Danny Sullivan writes about the problems about Microsoft search at Search Engine Land, and he explains what they need to do in order to get it together.
Some reasons are that Microsoft's key executives don't care about search. For example, in Danny's experience doing conferences, Microsoft has yet to send a key player such as Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer run the keynote conversation. They simply don't think it's worth it. (On the other hand, other conferences are fair game for these guys.)
Another reason for Microsoft's failure is that they seem to emphasize that they care about search, but they certainly aren't practicing what they appear to preach. Danny points out the following taglines: Google's tagline is "Search, Ads & Apps" and Microsoft's is "Software + Services." Where's search, Microsoft?
A third reason Danny cites is that Microsoft still doesn't get search. At least not the way we see it. He says that Microsoft perceives search as software, and that's not it. Search updates are rolled out on Google on no schedule, but with Microsoft's (cough) bureaucracy, it seems that changes must be done on some sort of schedule.
Danny goes into a lot more detail, explaining that there are executive inconsistencies, lousy advertising, requiring integration of services, and lame distribution deals that are not swaying people away from Google.
All in all, Microsoft in the search market is destined to go down. Or maybe the key players in Microsoft should take a good read at Danny's honest and forthright opinion so that they can make some real changes that can actually improve the perception of Microsoft in the eyes of searchers.
Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.