A Web pioneer of sorts is retiring from one of the industry’s most visible fights. Today, the president of Ask.com announced that Ask will dedicate all its resources to improving its Q&A service, and as a result, will no longer attempt to compete in terms of Web search.
From certain angles, this move makes quite a lot of sense. According to the latest comScore search report, Ask had a market share of 3.7 percent in September, while Google had a market share of 66.1 percent and even Bing had a share of 11.2 percent (which is 303 percent of 3.7). It’s hard to imagine much could have changed anytime soon.
So now Ask will allow a not-yet-disclosed competitor to power its search service, save a good deal of money on research costs, and probably collect more than a fistful of dollars in return.
Meanwhile, Doug Leeds, President of Ask, promised in a blog post, “[O]ur proprietary Answer Products will continue to be a key point of differentiation for us in the Q&A space. We will continue to make the technology investments necessary across all of these fronts to develop the very best Q&A experience on the Web.”
The unfortunate thing is that quite a few layoffs will occur due to these changes. A Bloomberg report indicated that 130 individuals will lose their jobs, and Leeds, while not getting into the specifics, admitted that offices in New Jersey and China will shut down.