Microsoft buys ciao.com for their shopping channel

Tue 18 August 2009 15:03, Bas van den Beld

Microsoft buys ciao.com for their shopping channel

European price comparison website ciao.com (listen to Dave Naylor pronouncing it correctly on Strikepoint) has switched owners. Greenfield Online sold the succesfull website for 344 million euros (486 million dollars) to Microsoft.

With this acquisition Microsoft wants to "build a more consumer-friendly, results-oriented search engine." The software will therefore be integrated in Bing.

Microsoft still hasn't properly released Bing in Europe. Reason for that is apparently they aren't able to get all the data together yet. But with this acquisition Microsoft is however trying to make clear they mean business in Europe. "I hope it is getting very clear that we are very serious about Emea," says John Mangelaars, head of Microsoft's consumer and online business in Europe.

Buying ciao.com is in line with Bing profiling itself as a 'decision engine' more than a 'search engine'. Bing is aiming for the shoppers and want to make the difference in that area.

With the ciao.com data Microsoft will be offering which prices are available from which retailers, and maps of where those retailers are. Ciao.com has got 19.6 million unique visitors per month in Europe devided over seven countries, which makes them bigger than for example Kelkoo.com.

If this will allow Bing to be really competitive against Google remains to be seen, but it could be an important step. If users are triggered (for example by giving them cashback money) to start using Bing for shopping it could very well a vertical in which Bing can dominate Google. But Microsoft really should start rolling out Bing in Europe first...

 

Update:

This news is apparently old news. Reuters send out a press release this Monday, but Microsoft acquired Ciao.com a year ago. Apologies for this mistake.



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