October 22, 2004 1:56 PM PDT
Microsoft fixes date for desktop search tool
During its earnings call with financial analysts, Microsoft said an MSN-branded tool would be made available before the end of 2004. The tool and an algorithmic Web searching engine will be in beta testing by year's end, a representative said Friday.
Microsoft first demonstrated the technology for its own desktop search tool at a financial analysts' conference in July. At the time, MSN executive Yusuf Mehdi would say only that it would be out before the release of Longhorn, the next version of Windows, scheduled for 2006.
Yahoo and Microsoft have been making acquisitions to boost their capabilities in this area. In July, Microsoft bought Lookout Software, which has a program for searching within Outlook e-mail. Yahoo acquired Oddpost in July and said this week that it would buy Stata Labs.
Google has emerged as a key rival to Microsoft. In addition to the battle over search, the company is seen as a potentially broader competitor in several areas, including the market for Web browsing and instant messaging.
Google also confirmed this week that it is opening an office in Kirkland, Wash., a Seattle suburb not far from Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.
CNET News.com's Stefanie Olsen contributed to this report.
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