Microsoft Breaks Ad Campaign For Live Search

Microsoft today will break a new print and online ad campaign touting MSN's search capabilities. The ads promote Windows Live, which formally launched in September and will eventually replace MSN Search--itself less than two years old--as Microsoft's flagship Web search engine.

Currently, Microsoft's search engine lags in popularity behind Google and Yahoo. Despite a widespread ad campaign last year, MSN Search hasn't been able to gain much traction with consumers. Last month, Microsoft sites garnered 11.9% of searches--down from 15.6% the year before, according to comScore. Google, meanwhile, grew its market share to 45.1% last month--up from 37.6% one year ago.

The new full-page print ad--which will appear in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the San Jose Mercury News--highlights features in the engine's image search, local search, and mapping tools.

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In the ads, MSN appears to cast itself as an underdog compared to Google. The ad notes that some of the Live Search developers "didn't even pass calculus." "Before we begin, let us state the obvious. We're late to the game. We admit it," reads the ad copy, created by McCann WorldGroup. "But instead of shrugging our shoulders and becoming a footnote in search history, we've decided to write a few new chapters."

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