AOL to use MSN.com?

MarketingVox reports that AOL may use Microsoft's search engine in place of Google. Not exciting?

Well, back when Yahoo dropped Google in place of its own (newly improved) search, SEOs new to the game predicted no change in the world of search. Thing is, they likely hadn't been around before Google was a power, nor saw what happened when Yahoo dropped AltaVista (the then-power) to replace it with Inktomi-ish search results. Now Yahoo owns both AltaVista and Inktomi and, according to Vox, has 22 percent of the search marketshare.

Now, web folk may not think much of AOL, which has a reputation as a kind of stilted "Internet on training wheels". The fact that the AOL interface makes things easy — too easy (compounded, no doubt, by AOL's tech staff) — for members to use the Internet without really understanding much about it means that AOLers generally hit the streets walking when it comes to marketing and ecommerce. They also have broadband, so the days of AOLers encountering endless disconnects may be over (I wouldn't know).

But hey. Yahoo broadband does the same thing. As a hookup with SBC's broadband, it appears that they're coaching users to check their email through the Yahoo interface. Really.

Anyone who's purchased a Windows computer in the last many years will have noticed the AOL icons on the desktop. They're not there by chance, or due to an oversight by Microsoft.

Captive audience, and all that. This move — if it happens — could mean MSN (which is what I assume they mean by "Microsoft search") takes a bigger share of the marketplace.

Weirder things have happened in search. What the big dogs give, the big dogs can take away.

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