Guy (with ax to grind?) disses Bing / Kayak deal

By Kip Kniskern | Posted March 7, 2011 18 comments

kayakWe’re sure that Jay Bhatti is probably a very nice guy.  Maybe he doesn’t have much to do after Spock.com was sold, or maybe he misses his old pals in Redmond.  Whatever.  But when a guy guest posts on Business Insider SAI and self titles the post “Ex-Microsoft Employee: 5 Things The Kayak Deal Tells Us About Bing”, even though it’s been years since he was at Microsoft, you kind of have to wonder what his motives are.

Bhatti doesn’t approve of the Bing deal with Kayak, at least not for Bing’s sake.  The same guy who advised Microsoft to drop one of the top 10 web properties in the world (MSN.com), now thinks it’s a bad idea that Satya Nadella was promoted out of Bing, where Qi Lu is in firm control, into Server and Tools, where Bob Muglia just left and the opportunities are far greater.  We’re not sure what that has to do with Kayak, particularly, but he’s mighty upset about it, so go figure.

Bhatti then proceeds to bungle through the details of the deal, apparently not understanding that Kayak will provide flight information only to Bing, and that the Price Predictor technology, a major reason why Microsoft acquired Farecast, is alive and well.  From the Bing announcement on the Kayak deal:

What this means for Bing Travel customers is that, in the coming weeks, travelers will have access to a more comprehensive set of flight itineraries including more airlines, airports and cities; in addition to the unique travel tools Bing Travel provides such as Price Predictor, flexible search, Flights Answers and more.

In an earlier guest post on SAI, Bhatti advised Bing to stop going after the lucrative search vertical markets and instead concentrate on long tail (read: no money) searches.  Now this time he’s upset that Bing has strengthened its up and coming Travel vertical with the Kayak partnership, and somehow sees this as an indication that Bing is no longer interested in verticals.  Eh…what?

To top it off, Bhatti, after complaining two paragraphs previously that Bing is abandoning acquisitions, feels that Bing employees will be “demoralized” by using “someone else’s technology”.  So not acquiring technology from outside is bad, but acquiring technology from a partnership is “demoralizing”?  At least those demoralized employees were probably cheered up a bit by Bhatti’s post, we hope they got a good hearty laugh out of it.  We sure did.

Posted March 7th, 2011 at 1:28 am
Category: Opinion
Tags: Bing
  • http://twitter.com/jamiet Jamie Thomson

    Brilliant post Kip. Articulated my thoughts on Bhatti’s post perfectly. Glad its not just me that thought that.

  • jkth

    Brilliant post Kip. Articulated my thoughts on Bhatti’s post perfectly. Glad its not just me that thought that.

  • http://www.windowsobserver.com/ WinObs

    I would also add that the Bing folks we heard from and met last week at #MVP11 seemed pretty fired up about their product.

  • http://www.windowsobserver.com/ Richard Hay

    I would also add that the Bing folks we heard from and met last week at #MVP11 seemed pretty fired up about their product.

  • John Obeto

    One Man Debunkin’ Cru’ you are, Kip!

  • John Obeto

    One Man Debunkin’ Cru’ you are, Kip!

  • Jay

    Kip – I enjoyed reading your postback response to my article on BI. I would like to answer some of points you raised above.

    1 – I don’t have a ax to grind with MSFT. I worked there for 5 years and have a lot of friends at MSFT. We worked closed with the Bing team on several joint efforts when I started Spock and my experience with the senior team at Bing was enjoyable. My reason for writing the post was to bring attention to the fact that Microsoft is again shifting directions on search and that there is again too much change happening at the leadership ranks.

    2 – I think very highly of Satya Nadella and thought that if he stayed in the search group longer, it would have been better for MSFT in the long term. Stability in the leadership ranks is important and Satya was a very well respected leader in the search group. There are plenty of other top execs at Microsoft who could have taken over the Server Group. But not many execs who could do the job that Satya did over the past 2 years at Bing.

    3 – If there is any ax to grind, you could look at one of my older posts in BI, where I specifically mention that I want Bing to do really well. There needs to be a counter balance to Google, and if there is anyone out there that has the resources to pull it off, it’s Microsoft.

    4 – I am sure you talk with a lot of people in the search team, as do I. My contacts paint a different picture from the one you mention in your post. Many of them are not happy with the constantly changing direction and strategy. Othe’rs feel that spending billions on DB deals and distribution is not the way to win and wish that Microsoft would double down on internal product development (there are merits to both sides of that argument).

    5 – I know that MSFT is keeping price predictor, etc, etc…But how many of the original Farecast team members are still at MSFT? How well did price predictor really do if MSFT two years ago redesigned Bing Travel to look like Kayak?

    Anyways, my point is that I want MSFT to do well in search. I just don’t agree with your thinking that this deal will get them closer to being a real challenger to Google. If I am wrong, great. That means MSFT is doing the right things. If I’m right, then Google still has no real competitor in search. Which is bad for consumers.

    Jay

    • http://laserwraith.weebly.com/ LaserWraith

      Personally, I like the idea that Bing has/will have flight info. A search engine + something that provides “official info” (not just linking to other pages) is appealing. A bit like Wolfram|Alpha.

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Thanks for the reply, Jay. Appreciate your clarifications, they help to understand where you’re coming from. We can agree that we both want Bing to succeed. I don’t doubt your misgivings about the deal, again agree there are merits on both sides. We’ll be watching what happens with Bing closely, as I’m sure you will, too. Should be interesting one way or another!

  • Jay

    Kip – I enjoyed reading your postback response to my article on BI. I would like to answer some of points you raised above.

    1 – I don’t have a ax to grind with MSFT. I worked there for 5 years and have a lot of friends at MSFT. We worked closed with the Bing team on several joint efforts when I started Spock and my experience with the senior team at Bing was enjoyable. My reason for writing the post was to bring attention to the fact that Microsoft is again shifting directions on search and that there is again too much change happening at the leadership ranks.

    2 – I think very highly of Satya Nadella and thought that if he stayed in the search group longer, it would have been better for MSFT in the long term. Stability in the leadership ranks is important and Satya was a very well respected leader in the search group. There are plenty of other top execs at Microsoft who could have taken over the Server Group. But not many execs who could do the job that Satya did over the past 2 years at Bing.

    3 – If there is any ax to grind, you could look at one of my older posts in BI, where I specifically mention that I want Bing to do really well. There needs to be a counter balance to Google, and if there is anyone out there that has the resources to pull it off, it’s Microsoft.

    4 – I am sure you talk with a lot of people in the search team, as do I. My contacts paint a different picture from the one you mention in your post. Many of them are not happy with the constantly changing direction and strategy. Othe’rs feel that spending billions on DB deals and distribution is not the way to win and wish that Microsoft would double down on internal product development (there are merits to both sides of that argument).

    5 – I know that MSFT is keeping price predictor, etc, etc…But how many of the original Farecast team members are still at MSFT? How well did price predictor really do if MSFT two years ago redesigned Bing Travel to look like Kayak?

    Anyways, my point is that I want MSFT to do well in search. I just don’t agree with your thinking that this deal will get them closer to being a real challenger to Google. If I am wrong, great. That means MSFT is doing the right things. If I’m right, then Google still has no real competitor in search. Which is bad for consumers.

    Jay

    • LaserWraith

      Personally, I like the idea that Bing has/will have flight info. A search engine + something that provides “official info” (not just linking to other pages) is appealing. A bit like Wolfram|Alpha.

    • http://www.LiveSide.net Kip Kniskern – LiveSide.net

      Thanks for the reply, Jay. Appreciate your clarifications, they help to understand where you’re coming from. We can agree that we both want Bing to succeed. I don’t doubt your misgivings about the deal, again agree there are merits on both sides. We’ll be watching what happens with Bing closely, as I’m sure you will, too. Should be interesting one way or another!

  • Jay

    Thanks Kip. BTW, I have no control over the title of the article. I also don’t like that they begin with “Ex-Microsoft Employee”, but oh well:)

  • Jay

    Thanks Kip. BTW, I have no control over the title of the article. I also don’t like that they begin with “Ex-Microsoft Employee”, but oh well:)

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Bing strategy is one that is in-flux because they are the disruptor and are chasing for ways to keep growing. Bing is the only team at Microsoft i see that is cleared to react in whatever way they think they need. No other team at Microsoft got that kind of clearance right now.

    The only things i am disappointed of are that they didn’t have pushed the Mobile updates as fast to WP7 users as they have to iOS and Android. Also that they seem to have forgotten about WM, Blackberry and Symbian all together now and that is not a good strategy. That and the slow move for having out of beta Bing experiences outside the USA.

    But other than that? They are doing mighty good.

  • http://www.appatic.com Avatar X

    Bing strategy is one that is in-flux because they are the disruptor and are chasing for ways to keep growing. Bing is the only team at Microsoft i see that is cleared to react in whatever way they think they need. No other team at Microsoft got that kind of clearance right now.

    The only things i am disappointed of are that they didn’t have pushed the Mobile updates as fast to WP7 users as they have to iOS and Android. Also that they seem to have forgotten about WM, Blackberry and Symbian all together now and that is not a good strategy. That and the slow move for having out of beta Bing experiences outside the USA.

    But other than that? They are doing mighty good.

  • Jay
  • Jay