What happened to Yahoo? LOL Microsoft has decided to buy semantic search engine Powerset to help to improve its image aa s search rival to Google. In a statement Steve Ballmer has mentioned that search is going to be Microsoft’s number one priority. In the article it states:

By buying Powerset, Microsoft is hoping to close the perceived quality gap with Google’s search engine. The move comes as Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer continues to argue that improving search is Microsoft’s most important task. Microsoft’s market share in search has steadily declined, dropping further and further behind first-place Google and second place Yahoo.

That’s where Powerset sees an opportunity for growth, and perhaps where Microsoft finally sees a chance to get a quality edge. However, Powerset’s technology has remained controversial to people within the industry because, while sexy in theory, the natural language approach is difficult to pull off in practice. Skeptics wonder if the technology can ever be developed enough to be useful within a major search engine. That skepticism abounded during a long secretive stage in Powerset’s development, but the company did launch its service last month to the public, so it’s there for full view. You can use it to search for items within Wikipedia, and we’ve previously outlined various instances where it can be useful.

Microsoft still has a cool $50 Billion in which it can buy other companies that may help its search. They can buy any company but not Yahoo. Which makes one beg to ask. Why is Microsoft making such a big deal out of search? Wasn’t it just last week that Steve Ballmer called Google a one trick pony? Interesting.

What do you think? Should Microsoft stick with what they does best? Windows and Office. Those are the cash cows that have made the company big bucks.

Comments welcome.