Live Search to be default on HP computers in 2009

In a press release issued this morning, Microsoft has announced a deal with HP, “the world’s largest PC manufacturer”, to install a Silverlight powered Live Search toolbar on all new HP computers, and set the default search provider to Live Search, beginning in January 2009.

According to PC Magazine, HP held an 18.5 percent share of the pc market in 2007:

In iSuppli‘s Wednesday report, HP sold 14.6 million units during the fourth quarter and 49.6 million for 2007 overall, capturing a 19.1 percent market share during the fourth quarter and and an 18.5 percent share for the year. Dell, meanwhile, sold 11.3 million PCs for the quarter and 39.7 million for the year, which represented a 14.9 percent and 14.8 percent market share, respectively

Since MSN just released a new Silverlight powered toolbar, and since it will soon be extensible with an API to be released later this year, it would be a good bet to assume that the new toolbar will be similar to the MSN one, possibly based on the same code.  According to the press release:

The toolbar will provide HP with customization capabilities within the buttons on the toolbar, providing quick and easy access to a variety of online services and tools, such as Snapfish by HP, the company’s online photo service, and HP customer support.

No word on what other crapware will be installed on HP computers, whether this applies to the 39% of new computers installed with Vista or includes XP installs also, or how easy it will be to remove/replace the pre-installed hooks into Live Search.  Still, this is a big announcement for Live Search, one of perhaps many to come (again, from the press release):

This agreement with HP is a strategic indicator of our increased focus on securing broad-scale distribution for Live Search,” said Kevin Johnson, president of the Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft. “This is the most significant distribution deal for Live Search that Microsoft has ever done, and we are very pleased to be partnering with HP to help bring Live Search to millions of consumers across North America.”