I don't mean to say "I told you so," but Microsoft's reported interest in purchasing natural language search engine Powerset for $100 million seems to go along with my recommended strategy for Microsoft. (See It's Search, Stupid.) Even though I'm the Yacrosoft blogger, I see how big of a headache the integration of overlapping services would be at Microsoft and Yahoo!. Add to that the ridiculous amount of money Microsoft was willing to pay for Yahoo!, and you must wonder whether Microsoft couldn't find a more productive way to spend its tens of billions of dollars.
As I had said in my very first blog post ever, Powerset will offer Microsoft the one thing in search that will give it a fighting chance against Google: DIFFERENTIATION. Nobody wants to use an also-ran search engine. Google was the first search engine to solve the great search spam problem that popped up in the late 90's. It's going to take something pretty compelling to overcome Google's overwhelming internet-savior-become-more-powerful-than-God status. Having a natural language search engine will be a step in the right direction--and at a nearly 500-fold discount.