Microsoft’s intention towards Google is not a secret and yesterday’s announcement that Microsoft’s Windows Live software will be pre-installed on Lenovo computers is just a development of this rivalry. However this deal sounds like something Microsoft would do; this is how they got to their current dominance of the operating system – getting OEMs to install Windows on PCs.
However the competition for services may not be easily captured, especially taking into account that Microsoft (as yet) does not have mind share in this market; Google has a verb (google) that is synonymous with searching the Internet (and search generally) and that is what they are leveraging in most of their other services. It is true that Microsoft will also leverage its OS dominance but changing the service that one uses on the internet is a matter of downloading a few megabytes (sometimes kilobytes) of a toolbar and you are off. Microsoft still wants to undercut the final consumer of the service or product by ensuring that they are in the consumer’s face in a such a manner as to negate the need to look at other alternatives available in the market. This is of course reminiscent of the browser wars and how Internet Explorer became the dominant product in that market.
While it is a sound strategy to stay with tried and tested practices, Microsoft may need to remember that we are in an era where technology adoption is increasingly driven by consumers as is the case with blogging, instant messaging amongst others. Search is equally a personal experience which will be dictated by what one has become accustomed to and not necessarily what one finds installed and/or selected by default on the computer.