Microsoft Opening Three-Headed Search Technology Center in Europe to Challenge Google

10/2/08Follow @gthuang

When corporate R&D rains, it pours. On the heels of Intel Research Seattle’s annual open house, an even bigger tech giant across Lake Washington is stirring up some serious action across the pond. Microsoft announced today it is opening a European Search Technology Center, with three main offices in the Paris, London, and Munich areas. Its goal is “to tap into local expertise and fuel local innovation with job opportunities that will help reinvent the European consumer online and search experience,” according to a Microsoft statement. The center will be headed up by general manager Jordi Ribas, who hails from the Microsoft Connected TV business group.

The European effort is being viewed as another way to compete with Google and other search engines in the battle for Internet advertising revenues, according to the New York Times, which quotes Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as saying, “Investing in anything at this time can be a tough sell…But when economic times are tough, we have to keep our faith in the promise that technology holds to transform the future.” Ballmer did not say how much Microsoft is investing in the new search center, but did confirm it will employ several hundred workers.

In a statement, Ballmer said, “To compete in a global, innovation-driven economy, we need to draw on the world’s smartest, most creative minds. Increasingly, we are finding the talent we need here in Europe.” Ballmer called the new search center “an important step forward in our long-term strategy to invest in local development of search technology in Europe. We believe search is still in its infancy. Developers at the Search Technology Centre will play a key role in helping us redefine search as they create new search products and services for consumers and advertisers here in Europe and around the world.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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