) and 6% of digital ad dollars (thirty-four percentage points off goal four).

Johnson’s plan to compete:

“If you look at the landscape of other competitors or other companies in this area, not only do we have the technology, research and development capability to deploy, but (we have) our willingness to invest for the long term,” said Johnson in a question-and-answer session with UBS analyst Heather Bellini. . . .

Johnson said Microsoft has worked to improve the relevance of its Web search results and how it presents that information, but the company has failed to close the gap on Google and Yahoo.

Of course, I don’t really expect much more than buzz words from them, something tells me that Google and Yahoo have a couple of dollars to spend on “technology, [and] research and development” and I think they’re willing “to invest for the long term.” Maybe I’m wrong, though, maybe Google’s plan all along is to get dominate the market, squash the competition and then, after a couple years, fade into obscurity as quickly as possible.

And relevance? Was relevance supposed to be enough to unseat Google and Yahoo?