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SMX Advanced: Kevin Johnson of Microsoft

June 3rd, 2008
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Google is the elephant in the keynote.  When I worked at NBC we were negotiating with Microsoft to create a WebMD-like service.  I remember the MS guy across the table at one point said “we don’t think you’re prepared to lose money for ten years”.  He was right.  Sounds like Microsoft is prepared to lose money for ten years on search to try and unseat Google.

He’s talking a lot about their “cash-back” loyalty program.  Seems to me that Microsoft search is on the way to becoming the Discover card of search.  There may soemthing to this.  I just checked one of my client sites’ analytics.  They get about 1,000,000 visits/day and their traffic from Live.com is up 35% over the past two weeks.  Not sure this is because people are getting cash back but it’s interesting.

Danny Sullivan asked Kevin what would be Microsoft online’s perfect tag line.  Kevin replies “software plus services”.  Compare this to “organize the world’s information” and you see why Microsoft has some challenges in search.

The best moment: Many more people in the audience thought Google was “the man” v. Microsoft.


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