The NY Times today looks at Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s anti-Microsoft mindset – one that well predates his tenure at Google (he came up at Sun Microsystems, as anti a Microsoft shop as Apple):
In an interview in November, Mr. Schmidt said he understood the comparison [between the two behemoths] but that it “rankled” him.
“Microsoft was found guilty in a federal court,” he said. The big software maker, he argued, illegally maintained its Windows monopoly by stifling rivals. “Fundamentally, they blocked people from entering their ecosystem.”
“At Google,” Mr. Schmidt added, “we had a long conversation about, if we became a big company, how could we avoid that. There are a lot of technical things we can do and have done. But the one that we decided that was most important was not to trap user data. That is important because” if you can move your data from Google, “you always have a choice to go to a competitor of Google. That is absolutely not true in Microsoft’s history.”
Posted by Laura Dawson, 3:00 pm, Comments (0)
The Book Standard just announced that Ingram Digital will be partnering with Microsoft’s Live Search Books:
Ingram will provide high-volume scanning, content acquisition, metadata management and account management for publishers in Microsoft’s program….Ingram will also offer publishers the option to access print-on-demand capabilities from Lightning Source, and digital distribution capabilities through e-book delivery services MyiLibrary and Vital Source Technologies.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 1:06 pm, Comments (0)
The big news, of course, is that Microsoft’s Windows Live Search is live. Cliff Guren explained all the features today, and it’s very similar to Google Book Search except for this important differentiator – no scanning of books with dubious copyright status. Microsoft scans books that are out-of-copyright, and publishers submit in-copyright books for inclusion (giving their permission for scanning).
There’s no cost to publishers for the service. And there’s no print functionality, or even cut-and-paste functionality, in the search: "As we all know," Guren says, "hacks run amok." So expect a few wiseasses to create end-runs around the protections that Microsoft has installed.
Publishers are able to control how much of a book they want consumers to see – including blocking certain pages from view altogether (in the case of a mystery, for example), or images to which they don’t have the rights.
Guren admitted that the primary reason behind Windows Live is competition with Google for "query share" – which has a heavy influence on ad revenue. Look for a Windows Live demonstration at the Crystal Palace – which sounds like a brothel but is really a section of Javits.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 11:30 pm, Comments (0)
Speaking of DRM, it’s pretty widely reported that Microsoft is talking to record labels about DRM-free music for Zune. At this point, that could be the killer app behind Zune – it’s just not taking off in the same way iPods have (Apple just announced that iPod sales have topped 100 million).
We know never to count Microsoft out, but 100 million is a really big head start for Apple. Do you know anybody who has a Zune?
Posted by Laura Dawson, 7:41 am, Comments (0)
Bill McCoy reports this morning in his blog that Microsoft has pulled out of the International Digital Publishing Forum. His feeling is that the open standards of the IPDF run up against Microsoft’s desire for a "Windows-Vista-centric" lock on digital publishing:
Since Microsoft has obviously set out on a path to unilaterally establish a digital publishing platform tied to their monopoly OS platform, why should they support open standards and an inclusive process that involves publishers as more than just passive recipients of the latest Microsoft technologies?
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:19 am, Comments (0)
It’s a day for smackdowns, and Google’s in about six rings at once. This morning, IT World discusses the Microsoft-Google wrangle, where Microsoft is being very careful in its Windows Live Book Search to pursue copyright permissions before digitizing, while Google is digitizing first and asking questions later. Dan Blacharski notes:
Google’s Book Search probably doesn’t violate the spirit of copyright law, but there is a grey area that still has to be defined, and there’s room for argument. There’s absolutely no question as to the legitimacy of Microsoft Live Book Search. Microsoft seeks permission first, then indexes. Google indexes first, then sorts it all out later. From the perspective of fairness to copyright holders, Microsoft leaves nothing open for debate.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:11 am, Comments (0)
As might be expected, Google did not take Tom Rubin’s remarks lying down. Says David Drummond, chief legal officer at Google (and yes, they need a chief legal officer given all the groundbreaking work they are doing):
"In the publishing industry alone, we work with more than 10,000 partners around the world to make their works discoverable online…."We do this by complying with international copyright laws, and the result has been more exposure and in many cases more revenue for authors, publishers and producers of content."
VNUNet has the story.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 10:01 am, Comments (0)
The WSJ today announced that Christopher Payne, one of the founders of Windows Live, is leaving Microsoft to start his own company. This comes on the heels of the conflagration caused by Microsoft at the annual AAP meeting, where associate general counsel Tom Rubin gave an address accusing Google of disrespecting copyright law – the implication being, of course, that Windows Live search would be far more careful with its book search than Google Books was being.
Says the Journal:
Historically, Microsoft’s MSN service had relied on Yahoo for its search results. Under Mr. Payne’s team, MSN set off in 2003 to build its own search engine, eventually switching off Yahoo
Since that time, Microsoft’s online unit has steadily lost market share. In January Microsoft held just 8.9% of the U.S. search market, handling only 2.5% more search queries than a year earlier, according to NetRatings Inc. By comparison Google handled 40.6% more queries over the same period for a 53.7% market share, the research firm said. Microsoft ranks third in market share behind Google and Yahoo.
Posted by Laura Dawson, 9:43 am, Comments (0)