Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Evil Empire’s New Motto: “We’ll Pay You to Like Us”

Microsoft hopes to make gains on Google in the lucrative business of Internet search through a new service that pays consumers who buy items they find through the software company's search service, according to people familiar with the company's plan.

The software maker is rolling out a service called "Live Search cashback" that gives consumers money back on certain purchases of products found through Microsoft's Web search service, the people said.

—The Wall Street Journal

So what happens at Microsoft Board of Directors meetings, anyway?

Does Steve Ballmer PowerPoint them to death?

Do they keep a dozen Glade air fresheners on the table to mask the stench of dead products?

Or do they just lace the ice water with long-term memory loss drugs to keep directors from wondering out loud about the repeated failure of whatever new products are not sufficiently lashed to its aging operating system monopoly to keep Microsoft users just that—Microsoft users?

How else to explain the latest idea—which we are not making up—to pay cash to people not to do a search on Google?

Does anybody on Microsoft’s Board remember the “Dot-Net” initiative—the last time Microsoft was going to revolutionize the Internet?

Gates, in his role as Microsoft's chief software architect, rolled out a retooled company strategy that would integrate its software with the Internet and make it easier to swap information between computing devices.

Among the prototypes were computers that recognize voice and can answer back, a digital book and notepad that can recognize natural handwriting and connect to the Web, and cell phones that let users dictate email.

"The Internet is the starting point," said Gates, and the Web browser is the "universal canvas" upon which the information landscape will be painted.

"It's a bet-the-company thing," Gates said, speaking to several hundred analysts at the…briefing in describing the "dot-net" initiative.

That “bet-the-company thing” happened eight years ago, and as far as I can tell, my
Dell noteback does not “recognize” my voice and “answer back” when Microsoft Word mysteriously freezes and I curse it.

Maybe Carl Icahn is trying to shake up the wrong company.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2008 Not Making This Up LLC

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. The commentary in this blog in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. In fact, it should not be relied upon in making investment decisions, ever. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


buckeye1 said...

Hilarious Jeff! Maybe someone from Microsoft reads your blog and will have an epiphany about how bad they suck.

Tahoe Kid said...

Microsoft's new program strongly suggests Lee Iacocca ("Buy a car-Get a check!") is now in charge of their marketing promotions. I never thought I would see the day that a company like Microsoft would resort to Big 3 type marketing tactics. Long live the K-car!

Greg said...

Isn't this kinda like what Google did with their checkout product? I recall Google provided $50 rebates and more recently $20 rebates for users to buy a product using google check out in attempt to buy share away from PayPal.

Anonymous said...

one of icahn's directors wants to actually pay the publishers to remove themselves from goog index and sign with micro. he figures if they remove the top traffic 25k or so sites from goog (by bribing them some $500k each) they gonna crash goog. go figure

infoage said...

Like it or not, that $32 billion ex-Yahoo fund, can buy a lot of damage to Google. That is how many times Google's annual revenue? Or, better yet, how many years of Google's net income (assuming zero damage from Microsoft's initiative)?

Gone to the blogs said...

I think you're talking a bit above your head on's become the underlying architecture of the Microsoft developer environment, which is a massive ecosystem around the world. While the consumer oriented aspects of dot-net were always a bit nebulous, it's disingenuous to characterize it as some sort of broad failure when it's clear that you don't even really understand what it is!

Also, pay-per-action is much more attractive for advertisers than pay-per-click, which is subject to all sorts of fraud, arbitrage and poor quality. Recognizing this, MSFT is going out there with a leapfrog move that shares the economics of search revenue with the user. You should dig a bit deeper before you write some of your anti-MSFT posts.

Aside from all that, I very much enjoy the blog.

CurmudgeonlyTroll said...

Old Microsoft: performs cashectomy on competition. New Microsoft: performs cashectomy on self.

Jeff Matthews said...

Perfectly said!


karl k said...

Jeff, Gone to the Blogs is're in over your head with you talk about dot-net.

You need to do some Peter Lynch level research...walk into Barnes & Noble, go over to the computer books section, and check out the proportion of books for developers on the MS platform, like dot-net, and, say, JAVA.

Jeff Matthews said...

Björn Michaelsen left a terrific comment on "Evil Empire’s New Motto: “We’ll Pay You to Like Us..." that would have been worth reading.

Unfortunately, he used Yahoo message-board language to make his point.

Too bad.


Björn Michaelsen said...

@JM: Feel free to censor my post. To be honest, I am not a regular reader and just stumbled upon your blog by accident (via a minimsft comment? Im not sure.)

So please forgive me if I wasnt in the know exactly about the adequate language for comments here.

Have Fun,


PS: Yahoo has message boards? ;-)

Jeff Matthews said...

Bjorn: We wouldn't censor the comments even if we could. Blogger doesn't allow it--all or nothing.

But thanks for contributing and I wish you would re-post it. Minus the you-know-what.