Friday, December 05, 2008

Some quick thoughts on Qi Lu's new appointment

Qi Lu, a former high profile Yahoo, joined Microsoft to help the traditional software giant fighting against the newly rising Google. I have a few quick thoughts of this news in the following. Readers who are interested in learning more of this news can read more reports from TechMeme. In particular, Kara Swisher at BoomTown had a unique interpretation of Ballmer's email.

(1) Congratulation to Qi! Great move, personally. Especially as a Chinese myself, I sincerely wish him the best being a great China-born technology leader.

(2) Will Live Search be reformed under the new leadership and be able to compete to Google? Cautiously, I doubt. Allow me be straight. If Qi has not led a compelling plan to compete Google under the visionary leadership of Jerry Yang, could he accomplish this hard assignment under the practical leadership of Steve Ballmer? Unquestionably Qi is a great Guru in the realm of search engine design and operation. However, it is impossible to defeat Google by following the Google way (i.e. the traditional thinking of Web search). Is the experiences that Microsoft lacks at this moment? I question it. Microsoft does not lack of experiences; and experiences can hardly help Microsoft fight Google. What Microsoft lacks is, ironically, the opposite, i.e., the less-experienced fresh soul of innovation. We have to be realistic that there are not many Steve Jobs in this world. Therefore, though I am pleased of Qi's appointment and believe in Qi's contribution to Live Search, this appointment is less than enough for Microsoft to threat Google.

(3) Microsoft seems having abandoned the plan of purchasing the Yahoo Search. It is good for Microsoft; and it is good for Yahoo. I am still looking forward to the newest experiments of BOSS and Search Monkey Yahoo is performing. The worst thing is that they might become another PowerSet.


Anonymous said...

disagree that MS needs fresh out-of-box-thinking genius. MS needs to put resources to only a few digital battle fields. It will fail again, if MS continues to compete with Google from all directions. Focus is the key.

and disagree that MS will give up the plan to take over Yahoo. Qi's assignment at MS just underlines the MS' intention to approach Yahoo again. For what else is Qi's true value at MS, if lack of expereince is not a topic for MS?

Yihong Ding said...

There are ambiguous interpretations of the word "experience". I am sorry of this confusion. I should have already explained the word more clearer in the post. It's my mistake.

Certainly I do not question Qi's appointment itself. I just want to say that we (or more precisely MS) might not need to be too excited about this appointment because itself is less than enough to leverage Live Search.

The "experience" has two folds of meanings.

First, if it means the experience of leadership of overseeing a Web search product, you are right and I am not against it at all. Qi's appointment is valuable to MS since MS needs such an experienced manager to lead its search product.

Second, if the experience means the thoughts of designing a competitive new-generation service so that it can really start to threat Google, I doubt whether this appointment can work. As I said, if Qi has not figured out a solution with Jerry, is Steve a more magic name?

Thus, Qi should have brought the leadership experience (if MS does lack of this experience). But I question whether Qi may bring enough innovative experience to the Live Search.

About whether Qi's appointment represents MS's interest towards Yahoo. I think it is just a personal opinion. If you interpret it to be an increased interest, I respect your thought.