Africa 2.0

Big Bing Theory

“But It’s Not Google” is the cheeky acronym some in the tech community have given to Microsoft’s new search engine, Bing. Microsoft has spent $80 million dollars in advertising, hundreds of millions in acquisitions (by acquiring Powerset last year) and over a year in development on a new campaign aimed at supplanting Google as the kings of search. Unfortunately, every article I’ve read in the past 48 hours about the service simply stresses that point (that they want to disrupt Google). Almost no one is talking about how much better, different Bing is, or how noteworthy the product itself is. A look at the two screenshots below will show you why…



It’s just not that different.

Now, there’s probably a strategic reason for this. It’s the same reason why there’s always a Burger King right across the street from a McDonald’s or why Budlight and Miller Light cans look similar. It’s not always a bad thing to be mistaken for your competitor and it seems like Microsoft is attempting to offer a similar search experience to Google, so that people switching for the first time feel comfortable. Right now, I can’t use the service (all I get is a ‘coming soon’ page) but from what I’ve seen in articles like this one (which is actually a glowing review), I have no desire to switch. The problem for me is that there simply is enough differentiating Bing from Google or even Yahoo’s search. And without a competitive advantage, they’re really right back to where they started with the failed MSN Search and the mildly more successful Live Search. Will Microsoft’s strategy to combat Google work? I’m completely indifferent, and if other people feel the same, that doesn’t bode well for Microsoft, at all.

Right now another four-letter word for search comes to mind. Cuil.

This is article is syndicated from facilitates, mentors and incubates entrepreneurs in software in East Africa and Uganda. Their goal is to offer a physical space with a solid internet connection, servers, software and computers that will allow students and recent graduates a place to develop their ideas in a constructive environment with industry professionals outside of school. For more great articles from Appfrica please visit



Begood says:

I beleive this is a well thought of theory, it certainly explains a lot about competition and how enterprises act against each other and try to get the others clients. If you go to… you can read about some Burger King marketing strategies.

Clyde Smith says:

It seems to be evolving a bit. The landing page currently has a photo background which gives a really different look and the results pages are somewhat more colorful as well. Not a radical difference but general audiences need a comfort factor, as you point out.

I'm a true Microsoft hater but I think seeing what happens over the next few months will be worth watching.

That said, there's a lot of radical work going on in search and one would think that someone with deep pockets would take advantage of that.

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