Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Microsoft to open research centres in Europe

A recent news story in the New York Times reveals plans by Microsoft to open 3 new research centers in the UK, France and Germany to improve its Internet search technology. Described as a vote of confidence in the European economy, it also indicates Microsoft's ongoing plans to close the gap with arch-rival Google.

The new 'centers of excellence' will be in London, Paris and Munich, employing several hundred people. The intention is that the new R&D work conducted in Europe will help to improve Microsoft's ability to run Internet searches and to attract a larger share of the search market and therefore the advertising revenue that comes with it, after its failed bid to acquire Yahoo meant that the option of buying share is currently closed.

According to comScore, Google accounts for nearly 80% of Internet searches in Europe, compared to their 60% coverage in the United States. In contrast, Microsoft has barely 1% of the European search market and in some countries it even trails local search engines. In addition to working on improvements to Microsoft’s existing search technology the European centres are also said to be focusing on new types of searches, including queries from mobile devices and searches involving pictures and video.

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