Freeland '02 helps Microsoft search for competitive advantage
small business team at Microsoft Corp. recently asked customers
what they love. Neal Freeland '02, the team's marketing
director, said they loved all kinds of people, places and
things, but he is most interested in one item no one seemed
to care for: Internet search engines.
never talk about search engines," he says. Not even the search engine. The one
that, according to Freeland, "represents the most mortal
threat Microsoft has ever faced."
Kellogg School graduate is heading up Microsoft's Live Search
effort, and a straightforward (if daunting) goal awaits him
each day at work: to convince people to stop using Google
and turn to his company's offering.
how he intends to accomplish this monumental feat, Freeland
says that Live Search must not only be simple, fast and accurate,
but must also offer features unavailable on larger, more established
example, he says, "if you enter 'jaguar,' it's kind of
hard [for a search engine] to know if you're searching for
the animal, the car or the football team." So Live Search
will include a search-refining tool that pops up alongside
search results to help steer users toward the information
they seek. In time, says Freeland, its image search will also
find "related images," ensuring that searchers don't
miss the big picture.
marketing classes with Kellogg Professor Mohan
Sawhney and Dean Dipak
C. Jain and the broad social and professional contacts
Freeland developed while earning his Kellogg MBA, he says
the school's influence remains important in his life.
everything I do every single day ... I can trace all that back
somehow to my relationship with Kellogg."
Live Search, Freeland says the team will be successful if
it creates a search engine people love. "If Google is
the habit, we've got to break the habit," he says. "We
have to delight them with a different product experience."