Microsoft to buy ciao.com

September 1, 2008 | 13:03

Tags: #froogle #live #live-search

Companies: #google #microsoft

Microsoft has entered into a deal to buy Greenfield Online, better known as the big corporate behind the ciao.com price comparison site that always clutters up your search results when looking for an item, for $486 million.

The move is seen by many as an attempt to bolster the Live Search platform since Yahoo snubbed Microsoft's overtures earlier this year – with this deal represented a snip compared to the $47.5 billion the company was prepared to pay for Yahoo.

According to figures obtained by the New York Times, Microsoft's Live Search platform has a scant 2 percent market share here in Europe, with a not-much-better 9 percent worldwide. This compares poorly with Google's 79 percent and 62 percent respectively. Google, of course, has its own shopping comparison engine already in place.

The vice president for Windows and online services at Microsoft, Tami Reller, said of the deal that the “passionate consumer community based on intuitive technology and extensive merchant relationships” at ciao.com should help to “delivery incremental benefit to the Microsoft Live Search Platform.

The giant of Redmond won't be keeping all of Greenfield for itself, however – besides the technologies and content behind ciao.com, Greenfield also is responsible for a consumer survey service which Microsoft can't find a use for. Accordingly, this part of the company will be sold to what the NYT describes as “an unnamed financial buyer.”

The deal is set to close in the fourth quarter of this year, but the question is: will the integration of a shopping comparison engine into Live Search be enough to take on the might of Google? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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