Microsoft Searches For Answers On European Trip

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is launching a centre in Europe to study search technology, following the example of a similar facility in China. According to the firm, it's part of a specific plan to "help accelerate Microsoft's investments in Live Search and disrupt the search and advertising marketplace." That appears to be corporate speak for "compete better against Google and Yahoo".

There's no official word yet on where Microsoft will choose as a site for the facility, though it has recently bought Fast Search and Transfer, a search engine company based in Norway that developed the site.

Surprisingly, the center may not open until as late as next June, which is a long time in Internet business terms.

And one consultant, Stephen Arnold, told Information Week it was odd that Microsoft seems not to be taking any advantage of the technology behind AllTheWeb, which some once tipped as the only potentially serious contender to Google. Fast Search and Transfer specializes in producing search functions which can work for individual databases as well as the entire Internet. (Source:

Microsoft says it currently has a 68% reach among European Internet users (which appears to mean the company can communicate to that proportion through its websites and advertising), but says that isn't enough.

According to Microsoft's Satya Nadella, "Searchers have different expectations and experiences in every geography in the world, so we believe it is critical to make deep investments in physical locations in multiple markets to ensure that we're applying the best local expertise to our research and development efforts." (Source:

There doesn't seem to be much specific evidence to back the theory that people in different countries have radically different demands from a search engine. But having a remote location and a new set of experts may give the company a fresh perspective and some new strategies for the search engine wars.

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