Microsoft focusing on tech, not search war

REDMOND, WA: Microsoft wants everyone to know that its new search engine could revolutionize the way they use their computers. But first it must get past the media's obsession with the search engine wars.

REDMOND, WA: Microsoft wants everyone to know that its new search engine could revolutionize the way they use their computers. But first it must get past the media's obsession with the search engine wars.

Before Microsoft unveiled its search technology last week, most mainstream media keenly anticipated over the prospect of a battle with Yahoo and Google.

"If you've been waiting to watch Microsoft and Google duke it out in the search arena, tomorrow's your day," wrote the San Jose Mercury News the day before the launch.

CNET commented on how the new technology will compete directly with Google, as did the Associated Press and numerous other media reports.

"This is not about a search war," countered Kathy Gill, an SVP with Microsoft's lead agency, Waggener Edstrom. "We're talking about how this search engine helps people find what they are looking for and enables them to do things they can't with other search engines."

"If you look at the next five to 10 years, we're just getting started with search," added Wag Ed EVP Colleen Lacter. "The potential is amazing. That's what we want to talk about."

Wag Ed and Microsoft have been working with a key group of influencers since this summer to gear up for the launch. Post-launch outreach will go far beyond business and trade publications to reach potential users, regardless of how they want to use search, from the web to finding photos on their desktop.

"We're [saying that] the way you use your computer will change," said Lacter. "Search will be at the heart and soul of everything you do. And we're going to focus on the innovation, value, and benefits that Microsoft brings to that."

BusinessWeek.com pointed out that Google handles 49% of US internet searches, up from 41% eight months ago, according to internet analytics firm WebSideStory. Yahoo handles 24%. Before the launch of its proprietary search software, Microsoft licensed technology from Yahoo and handled 14% of US internet searches.

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