Evidence that competition breeds innovation

Summary:Look no further than what's going on in the search arena. There is clear evidence that having multiple players competing aggressively is an optimal state.

Look no further than what's going on in the search arena. There is clear evidence that having multiple players competing aggressively is an optimal state. Everyday, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and a host of other large and small players are leapfrogging one another with new features and even some significant innovations. Of course, the leapfrogging is predicated on the fact that there's lots of money at stake for the vendors and pride that motivates the engineers to stay up all night solving difficult problems. Search is a fundamental technology, like the network itself, but it's not a commodity just because its free and ubiquitous. In fact, while there is much improvement in search--local search, personalized search, metasearch, video search, desktop search, etc.--it is still primitive, and not very capable at Trivial Pursuit. Google has a 52-percent search referral rate, according to Websidestory, but I doubt that gives the Googlers much comfort. As Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put it recently: "Well, if anyone thinks innovation is done in search, you're wrong. Does anyone here really believe search is going to look like it does now in 10 years?" He claimed that Microsoft would catch Google in terms of relevancy in results in the next six months. That's just the kind of challenge needed to incite the search vendors to do their best work and keep their collective feet on the accelerator...

Topics: Browser

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