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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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October 14, 2008 12:46 PM

Yahoo ad campaign; YouTube search ads; Obama in-game ads; Microsoft price targets lowered; Consumer 'Surface' in the offing?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Yahoo is turning up the marketing volume for its Internet search service, which holds an eroding second place in U.S. market share behind Google and ahead of Microsoft. The company plans banner Web ads and radio spots as part of the "integrated, nationwide, on and offline marketing campaign to remind the rest of the world (or at least everyone in the United States) that it's time to give Yahoo! Search a try."

Meanwhile, video search volume on Google-owned YouTube now exceeds searches conducted on Yahoo sites, according to expanded search stats from comScore. (Reading the figures this way means Microsoft's search engine is in fourth place.) This was noted in stories about Google serving paid-search ads next to video search results from YouTube. As Advertising Age, which first reported the YouTube search ads, notes, this new attempt to monetize Web video is unproven.

"It's unclear whether YouTube's video search ads will be as effective as search ads on Google.com, because video search is a different animal than normal web search. People are often looking to be entertained when they do a video search, which is a contrast to the more varied -- and often commercial -- nature of searches on Google.com."

In other advertising news, GigaOM reports that Barrack Obama has ads running in Burnout Paradise, a racing game for Xbox 360. The report calls it "far and away the most prominent use of a major online game to promote a presidential candidate's campaign." Recall that Xbox Live itself got political earlier this year in a voter-registration partnership with Rock the Vote and conducted a survey that showed Obama had a clear lead among gamers on the service.

Microsoft, after rising 18 percent in Monday's crazy buying spree, fell nearly 5.7 percent, $1.44, to $24.06 today on lowered financial targets for the company. The Nasdaq was down 3.5 percent and the Dow lost 0.8 percent Tuesday. From The Associated Press:

"Jefferies & Co. analyst Katherine Egbert kept her 'Buy' rating on [Microsoft] stock but reduced her outlook for adjusted fiscal 2009 earnings to $2.11 per share on $66.7 billion in revenue, from $2.15 per share on $67.8 billion in revenue previously. Egbert also cut her price target to $30 from $35. ...


"Credit Suisse analyst Philip Winslow kept his "Outperform" rating and $35 price target for the stock but lowered his fiscal 2009 earnings-per-share estimate to $2.10 and revenue to $66.68 billion, compared with earlier expectations for $2.13 in earnings per share and revenue of $67.28 billion."

And finally, for those who are eagerly awaiting a Microsoft Surface for their home, a glimmer of hope: Eagle-eyed blogger Long Zheng spotted a "marketing survey centered around a multi-touch computing device codenamed 'Oahu.' It is, of course, a (hypothetical) consumer variation of the Surface computer."

The survey goes through several home Surface scenarios including a Surface PC built into a games table, meals table or counter top. It also asks respondents about a hypothetical price, $1,499.

Ever since its May 2007 debut, Microsoft execs from the top down have hinted that they wanted to do a home version of Surface. Bill Gates said at the time a $1,000 Surface was only three to five years off. In March, Tom Gibbons, a vice president in charge of specialized devices and applications, told Fortune magazine an affordable consumer version may be three years away.

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