Last week Microsoft updated Live Search Maps and Virtual Earth 3D with a variety of new bells and whistles and this week launched a spiffy new Live Search News that inevitably drew comparisons to Google News which it somewhat resembles visually. However, my first thought on seeing them was wondering how they will stack up against Yahoo Maps and Yahoo News when the apparently inevitable acquisition takes place and the resulting “synergy” paring decisions are made.
My guess is that Virtual Earth 3D is safe by lack of comparable Yahoo product and Live Search Maps has a fighting chance of survival, but Live Search News will be shuttered almost immediately. (MSNBC.com’s news over at MSN will undoubtedly survive because of its unique heritage.) Kevin Johnson has told Microsoft’s online troops to stay focused, but it would be hard to believe that they are not looking over their shoulders.