HP And Microsoft The Latest Happy Couple

Dennis Faas's picture

The Google-Microsoft-Yahoo search software love triangle seems to have finally settled down, but now it seems the players will be battling to hook up with hardware firms. Microsoft has just announced a deal with HP to make 'Live Search' the default search engine on the firm's computers. The agreement covers all machines sold in the US and Canada from next January on.

The HP machines will now come with Live.com set as the home page on Internet Explorer, which will also include a toolbar with a Microsoft search box and links to HP's online services.

Google did a similar deal with Dell, HP's leading rivals, back in 2006 in which they paid a reported $1 billion to have the Google toolbar installed on all machines over a three-year period. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

It's not known how much Microsoft is paying HP for this deal, but it seems likely to be a hefty sum given that HP is the world's leading seller of PCs. Microsoft's Kevin Johnson called it "the most significant distribution deal for live search that Microsoft has ever done."

He added, "This agreement with HP is a strategic indicator of our increased focus on securing broad-scale distribution for Live Search." Translated, that appears to mean Microsoft realizes it's not doing well at persuading the average web user to deliberately visit the Live.com search site, so is trying to capitalize on the inertia of people who buy a machine and use the default search function. (Source: cnet.com)

Court cases have made it very clear that Microsoft can't just make its own search engine the default in the Internet Explorer software itself. Instead, they have to battle other search engines to sign deals like this with hardware manufacturers.

The new deal is a victory for Microsoft over Yahoo, which had previously been the default search engine on HP machines in the US and Canada. Microsoft has an existing deal with Lenovo to have Live.com the default search engine on its laptops.

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