Microsoft today announced plans at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival to invest in Live Search in Europe. A new Search Technology Center will open sometime during the next twelve months in Europe. The location of the facility has yet to be determined. A smaller number of engineers is expected to be contributing off-site to the STC from multiple countries, possibly including, for example the UK, France and Germany.
While the press release quotes Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms and Services Division, in saying that
“today Microsoft has 68 percent reach to Internet user throughout Europe”
it is clear that the move comes to disrupt Google’s dominant position in the European search and advertisement market.
The center is modeled after the Search Technology Center that was opened in Beijing,China in October 2005. While working closely with the global Live Search organization the focus is on delivering locally relevant, more intelligent and powerful search experience – something that is still missing for European Live Search customers that currently only have access to the basic Live Search functionality. Many of the Live Search features that are available in the U.S. have yet to make their appearance in Europe – including the recently release Live Search cashback program or the Live Search Farecast functionality.