Microsoft has whipped open its colossal wallet once again and waved a hefty $486 million wad in the direction of Greenfield Online, owners of the popular European price comparison website, ciao.com.
Microsoft, still reeling from their failed bid to buy up Yahoo, say that the acquisition of ciao.com should help it build a more consumer-friendly, results-oriented search engine.
“We call it ‘instant answers’,” air-punched John Mangelaars, head honcho of Microsoft’s consumer and online business in Europe, adding, “I hope it’s getting very clear that we’ve very serious about EMEA” (if you’re not hip with the latest acronyms, EMEA stands for ‘Europe, the Middle East and Africa’).
Currently, Google are the reigning Lords and Masters of online search with a mighty 62 percent of the global search market and 79 percent in Europe, with Microsoft stumbling miles behind in a Trailer Of Fail with just 2 percent market share in Europe and 9 percent worldwide.
Mangelaars sees the purchase of ciao.com as big step in Microsoft’s attempt to offer a different kind of search engine, offering more consumer (and shopper) focussed results than Google – so if a punter was looking for a particular laptop, their results would show the current prices offered by various retailers, along with with maps showing their location rather than just links to the manufacturer’s website.
Caio.com is a big hitter active in Europe, attracting 19.6 million unique visitors per month in seven European countries, double that of rival site kelkoo.com.
To lure more users into using the service, Microsoft plans to dish out cashback incentives to reward consumers who buy products through its shopping sites.
Forrester principal analyst Rebecca Jennings, pondered the deal and before declaring it full of Win: “Google’s trying to do all your search needs. What Microsoft is doing with this kind of acquisition is saying: ‘We’re going to be very good at the commercial side of search, the shopping’.”