Google may account for the broad majority of the search market, but Bing has always had social data on its side thanks to Microsoft’s alliance with Facebook, which lets marketers get Like data displayed alongside search engine results. But could a lawsuit between the social giant and Microsoft put an end to Bing’s social search edge?
According to an exclusive report from All Things Digital, Microsoft is feuding with Facebook because the social site has been stealing some of the company’s top talent. Most recently, the source reports that Facebook has made a job offer to Microsoft’s head of global sales, Carolyn Everson.
Micrsoft is rumored to be taking legal action that may prevent Carolyn from contacting certain ad clients on Facebook's behalf, or perhaps bar her from taking the job at all. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is particularly frustrated that his partners at Facebook never called to inform him of the news.
Hiring a top sales exec is likely too sweet of a deal for Facebook to pass up in the name of corporate alliance. As Brafton has reported, Facebook is poised to drive social ad spend this year and top-level sales talent will be key to meeting its potential.
Still, the jury is out on whether Microsoft and Facebook will settle the dispute amicably or part ways. Most likely, the two companies will try to work it out – particularly since Bing executives should be resistant to losing Like data.
If Microsoft's search portal no longer offered Facebook-powered results, marketers wouldn't be able to get Like data shared via search results. However, they will find no shortage of social recommendation options offered by Google.
As Brafton reported, Google recently updated its social search features. The company is taking a more aggressive approach to including content frequently shared on Twitter and content generated by users' friends in search engine results pages, and marketers with robust social campaigns may find this shift boosts their search clicks.