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Microsoft

Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results 582

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the first-be-evil dept.
bdcny7927 writes "Just as Bing is gaining popularity, some disturbingly pro-Microsoft and anti-Apple search results are rearing their ugly heads. Case in point: a search on Bing for the phrase, 'Why is Windows so expensive?' returned this as the top link: 'Why are Macs so expensive.' That's right. You're not hallucinating."
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Bing Search Tainted By Pro-Microsoft Results

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  • And? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gandalf_Greyhame (44144) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:23AM (#28971759) Journal

    Surprised, why?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by noundi (1044080)
      No but haha nonetheless.
      • Re:And? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by siloko (1133863) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:39AM (#28972009)
        And even funnier - search for "Why is Microsoft Windows so expensive?" [bing.com] and the fifth result is a slashdot article entitled: "Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive?"!
        • Re:And? (Score:5, Funny)

          by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:20AM (#28972705) Homepage
          That's funny. When I did the same search for "Why is Microsoft Windows so expensive?" the fifth result for me had the title "Why Is Windows So Cheap?"
        • Re:And? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:29AM (#28972875)

          And even funnier - search for "Why is Microsoft Windows so expensive?" [bing.com] and the fifth result is a slashdot article entitled: "Why is OSS Commercial Software So Expensive?"!

          Try this : why are macs so awesome?

          Top 2:

          ALL RESULTS
          1-9 of 1,370,000 resultsÂ

                  1) Why Macs Suck - Funny videos

                    2) Why are Macs so crap at gaming?

        • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by awrz (1009247) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:30AM (#28972897) Homepage

          What's even more amusing is the first result:

          Why are Mac's So Expensive? - Yahoo! Answers

          I could care less about whether or not macs are more expensive, or about commercial OSS prices.

          I just want accurate results from a search engine.

    • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eevee (535658) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:34AM (#28971943)
      The surprise isn't that Microsoft is doing it, but rather that cio.com is the one calling them on it--a site aimed at upper management. This isn't fanboy-complaining, but business-complaining, something that will hit acceptance of Bing in the corporate environment.
      • Re:And? (Score:5, Funny)

        by pak9rabid (1011935) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:54AM (#28972261)

        The surprise isn't that Microsoft is doing it, but rather that cio.com is the one calling them on it--a site aimed at upper management. This isn't fanboy-complaining, but business-complaining, something that will hit acceptance of Bing in the corporate environment.

        Bingo

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jamstar7 (694492)

        The surprise isn't that Microsoft is doing it, but rather that cio.com is the one calling them on it--a site aimed at upper management. This isn't fanboy-complaining, but business-complaining, something that will hit acceptance of Bing in the corporate environment.

        Definitely, since "Nobody ever got fired for specifying Microsoft", as the old saw goes.

        Of course, this was before the big financial meltdown, so things might be a bit different now...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by siloko (1133863)
      No not surprised but it is funny that they think this even helps their cause even slightly. It's as though they think if someone is searching for that specific term then not returning results related to it will make them think - 'O windows can't be so expensive because the interweb says so!'
    • Re:And? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NickFortune (613926) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:36AM (#28971963) Homepage Journal

      Surprised, why?

      Surprised it took them this long, perhaps.

      Microsoft always do this with search engines. They seem to start from the assumption that any query represents a user problem, for which there exists a Microsoft based solution. Looked at that way, a search engine becomes an exercise in derailing the users interest, and redirecting into more profitable channels.

      It never seems to occur to them that people might be genuinely interested in results that reflect what they actually want.

      And then they wonder why all their search engines fail.

      • Re:And? (Score:5, Funny)

        by ElSupreme (1217088) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:02AM (#28972401)
        But it isn't a search engine, it is the world's first decision enigne.

        Obviously it decided that OSX is too expensive.
      • Re:And? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cabjf (710106) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:07AM (#28972479)

        It never seems to occur to them that people might be genuinely interested in results that reflect what they actually want.

        Sounds like the work of a bad programmer. Who else would take a question from a user and assume they know what the user really wants?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jamstar7 (694492)

        Microsoft always do this with search engines. They seem to start from the assumption that any query represents a user problem, for which there exists a Microsoft based solution. Looked at that way, a search engine becomes an exercise in derailing the users interest, and redirecting into more profitable channels.

        Keep in mind that any loss of profit from Bing can go directly against the company's profit as a whole, as well as the entire cost of Bing being applied to Microsoft's advertising budget. For Micro

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by NickFortune (613926)

          Keep in mind that any loss of profit from Bing can go directly against the company's profit as a whole, as well as the entire cost of Bing being applied to Microsoft's advertising budget. For Microsoft, it's a win-win scenario. It's just The Next Step in its advertising campaign to maintain its market dominance.

          Oh, I'm sure a win-win on one level. On the other hand, if they end up with an engine that no-one uses because they find more satisfying answers to their questions elsewhere ... well, it seems a li

      • Re:And? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Fujisawa Sensei (207127) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:25AM (#28972823) Journal

        Surprised, why?

        Surprised it took them this long, perhaps.

        Microsoft always do this with search engines. They seem to start from the assumption that any query represents a user problem, for which there exists a Microsoft based solution. Looked at that way, a search engine becomes an exercise in derailing the users interest, and redirecting into more profitable channels.

        There is a Microsoft based solution; it just usually involves uninstalling all their products.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nine-times (778537)

        Microsoft always do this with search engines. They seem to start from the assumption that any query represents a user problem, for which there exists a Microsoft based solution. Looked at that way, a search engine becomes an exercise in derailing the users interest, and redirecting into more profitable channels.

        That seems like a very interesting way of looking at it. Seriously. I see it in a different way that isn't incompatible with yours, but stresses the issue differently. I'd say something like:

        Microsoft has shown a consistent pattern of behavior over the years, that it isn't satisfied to produce any of their products for the revenue generated by that product. Instead they look to have every one of their products reenforce all of their other products.

        Pretty much every one of their products interlock with

    • Re:And? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Andr T. (1006215) <andretaff@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:39AM (#28972015)
      The real WTF is: why this story wasn't posted by kdawson?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by iamhassi (659463)
      "Surprised, why?"

      Because it leads to distrust. Distrust leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much distrust in you.

      But seriously, it's not just the first link, the entire page is links to articles of why Macs are so expensive. Do that in google and you get Why Windows Vista and Office 2007 are so Expensive [wordpress.com]. And you could argue "Yeah but a Microsoft search engine is not going to say their own software is expensive", but if you google why does google suck [google.com] and you get wh [whydoesgooglesuck.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Divebus (860563)

      There's a side by side comparison site - Google and Bing in two frames [blackdog.ie]. Just type in something inflammatory like "OS X beats Windows 7" without the quotes and see what comes up. Google's first is "Mac OS X 10.6 Beats Windows 7 in Amazon Pre-Orders". Bing's first is "Windows 7 Better than Mac OS X Leopard in Security, Says Microsoft COO".

      That's not what I asked for.

  • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:25AM (#28971787) Homepage
    ...are you really surprised [chicagostyleseo.com]?
  • Shocking.
    It seems that Don't be Evil is not the corporate motto of Microsoft.

    It makes you appreciate google, despite their mildly objectionable data collection/profiling.

    • yes of course google is much better,...

      oh no wait it returns the same 'Why are Macs so expensive.' That's right. You're not hallucinating." article as the 7th link instead of the top

      incidently when i tried on bing it was the 3rd result

      while there may be many reasons to hate bing, this story is really ;
      man doesn't put search in quotes, doesn't get results he was expecting!

      the failure is on the part of the user, not the search engine
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cbiltcliffe (186293)

        For the Mac result:
        On bing US, it's the first result. On bing UK, it's the third.

        However, seeing as the Mac result mentions Windows in the text, it doesn't surprise me that it shows up in Google's first page.
        The difference is, Google shows you what you're actually looking for first (the first 4 results), rather than doing some shenanigans that basically say:
        "That's not what you really meant to search for....you're looking for this unrelated thing over here....."

        With Bing, 3 of the top 5 results are about w

  • Not on my bing (Score:3, Informative)

    by multisync (218450) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:27AM (#28971801) Journal

    Search string: "Why is Windows so expensive?"

    Results:

    *
    Microsoft to offer Family Pack for Windows 7 Home Premium | TalkBack ...

    If so don't PC users ask WHY is Windows so expensive? Cheapest upgrade for Win 7 is 50 and that's temporarily for early adopters (119 later) Snow Leopard is only 29 for all Leopard ...
    o talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12354-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=66314&messageID=1250260
    o Cached page
    *
    MacNN | Acer: Home Premium is the real Vista

    "Hmmm, I'll have to think about that... Why is Windows so expensive?" "That's the Microsoft tax." "Doesn't e v e r y b o d y use Windows?" "Not anymore."
    o www.macnn.com/articles/06/10/27/acer.on.windows.vista
    o Cached page
    *
    Do you need more than Windows 7 Home Premium? | TalkBack on ZDNet

    If so don't PC users ask WHY is Windows so expensive? Cheapest upgrade for Win 7 is 50 and that's temporarily for early adopters (119 later) Snow Leopard is only 29 for all Leopard ...
    o talkback.zdnet.com/5208-12354-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=66219&messageID=1249894
    o Cached page
    *
    Rittman Mead Consulting Blog Archive Virtually there

    I suppose the next thing is to build a Windows VM for the stuff that needs Microsoft Windows (OBI SE-ONE, for example) - but why is Windows so expensive to license?
    o www.rittmanmead.com/2007/11/21/virtually-there
    o Cached page
    *
    PC World Community: Hollywood's Victory Over The Pirate Bay ...

    Why is Windows so expensive to buy in a box, when Dell can buy it in bulk for a couple dollars? How much money does Bill Gates need? What is fair trade?
    o forums.pcworld.com/message/209250
    o Cached page
    *
    PC World Community: Windows XP User: I'm No Thief ...

    At least I think it is. Why is windows so expensive in the first place? They're totally ripping us off!!
    o forums.pcworld.com/thread/60075?start=30&tstart=0
    o Cached page
    *
    ffextensionguru.wordpress.com - Traffic Details from Alexa

    why is windows so expensive; new tab homepage; guru blog; the book of mozilla; mozilla weekly; ie 8 windows update; primo pdf; tabs open relative; flash player updates
    o www.alexa.com/siteinfo/ffextensionguru.wordpress.com

    • Re:Not on my bing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by langelgjm (860756) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:31AM (#28971875) Journal
      But that would be because you put it in quotes? And the guy writing the article didn't.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        When I searched I got several things like "why are macbooks so expensive", "why are mac's [sic] so expensive" etc.

        The article is correct. Bing is just the fox news of search engines. Surprise surprise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by makomk (752139)

      Hmmm... if you read TFA, apparently these dubious results have a habit of disappearing when someone points them out.

    • Re:Not on my bing (Score:5, Informative)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:59AM (#28972361) Journal

      You've been marked "informative" but I think the phrase "can't read" is more appropriate. If you Read The Frakking Article, it states that Bing is now returning non-biased results, due to their old biased system being exposed publicly.

      Apparently Microsoft programmers did some quick cover-up, like a bunch of 1940s-era Germans digging-up bodies and burning them to hide the evidence. Microsoft was exposed by the media, and now MS is trying to pretend it never happened.

  • Yes, but... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:27AM (#28971811)

    ... why are Macs so expensive?

  • by prayag (1252246)
    No dude, Their search algorithm sucks.
  • This is like saying the boss wont give you a raise if he doesn't have to....really...?
    We all know what monster M$ can be, why bother giving us info on stuff we know they do anyways....
    like force updates when we dont want them, force uploads of crap even if we say no to the upload...
    they control the OS, so unless you go linux, you have no rights on your computer, no say in what goes in or out!

  • That's why.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by david_thornley (598059) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:30AM (#28971871)

    That's why I have often taken my car to repair shops that are nothing but repair shops, not gas stations or tire stores or whatever doing car repair on the side. They have to live on the basis of their car repairs, and they are likely to pay attention to that, and if they do bad repairs they will go out of business.

    Similarly, Google lives by its search engine, and people at Google know it. There is nothing more important to Google than returning good search results, and if somebody else starts returning better ones Google is in deep trouble.

    It won't take much for me to conclude that a search engine operated by somebody like Microsoft or Apple is biased. A biased search engine isn't going to get me the results I want (unless, I guess, I agree with the bias, but in that case I run the risk of learning nothing and simply being confirmed in my ignorance). If Microsoft wants me to use Bing, they're going to have to be extra careful to avoid the appearance of bias.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by AceJohnny (253840)

      Google lives by its search engine, and people at Google know it.

      Actually, Google's main source of revenue is AdSense.

      We generated 99% of our revenues in 2007 and 97% of our revenues in 2008 from our advertisers.

      (from their 2008 annual report [google.com])

      Even though the most visible part of Google's activities is the search, I believe the corporate entity (maybe not the brand) would very well survive the demise of their search activity.

      Keep that in mind.

  • I lolled. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DaSniper (927430)
    I seriously did. I actually went to bing and searched Why is Windows so expensive?. I Cannot believe the results but, you wanna know what I find even more hilarious... The fact that this post on /. just upped Bing's visitors over a thousand times more then they have ever gotten before.
  • Try it yourself on Bing -- it is not the top result. About five down.

    Now try on Google -- the "Why Are Macs So Expensive?" result is there on the first page.

    Two different search engines, both returning the same result on the first page about Mac's being expensive. Slightly different order, hardly indicative of tampering, but definitive proof that Mac's are costly!
    • by martinX (672498)
      I did try it. #1 and #2 on Bing were articles on "Why is Mac so expensive". The #1 hit on Bing, a techradar.com article, turned up #9 on Google. FWIW, Mac OS 10.5, Safari 4 browser. Maybe Bing is customising results...
  • by Stele (9443)

    Is there a way to mod the entire article down? That would be a useful feature.

  • ...if MS starts picking on the iPhone app store approval process.

  • by hey (83763) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:32AM (#28971909) Journal

    For example Expedia. Perhaps travel queries are tainted too. And who knows what else.

  • It's by no means exhaustive, but I was saying to someone yesterday how refreshing it was searching for terms that probably should have come up with an MS product, but actually came up with what I was after instead.

    I especially liked how searching for a postcode came up with a link to Streetmap as the first result, rather than MS's Multimap.
  • Big non-story here... Bing is going to be influenced by a lot of factors, but the same search on Google turns up Bing's top result in it's top ten. I doubt there is any bias going on here... to program such a bias would be impossible (context detection is still difficult to determine, programatically), and skewing the data for specific searches would be impractical.

    If we were talking single-word phrases, I might be convinced, but phrases push this conspiracy theory into implausibility.

  • Stories like this is getting pretty lame, same entry is showing up on googles first page as well.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:41AM (#28972037)

    Why would I use another search engine when I can use Google?

  • Because I just don't think MS has the technology to pull this off. Bing/ Live search just suck. I get better answers by asking my cat and she only responds with "meow" if my question has the word "treat" in it.
  • It's not specifically pro-MS or anti-Apple. It's just that whatever their ranking algorithm is rates yahoo answers as a better source than other sites. Search engines have to weight sites somehow; if all sources of pages were equally good authorities, we'd all still be using altavista.

  • I conducted some other tests on Bing
    'windows worse than osx' returned top results on how OSX is worse than Window$.
    'windows worse than linux' returned a similar 'pro Window$' result.
    'windows more vulnerable than linux' did the same
    It is fairly blatently pro-M$ in M$ vs. OSx vs. Linux type searches.
    Anyone surprised?
    • by Slothrup (73029)

      When you search for words, you get hits with words. If you want to search for phrases, put the words in quotes. When I search for the phrase "Windows worse than OSX", I only get one hit on both Google and on Bing -- so it's no surprise that this single site isn't found in all of the hits for pages that contain each of the words "Windows" "worse" "than" "OSX"

  • Nothing New (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Itninja (937614)
    The same type of thing happens in MS Word. It recognizes 'XBox360' as a word, but if one types 'Playstation' it gets flagged as a misspelling. And don't even get me started on Wii.....
  • If I google: why is google so bad

    The first page it returns is "Google Wave: Why it's so good and enterprise software is so bad".

    Where's the article on this? This is just inane Microsoft bashing that comes off as incredibly petty.
  • Different search engines produce different results. Footage at 11.

    This story is pretty lame. Microsoft has been doing an ad campaign on how expensive Macs are. You can likely find lots of pages that mention it and Windows at the same time. The specific story mentioned also appears in a Google search for the same thing.

    You remember back when "miserable failure" would return Whitehouse.gov as its first hit? I'm sure that was a conspiracy inside the search results too.

  • by chaffed (672859) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:52AM (#28972229) Homepage

    At least "Who is more evil than Satan himself" [bing.com] search provides accurate and timely information.

  • by TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @12:12PM (#28974913) Homepage
    Change the search to, "Why is your mom so expensive?" and the first result is "Why Are Bulldog Puppies So Expensive" but somehow I doubt that Microsoft is "pro-your mom" and "anti-bulldog" puppies.

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