Asked recently to assess Microsoft's chances of ousting the search market leader, Dr. Qi Lu, the newly-named president of Microsoft's Online Services Group, did something that many Microsoft executives have typically avoided doing: He mentioned Google by name.
"I think Google is a very, very powerful company," Lu said in a Q&A posted Wednesday to Microsoft's Web site. "They are definitely ahead in the search space. There are a lot of challenges ahead. We've got our work cut out for us."
Lu, former executive vice president of engineering for the Search and Advertising Technology Group at Yahoo, is the latest in a series of several high-profile Yahoo search executives who've left the struggling search giant for Microsoft.
When Lu joins Microsoft on Jan. 5, he'll join a third-place search market player that has had trouble gaining share from its more entrenched rivals. In October, Google had 63.1 percent of the U.S. search market, followed by Yahoo with 20.5 percent and Microsoft with 8.5 percent, according to comScore.