Microsoft Wins Deal For Live Search To Be Default On HP Computers

For all the excitement about Microsoft Live Search Cashback, I think a new announcement out today is far more important to Live Search's potential growth. It will be the default search engine on Hewlett-Packard computers sold in North America beginning in January 2009, winning the deal from Yahoo. HP is currently the world's largest PC manufacturer and second largest in the United States. Below, more about the deal plus a review of all major computer-search deals.

HP computers will have a special HP-edition toolbar as part of the Internet Explorer browser they ship with. Aside from providing links to key HP services, the toolbar will include a search box set to use Live Search by default.

Microsoft says the distribution deal is the most "significant" that they've ever done. While many assume that Microsoft already has a natural advantage in the browser since it makes Internet Explorer, it is not the default choice for a "clean" computer. Instead, to please the US anti-trust authorities, consumers must select from one of several choices.

The exception is when the PC maker itself has cut a deal for the default option. Until now, I'd say Google had been the leader in arranging such deals. Probably most well-known is Google's deal with Dell that was cut in 2006 and which produced some controversy last year because of how Dell pointed people hitting errors to pages dominated with Google ads (see Google & Dell's Revenue-Generating URL Error Pages Drawing Fire for more).

Microsoft has said the price of fighting Google for Dell was too high. It's not disclosing how much the HP deal cost. But given the billions it was prepared to spend on acquiring Yahoo, I'd assume it's willing to pay much more for distribution these days.

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Posted By: IndoSourceCode

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