I read recently that Google sold roughly $22 billion in advertising last year. $22 billion is also the Gross National Income of Kazakhstan, or that of Costa Rica and Jamaica combined. I don’t know why, but I never sat down to think about how much money Google has been raking in over the years. They’ve managed to corner a huge market share in search, and while Yahoo has failed to really compete, Microsoft is dedicated to doing just that.
A few weeks ago, Steve Ballmer
, CEO at Microsoft, said he was willing to "spend to compete", to the tune of 5%-10% of Microsoft’s overall operating income
on search for up to five years. It’s apparent that the folks at Microsoft have figured out there is money in search. But what does this competition mean for Google?
The first thing that competition does in free enterprise is keep the heavy hitters honest. Not only that, it facilitates improvement and growth. When a company, service, or brand is in competition with another, each will play off the actions of the other for the benefit of their own. An improvement is made by one, causing the other to take stock and reinvent. This ebb and flow creates for, what is usually, a very productive system.
As competition relates to Google, up to now they’ve had only a few real contenders
. Arnie wrote last year about Google and Yahoo’s head-to-head
, and that as internet marketers we need Yahoo to thrive. Microsoft has, in the past few months, taken over where Yahoo tried to jump in, but the overall premise is still the same: competition for Google is essential to safeguarding the integrity of search. The difference this time around, however, is that Microsoft is more than prepared
— in the form of billions of dollars,
and innovative search solutions.
Early numbers are showing an increase in Microsoft’s overall search market share a month after Bing’s unveiling. There’s no doubt, though, that they have a lot farther to go. It may just come down to who can master real-time search, and address the issues facing current searchers today: outdated and irrelevant results.