Now that the "Microsoft Service Credits for Web Search" cat is out of the bag, Microsoft officials are sharing more details about the program, designed to convince enterprise customers to use Microsoft's Live Search technology.
The program works like this: Microsoft pays a company a low, medium or high fee (something between $2 to $10 percomputer annually, plus a $25K "enrollment credit") for agreeing to get its users to try Microsoft's Live Search for their Web-querying needs for a year. The more incentives to which a company commits (making Internet Explorer the default browser; getting the CEO to send out e-mail encouragements to get users to switch, etc.), the more Microsoft money the participanting company will accrue.
Microsoft plans to sign up 30 companies in North America, Europe and Japan by the end of March to participate in the year-long trial program, said Adam Sohn, director of global sales and marketing PR. Microsoft is targeting companies with a minimum of 5,000 PCs per organization for the Web-search promotional trial.
Once a company agrees to participate, it will install an Internet Explorer "browser helper object" on users' desktops so that Microsoft can measure the volume of search queries emanating from each participating customer. Sohn emphasized that Microsoft will not be monitoring the search terms for which users are querying or be collecting any other personal data. Microsoft will be gathering only the raw number of queries per participating organization, he said.
It will be up to each participant's management as to how users are encouraged/required to deploy the Live Search products at work, Sohn said. It will be each company's corporate IT department -- not Microsoft -- that is charged with deploying the Microsoft technologies and/or switching users over from existing search pages, browsers and toolbars, Sohn said.
The program is focused on Live Search and the Windows Live Toolbar only, Sohn continued. There are no plans to add incentives for corporate adoption of other Windows Live services in this initial year-long program.
Ultimately, however, if the program is useful, Microsoft will look to expand it in a "manageable way," Sohn said. At the same time, Microsoft views the Web-search incentive program as just one promotional vehicle for Windows Live, he said. The company plans to continue to work on other Live preload deals, like the one announced earlier this week with Lenovo, as well as to use traditional advertising/marketing channels to get the word out on Live, Sohn said.
With these additional details, are you interested, corporate users? Or avoiding this one like the plague?