Microsoft's new strategist sets his sights on Bing

Microsoft has a new strategist - longtime political strategist and public relations guru Mark Penn -, and he's putting together a ‘SWAT team' to get Microsoft's consumer offerings back on track and ahead of the competition. For their first target, they've got their sights set entirely on Bing.

Although he has worked with Microsoft on a contracting basis in the past, Penn is brand new to Microsoft proper. As a matter of fact, his position was just announced yesterday. Despite that, he's already digging in and getting to work, as he told the Wall Street Journal.

Penn spoke of his plans for Bing as part of an interview, and although there's no word or whether or not any of their other discussions will be released, there's definitely some interesting tidbits here. The seeds were sewn for his position, Penn says, when Steve Ballmer asked him to review how Microsoft was presenting its products to consumers. From the very start, Bing was the product that really intrigued him.

“[With search engines] People these days are making a choice, just like they're making a political choice,” Penn said. So apparently it makes sense to bring in a political strategist to figure out how to make Bing appealing to consumers. Actually, that might be a pretty good assessment of how the technology market works these days…

Echoing Steve Ballmer (who recently gushed to Forbes about his love of Bing), Penn says that he was really impressed by the quality of Bing's results. Despite that, and despite Microsoft's marketing efforts, Bing still has a ways to go before it's anywhere near taking Google down, although it is still growing at a steady rate.

Industry pundits have bashed Bing to no end, and while there's definitely an uphill climb, Microsoft is one of the few companies with deep enough pockets to actually have a chance at dethroning the search king.. Bing, regardless of its sustained losses, also represents a colossal business opportunity. It could be that passionate new blood is just the shot in the arm it needs.

“Diehard habits can be questioned,” Penn said, “just in the same way that people drank Coke and realized Pepsi was just as good if not better.” So it will be with Bing, but how? Just what is Penn's plan? Well, he's keeping that close to his chest for now, but considering his political past, maybe negative ads?

Source: Wall Street Journal | Image via WPP

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22 Comments

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The biggest disadvantage to using Bing, is that you cannot narrow the search results with a time frame. If Bing adds THAT, then Bing will, in my opinion, be far superior to Google

bing is a catastrophy regarding search results here in germany. you cant compare it with bing in the US. therefore its tragic that MS uses bing as default (or only) search engine e.g. on windows phone.... hope this will change with wp8.

Mackster said,
I can't associate Bing with anything positive in my brain. Had hoped for a better name.

Well, there daily images are quite 'positive'. And then there's also the US singer Bing Crosby!

FMH said,

Well, there daily images are quite 'positive'.

Why do you have a "bing" avatar? Work at microsoft much? Bing is bland. Nobody on earth would want a bing logo to represent who they are.

SpyderCanopus said,

Why do you have a "bing" avatar? Work at microsoft much? Bing is bland. Nobody on earth would want a bing logo to represent who they are.

I actually think it is better search engine than Google and Yahoo, but just needs to work on marketing. User-interface-wise, it is ahead of them both. And most of the changes that came to Google Search, were Bing inspired.

I switched to Bing on my work computer a few months ago and it generally gives good results with the exception of searching for coding related topics, which google is much better at.

but in general day to day use, i don't really notice the difference between bing and google

dooksifut said,
I switched to Bing on my work computer a few months ago and it generally gives good results with the exception of searching for coding related topics, which google is much better at.

but in general day to day use, i don't really notice the difference between bing and google

Welcome to less productivity in the name of the underdog. Bing is nowhere near as accurate. Don't lie to yourself. "Got to be true to myself"

SpyderCanopus said,

Bing is nowhere near as accurate. Don't lie to yourself.

do you have any examples where bing isnt very accurate/ not as good as google. i had a quick look but they are much the same really.

i feel Bing is easier to say than Google
a big problem that bing has is that people are just used to using google, bing could be much better than google but still will still use google.

one thing im happy about is microsoft is finally making bing better in other countrys (at lest in Australia)

flexkeyboard said,
Rebrand it, Bing doesn't roll off the tongue for the majority of people. Call it Clippy, or whatever.

In an executive meeting Ballmer fired someone on the spot for questioning Bing;s name xD

flexkeyboard said,
Rebrand it, Bing doesn't roll off the tongue for the majority of people. Call it Clippy, or whatever.

Actually it is much easier on the tongue. Plus, it only has one syllable, unlike Ya-hoo, and Goo-gle.

flexkeyboard said,
Rebrand it, Bing doesn't roll off the tongue for the majority of people. Call it Clippy, or whatever.

problem is everybody says they are going to google it. Even Microsoft employees are in the habbit of saying google it on bing.

FMH said,

Actually it is much easier on the tongue. Plus, it only has one syllable, unlike Ya-hoo, and Goo-gle.

IMO, Yahoo is the most stupid name ever.