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Microsoft Has Lost $5.5 Billion On Bing Since 2009

Unknown Lamer posted more than 3 years ago | from the feed-the-cash-fired-stove dept.

Google 217

Landing on slashdot for the first time, MightyMartian writes "According to CNN Money, Microsoft has lost $5.5 billion on Bing since its launch in 2009. But it gets even better. If you include Microsoft's other online offerings, all the way back to 2007, the losses are somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 billion. But not to worry, analysts expect Bing to become profitable in 'three to four years.'"

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It's an investment. (5, Insightful)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459570)

Google is in the same situation elsewhere - they're spending LOTS of money to try to gain market share in Russia and China, but so far they're being crushed by the local giants Yandex and Baidu. These companies see it as a long-term campaing and have the means and money to do it. After all, it's still a lot easier to try to gain market share now than it will be in 20-30 years. Even if things are quite laid down now, they will be even more so all the time when time passes.

It's also just corporate finances. Even if Microsoft's online division loses money, it gains them recognizition and sales elsewhere. The one good thing about Microsoft is that they tend to stick to what they started. It's not like Google who might just cancel the product you're using the next day.

So if they don't keep investing to it now, they're basically letting Google have 99% of western search engine market. I really don't want that happen either - competition is good.

Re:It's an investment. (0)

mhh91 (1784516) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459654)

The one good thing about Microsoft is that they tend to stick to what they started. It's not like Google who might just cancel the product you're using the next day.

Yeah, they really stuck to VB6 and silverlight.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459710)

Or Bob. Good luck calling Microsoft and asking for support after you accidentally moved the fire out of the fireplace and on to the sofa.

Re:It's an investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459744)

And Zune, and PlaysForSure, and Vista...

Re:It's an investment. (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461366)

Don't forget Kin...

Re:It's an investment. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459772)

VB6 is still in extended support after 13 years and Silverlight is still going.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460200)

VB6 is still in extended support after 13 years and Silverlight is still going.

VB6 I'll grant you, and I wouldn't have used that as an example myself. However, while it hasn't been killed off, Silverlight has been blatantly sidelined from its original marketed intent of being a Flash-killer.

One may argue that MS made the right decision there, but it doesn't alter the fact that they changed their minds!

While Silverlight still remains in some form as one of the development platforms for Windows Phone 7, I don't know how similar that version is to the Flash-killer, how much overlap there is between the two uses and how meaningfully one may transfer their skills to that use.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460396)

Completely forget about Netflix and Hulu? And the countless amount of TV channels that use Silverlight on their websites, even in my country. Silverlight offers DRM while Flash doesn't, and that's why it will stay relevant even with Flash and HTML5 video.

Re:It's an investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460476)

I wonder how Netflix & Hulu work on iOS?

Re:It's an investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460568)

There's no Silverlight on Netflix for the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Apple TV, Boxee, Roku, televisions, BluRay Players, etc.

There's also no Netflix available for my Mac as far as I'm concerned. Install Microsoft crap on my Mac? Why the hell would I do that?

Re:It's an investment. (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460788)

Huh? Hulu uses Flash here in the states, which does, in fact, offer DRM.

Netflix does use silverlight for PC streaming though (which blows). I suspect that has more to do with Reed Hastings being on the board at MSFT.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

wickedskaman (1105337) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461176)

Why does it blow? It works as advertised...

Re:It's an investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460150)

The one good thing about Microsoft is that they tend to stick to what they started. It's not like Google who might just cancel the product you're using the next day.

Yeah, they really stuck to VB6 and silverlight.

In case you don't know how this works, you were supposed to pick something useful. You don't complain about the loss of inferior products that no one used anyway.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460634)

Silverlight never really got off the ground except for Netflix. However, VB6 was an extremely widely used product, and its discontinuance caused a great deal of trouble for many real-world organizations.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460330)

Isn't this also the same strategy they used for the Xbox?

Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (1)

PeterM from Berkeley (15510) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459668)

I'm not so sure that you have it right when you say "Even if Microsoft's online division loses money, it games them recognition and sales elsewhere."

Microsoft has a near-monopoly on the operating system and office productivity. Isn't that how they make nearly all their money? How does Bing help with that?

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459716)

That's Microsoft's big problem. There's nowhere to go but down...

Frankly, I think dumping 9 billion bucks into your online offerings and still not being able to shake an any substantial way the market leader, no matter how you measure it, cannot be referred to as a successful strategy. I suspect that, if you include all of Microsoft's expenditures all the way back to its original MSN portal back in the Win95/Win98 days, the amount of money it has spent is far more than nine billion dollars.

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460562)

They seem to have run out of ideas, like Dell in the hardware space. Waiting for someone to spot/create a market and then validate by growing it before making any move means you're always simply too late. It's not fatal in hardware, or even in software, but in online where network effects are even stronger, 2 years late = very uphill battle. See Windows Phone, bing, Azure, ...

MS need to be first... somewhere... and then milk that relentlessly, like Google is doing with search and online profiling.

Buying Skype is a way to buy "first" at something.

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460606)

First to ruin Skype???

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (1)

fronti (678492) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459720)

they also have as online service azure and office356. for these bing might help as it is also an online service. Also not sure if hotmail isn't profitable.. here bing can help also to search messages and display ads like google do.

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459794)

Do you really think they're going to get more exposure for, say Office365 on Bing then they would if they just bought ads off of Google, or hell, just put ads in major newspapers?

Re:Not so sure that Bing makes M$ money elsehwere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37461272)

Well, they've put Bing in Windows Phone and soon in Xbox. More features = more consumer interest = more sales. I know that when I saw my friend's WP mango phone with Bing integrated, I went out and bought one. So, they've made $49 off me :)

Re:It's an investment. (5, Informative)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459726)

Microsoft "stick" to what they started? Seems to me that they throw out shit all the time. Bing is a perfect example of where they also throw out customer-facing services. Just a few years ago it was "Live Search," which failed terribly as a brand, so they threw it out and started paying people [clubbing.com] to use Bing to pump up their search rankings.

You may also remember Microsoft Zune and Kin. Perhaps you blinked and missed those?

Or maybe you just notice the Google ones more because, like me, you find them more useful and thus actually feel the impact when they shutdown a project.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

riley (36484) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459738)

Hailstorm, Silverlight, Passport, MSN, Bob...

MS is the same as any other large company. Outside of their proven revenue generators, they throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks. Not that I mind competition in any space, but still...

Re:It's an investment. (2)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460182)

Silverlight is actually great for line of business apps, but you'd never know it because they are only going to be found in corporate intranets.

It's hugely popular though, and a great platform for what we use it for. We tried going down the Java road and saw the costs and timelines... said "fuck it" and got the Silverlight project done underbudget and ahead of time. Now I'm just waiting for my bonus that will never come :p

Re:It's an investment. (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460254)

Microsoft has been removing Silverlight from their own websites and replacing it with HTML5. And Metro Tiles and Windows App Store apps won't support Silverlight. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest your project probably could have been accomplished with Ruby. JS, Python or a number of other technologies just as fast.

Re:It's an investment. (2)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460362)

Sure it could, but then we have no baseline for performance either. Silverlight sandboxes everything so we know exactly what result we are going to get. Plus, we have no ruby/python developers in house, only Java/.NET, and Silverlight was the lesser of two evils for us.

Re:It's an investment. (5, Insightful)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459748)

The one good thing about Microsoft is that they tend to stick to what they started.

...unless you're a developer.

How many platforms has Microsoft killed in a short timeframe in the name of the future?

Re:It's an investment. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460302)

Almost zero. Seriously, what do you even have in mind?

Re:It's an investment. (1)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460380)

Workflow Foundation 3.5

Re:It's an investment. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460770)

Well I know /. had a article just a month or two ago about closing down .net or one of there other developer things.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37461024)

Well I know /. had a article just a month or two ago about closing down .net or one of there other developer things.

Which was posted by someone who had no clue what they were talking about.

What was happening was that Microsoft was originally pushing Silverlight as the "Next Big Thing", but then realized that HTML5 was the REAL "Next Big Thing", so they stopped pushing Silverlight so hard.

This does not mean Silverlight is dead. And, of course, many Slashtards confused "Silverlight" with ".NET" and started spouting off about Microsoft killing .NET, which is an absolutely preposterous claim.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460426)

Clearly at least one too few, they still haven't managed to chase off all them pesky developers.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460318)

It also gains them a tax write-off.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460746)

Competition is good, but Bing is hardly worthy competition.

Re:It's an investment. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460858)

From a utility perspective, Bing doesn't have to be competitive. If Microsoft can force market share through other manipulations, it all amounts to the same thing in the end. Except, of course, for the users, but they don't count.

Re:It's an investment. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37461010)

Its a pretty poor one if so.. There is a known issue in Bing Webmaster tools where Sitemaps are in a permanent pending mode. Apparently its a known issue, but rather than fixing it (we've had it for a few months now), they've been working on adding Yahoo support and such.

I would have thought that surely the ability to scrape sitemaps properly would be an important feature

Re:It's an investment. (0)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461152)

Google is in the same situation elsewhere - they're spending LOTS of money to try to gain market share in Russia and China

Isn't that illegal? I mean their product is free and they're forcing other players out of the market, by using money obtained from completely unrelated activities.

Bill Gates (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459614)

Is worse than Hitler.

A good thing... (5, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459626)

This is a good thing because the search business is really cut throat and the cost of entry is too high for anyone else. Atleast Google is kept on toes by Bing, and people looking to get away from the increasingly all-encompassing Google have a second choice.

Re:A good thing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459920)

I'd say Google are misusing a dominant position in the search engine business to crush competition in all their other business areas (online advertising for example).

Re:A good thing... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459952)

I'm a little confused. How do you do that on something like the web, where you can't actually force anybody to go to your website?

Re:A good thing... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460278)

In a sense you can with defaults in software. If your OS and/or browser default to a certain page, then many users either won't make the effort to change it, or don't know how to. Where I work, msn.com is the home page on every company computer by default. So even when people want to hit internal sites, they end up generating a page view for msn.com first.

Re:A good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460316)

When did "to lazy to do it" became "forced to do it"?

Re:A good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460554)

Around the same time people became to lazy to go to netscape.com and download a browser.

Re:A good thing... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460388)

Considering that the vast bulk of PCs purchased in the last fifteen years default to one iteration or another of Microsoft's web portal, can you explain to me how that means Google can abuse its market position?

Re:A good thing... (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460434)

That's the weird thing. The EU saw this as Microsoft abusing OS and browser market share to force people into their web offerings, forcing them to offer choice of default search engines. But every Fortune 500 company I've worked for still forces all their employees to use IE and defaults to Microsoft offerings through group policy. All those enterprise desktops add up.

In the US, the DoJ has accused Google of abusing market share by having their web sites linking to their own web sites. Yahoo and Microsoft however have done nothing wrong, though they do the exact same things. Different people look at the same situation through different biases to come to the conclusions they want.

Re:A good thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460060)

That is exactly what would drive people away from their search engine and fairly quickly.

Re:A good thing... (1)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460122)

and people looking to get away from the increasingly all-encompassing Google have a second choice.

And that choice is a plucky underdog by the name of... Microsoft.

Woot?

Re:A good thing... (3, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460360)

The cost of entry is very low. Getting 0.1% of marketshare is cheap, and would get you enough money to climb to 1% and so on.

It is expensive to get the capacity of Google from day 1 but the budget to start a decent moderate-traffic search engine is not null but is within the reach of thousands of companies.

Re:A good thing... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460576)

and people looking to get away from the increasingly all-encompassing Google have a second choice.

When did they get rid of Yahoo, Alta Vista and Lycos?

It worked with the XBOX (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460730)

MS took a lot of arrows when the XBOX came out and they lost a ton of money... I think they are profitable now.

Re:It worked with the XBOX (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461102)

MS took a lot of arrows when the XBOX came out and they lost a ton of money... I think they are profitable now.

Last I saw they were making a small operating profit but were still a long way from paying back the development costs. And they'll have to build a new Xbox soon unless they want games to continue looking like a PC from 2005.

Re:It worked with the XBOX (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461266)

They are no longer losing money year over year, but they are nowhere near making back the initial investment. And there is no guarantee at all that they ever will -- it will take them many more years and it seems extremely likely that before then games will no longer be played on consoles, in favor of e.g. mobile devices connected to TVs and controllers by wifi.

Second choice? (1)

6031769 (829845) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461156)

I hate to break it to you, but Bing has a very long way to go to make it that far up the list.

No, you mean... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459666)

"It gets worse" - Oh wait. This isn't a new story, its a bash microsoft opportunity.

Grow up slashdot. you were cool when I first started visiting, this is getting old hat and microsoft isn't going away, freebsd isn't dead and Linux *still* isn't on my everyone's desktop

(5 digit ID, cant be bothered logging in, posted from Ubuntu)

Re:No, you mean... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459966)

Would you like CNN's phone number so you can bitch to them directly?

Just a little while (5, Funny)

tsa (15680) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459684)

"Analysts expect Bing to become profitable in 'three to four years."

That's about as long as it takes for Linux to reach the desktop.

At the current burn rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459840)

At the current burn rate of $1B/quarter, that's only $12-16B more before they break even. What a deal!

Re:Just a little while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459876)

"Analysts expect Bing to become profitable in 'three to four years."

That's about as long as it takes for Linux to reach the desktop.

Bollox. Linux desktop will never happen, it's been happening for about 8 years now. It simply isn't going to happen, ever. But then when you dominate just about every other platform and architecture, does it really matter whether people are using it to watch porn on their PC, and do the odd bit of browsing? The desktop is slowly, very slowing, dying in the home. We have HDTV and umpteen media boxen that'll do what most people want. Failing that, smartphones and tablets/pads are picking up the slack. (PC gamers excluded).

Re:Just a little while (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459928)

I think you've pretty much hit in on the head. In five or ten years, will anyone give a shit that Linux didn't take a big chunk of the desktop market? It simply won't matter. Most home users, save for specific kinds of hobbyists (ie. gamers) will either be using discrete devices like smartphones and tablets or being using their entertainment systems (smart TVs, or hell, some punched up variant of the bloody Raspberry).

Re:Just a little while (1)

ZPWeeks (990417) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459994)

Someone's sarcasm detector broke...

You are correct sir. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460166)

You are correct sir.

Re:Just a little while (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460212)

>Linux desktop will never happen

I actually disagree. I have been following linux for ages (since about 95). And yes each and every year we say it will be the year of Linux. Well I think the year of Linux for me was 2011, three days ago for me. I have used Linux on and off throughout the years, and I always crawl back to Windows.

But now the processors are fast and powerful enough where apps like VMWare just work. There is also enough Linux software out there that you can get things done on Linux. And for the things that don't work on Linux I have VMWare with its Unity, or VirtualBox with its Seamless.

Others have shifted to OSX, which I really don't care for. I shifted to Linux and have to say that Linux on the desktop is finally possible...

BTW desktops will not die! I always love to hear how people say that desktops will die. Yet they still produce the darn things. Sure they are not a high margin fast market. They are a mature market. I see it with myself I have two smart phones, two tablets, a kindle and a bunch of notebooks and desktops. What is happening is that I keep hardware longer...

Re:Just a little while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460338)

The Year of the Linux Desktop was 2008. That was the year Ubuntu became significantly easier to use than the current Windows of the time (Vista) for people unfamiliar with both. Everything prior to 2008 for desktop Linux looks horribly amateurish and hacked-together, or just too darn nerdy for most people; since then there have at least been sane defaults and nice configuration options.

Re:Just a little while (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460490)

Same here, the main things I do on my computer I can now do with either virtualization or a quick reboot. The last few things I was doing with Windows are either things which I don't need to do on a daily basis or which can be run in Wine. And if that fails, I can always boot up a surplused copy of Windows and virtualize it.

Re:Just a little while (1)

spauldo (118058) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460534)

I never understood what the whole "year of the Linux desktop" thing was, anyway.

I've used Linux pretty much exclusively on the desktop since around '97. I usually keep a Windows install around to play games, but that's about it.

For the type of stuff I do on a computer, Linux is what I prefer. The only reason I care about "marketshare" is driver support - the higher the marketshare, the more companies will release drivers and/or documentation for their hardware. There's a small amount of software that has no good replacement on Linux, but I don't need any of it for what I do (except the aforementioned games). I've used Linux in a small office environment, and it works well, as long as you don't have any suits who absolutely have to have Exchange (there really is no good replacement on a UNIX box).

For you, Linux has just now become viable. For many people, it will never be viable. It's all down to your particular requirements. I think it's just fine, but then again I do 90% of my work in xterms and Firefox.

(Ironically, I'm posting in Windows now - I booted it up for the first time in six months and I'm loading updates. Another reason I dislike Windows: Windows Update is slower than molasses in February.)

Re:Just a little while (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460458)

I'm not so sure about that, as MS heats up its timetable for new releases, you're likely to see an increased number of people needing to choose between buying a new computer, leaving it as is with the security holes or moving on to Linux. Considering how ridiculously easy some of the Linux Distros have gotten and how much better the driver support is, it's not that hard to get people using it.

I switched my mother over to Linux because Vista wasn't acting very stable on her hardware, much quicker and fewer complaints about performance.

Re:Just a little while (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460298)

lol, keep telling yourself that.

Re:Just a little while (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460588)

Or sustained fusion to happen.

Re:Just a little while (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461086)

...Wind power to become profitable...

Re:Just a little while (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461100)

...duke nukem forever to come out... Oh, wait. Scratch that.

Re:Just a little while (1)

The Great Pretender (975978) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461388)

Funny that's what they said about linux when Windows ME came out

5.5 Billion? (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459690)

Microsoft...you would have gotten a better ROI building a moon base.

(Now waits for Apple to build a Moon Base)

Re:5.5 Billion? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459750)

Called iMoon, and then Apple promptly sues the Japs and Americans for sending probes there and violating its IP because "they clearly ripped us off by booting thrusters on the ass end..."

Re:5.5 Billion? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461138)

> Microsoft...you would have gotten a better ROI building a moon base.

Yeah, and then at least they'd have had world domination... oh, wait...

Don't forget Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459810)

Don't forget that for YEARS Amazon was running at a massive loss. The current strategy for market domination seems to be: spend like a crazy fucker for years on end, bleed money at every turn, but keep building your audience and refining your product until your own the market.

Re:Don't forget Amazon (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459874)

Microsoft has been trying to build a web portal for what now? Fifteen years or so? If throwing money at this problem were all it took, they'd own the web by now. And as the article notes, at least some of its increased market share has come from Yahoo, which is using the Bing engine, which means they're basically cannibalizing their largest web infrastructure customer.

If I start eating my own body parts, does that mean a net increase in protein?

Re:Don't forget Amazon (4, Informative)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459924)

You seem to be underestimating the time bing has been around, it was launched on June 3, 2009, it's already been bleeding money for 2 years straight (and that's of course pretending it didn't exist as livesearch for years before that), and profitability is still not in visible reach yet.

Re:Don't forget Amazon (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460524)

Amazon was operating during a period of stupidly low standards for businesses. A more sane approach would have been to build up the business more slowly. They didn't need to take that approach because the market was flooded with investment capital, to the point where many firms would get money without any idea as to how to turn their idea profitable.

In MS' case, they've got few places they can spend the money they make from their primary businesses. It's either invest in something like search or concede that further growth isn't possible and just start issuing most of the money back in the form of dividends.

Re:Don't forget Amazon (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461236)

But how long can MS expect its shareholders to put up with it just pissing money down every hole in the hopes that somehow it will stumble on another magic money printing machine? Their attempts to gain web dominance have surely seen them throw away a lot more than nine billion dollars, that's for Bing and its Live Search antecedent. They've been trying to muscle in to this market for years. If I were an investor, I'd seriously start asking what I was getting out of these vast bold money hemorrhaging products.

Re:Don't forget Amazon (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460636)

That's easy to do when interest rates are low and you can borrow lots of money easily. In fact that's the whole point of having said low interest rates in the first place. Governments see this as "stimulating the economy". Whether it's actual growth or just reckless behavior however remains to be seen.

Profitable - only if they support developers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37459818)

Hmm... maybe profitable in the future. It's not a bad engine, and the API is great. However, their support (see their developers' forum) is abysmal, and slow. Microsoft, if you want people to develop on the Bing API, improve your support!

The marketing isn't helping (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459820)

The first few commercials were creepy in lieu of quirky and I chalked it up to a fluke.

But they haven't gotten any less creepy. I actually feel like I'm getting germs whenever I use anything with the Bing logo on it.

Re:The marketing isn't helping (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460532)

If you think those are creepy, you should see the rejected ad for the Zune. Colored paint shooting out of a guys ass onto a wall. Yeah, it got rejected... but it kinda makes you wonder where the threshold is. MS has terrible marketing. The downside to their lock-in on Windows, I suppose: they aren't used to having to market their product any more.

3 to 4 years? (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459836)

That's like 3-4 generations, in technology...

Wow (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459896)

That's a lot of Bing bling.

Don't worry (1)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459926)

They'll make up for it in volume.

New name (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37459984)

Bling-Bling? Money wasted on shiny object...

My experience with Bing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460094)

The only times I've tried Bing and Bing Maps, it would give no results to searches Google would have no problem with. Never bingin' again.

Re:My experience with Bing (1)

creat3d (1489345) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460112)

Damn, forgot to log in.

Bing Cashback (1)

ProppaT (557551) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460286)

I wonder if Bing Cashback payouts are included in the losses? If you frequent any deal sites, they gave away a metric crapton of cash trying to push Bing as a shopping search engine. I'm sure they just considered this marketing. In all fairness, it worked to some degree. While Google is still my most used search engine, if I'm on a computer that's set up to default to Bing...I'll actually use Bing. It's a good search engine and I wouldn't have known that had I not participated in so many Bing Cashback deals. I still prefer Google, but if I'm just looking for quick results, why even bother to switch over if Bing's already loaded?

Monty python (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460314)

The billion dollar machine that goes "BING".

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460416)

Back when microsoft bid on yahoo. Stolen from here on slashdot i think.

--
Earth to Microsoft: Yahoo! is not worth $44 billion.
You could buy General Motors lock, stock, and barrel for $14 billion, name all the cars "Google Sucks,"
and get more bang for the buck. Heck, you'd have enough left over to buy Ford for around $16 billion,
and you could name all those cars "Google Sucks More" and still have $14 billion left over for a big party
--

Seems to apply to bing as well. lol

Interesting Twist (1)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460418)

Never really thought about it before, but this really shows how hard it is for an upstart to get a new idea into the tech world. The Google's & Microsoft's can afford to lose $9,000,000,000 before the product begins to turn a profit. A new company with a great web service idea, can't. The new kids on the block either need to have great marketing (for cheap) or an idea that hits the sweet spot long before any big company realizes the value of that idea.

Re:Interesting Twist (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460572)

I don't think the situation was that different a decade ago when Google began its rise to the top. It was battling a nest of pretty embedded and dominant market players; Yahoo being at the top of that list. Google didn't have vast amounts of cash reserves or huge amounts of capital, but it did have a unique design paradigm and, most importantly, a product that actually delivered far better than anyone else. It built things up as it went along, rather than starting with huge fistfuls of money to throw at the problem. I'm sure at some point they'll become the next Microsoft, and maybe, to some extent, it's already happening. But this idea that building a successful web site requires huge sums of money is pure bunk. I look at sites like Google and Facebook, and its not like their creators had billions in the bank to fund their success, both of them started very modestly indeed.

The reality is that the cost of entry into the web market is pretty damned cheap. Some decent hardware, a tolerably fast connection with a minimum of downtime. If you've got a proper revenue model, or at least a good steady supply of money coming in somehow, you can build capacity as you go along.

Like I said, if money was all it took, then Microsoft should rule the web. I can tell you it's spent a helluva lot more than $9 billion since the MSN portal was first put together in the mid-1990s. Microsoft has battled every dominant search engine/portal since its inception, and has yet to ever come out on top. Bing has been as successful as it has because Microsoft is basically raping Yahoo front ways and back ways to get it. That's sort of like a car manufacturer buying a failing competitor, just so it can stick the competitor's decal on their chassis. Yes, it's a kind of growth, but not a kind of growth that answers the fundamental problem "How do I take on the market leader?"

Microsoft & its Shareholders (4, Insightful)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460430)

I've never seen a company waste so much money just to become a growth stock again. They should have taken the massive amounts of money they spent on XBox and Bing and just given it to the stockholders.

What's Bing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37460796)

What's Bing? I better Google it...

That was, in part, what anti-trust was about (2)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 3 years ago | (#37460964)

...using the billions made from the Windows monopoly to drive competitors out of other markets, another example would be the Xbox which sold for less than the production cost in order to get a foothold in the console market.

Selling Chickens... (1)

jacobsm (661831) | more than 3 years ago | (#37461350)

Sammy: Sol, You’re selling chickens for less than you’re paying for them. How do you make a profit?
Sol: One word, volume!

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