With Microsoft building MSN search into its forthcoming IE7 web browser, Google has hit back by signing a deal with Dell, which will result in millions of Dell computers leaving the factory with Google software already installed on them, including a Google toolbar, desktop search and a co-branded homepage.
The deal with Dell is a significant move in Google’s fierce rivalry with Microsoft. In practice, most people stay with the default programs and search technology that comes with their machine. In the past, Google has mostly had to rely on people downloading its software or bookmarking its page.
Now, the default search engine on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer will be set to Google. There are some limits on the deal. Dell will only install Google software on machines sold to small and medium-size businesses and to consumers. Consumer sales only accounted for 14 per cent of Dell’s revenue in the last financial quarter.