MSN France will be one of the top five portals in France by next year with one of the most used search engines, according to Steve Petitpas, general manager at MSN France.
Speaking to Le Journal du Net
, he claimed that six months ago MSN was placed tenth in the top portal chart, with the fourth highest viewing rate. While this is a good position to be in, he said, we want to be in the top five and will use the MSN search engine to attract surfers.
Analysts are less optimistic about MSN France's chances in conquering the French market.
Local players are likely to perform better than US sites, said Fabienne Schwalbe, director general at MMXI Europe.
She claimed sites of US origin fare better in UK and German markets as homegrown portals better serve French cultural needs.
Hellen Omwando, analyst at Forrester Research, agreed. She said: "As France is an underdeveloped market it is still has potential for great growth but it is really the French portals that will benefit from that as they will get the advertising revenue more than foreign invaders. It is important that to be in the top five players as you get the top advertising revenue."
While search tools are important, she added, email is still the biggest crowd-puller. "Search is not more important than email, which is the killer app - especially for MSN with its Hotmail. The whole reason it gained momentum in the market is because of this."