The Pain of Prabhakar Becomes a Challenge for Microsoft

January 9, 2023

A number of online “real” news outfits have reported and predicted that ChatGPT will disrupt the Google’s alleged monopoly in online advertising. The excitement is palpable because it is not fashionable to beat up the technology giants once assumed to have feet made of superhero protein.

The financial information service called Seeking Alpha published “Bing & ChatGPT Might Work Together, Could Be Revolutionary.” My mind added “We Hope!” to the headline. Even the allegedly savvy Guardian Newspaper weighed in with “Microsoft Reportedly to Add ChatGPT to Bing Search Engine.”  Among the examples I noted is the article in The Information (registration required, thank you) called “Ghost Writer: Microsoft Looks to Add OpenAI’s Chatbot Technology to Word, Email.”

The origin of this boomlet in Bing will kill Google may be in the Web search system which includes this statement. I have put in bold face the words and phrases revealing Microsoft’s awareness of

YouChat does not use Microsoft Bing web, news, video or other Microsoft Bing APIs in any manner. Other Web links, images, news, and videos on are powered by Microsoft Bing. Read Microsoft Bing Privacy Policy

I am not going to comment on the usefulness of the search results. Instead, navigate to and run some queries. I am a dinobaby, and I like command line searching. You do not need to criticize me for my preference for Stone Age search tools. I am 78 and will be in one of Dante’s toasty environments. Boolean search? Burn for eternity. Okay with me.

I would not like to be Google’s alleged head of search (maybe the word “nominal” is preferable to some. That individual is a former Verity wizard named Prabhakar Raghavan. His domain of Search, Google Assistant, Ads, Commerce, and Payments has been expanded by the colorful Code Red activity at the Google. Mr. Raghavan’s expertise and that of his staff appears to be ill-equipped to deal with one of least secret of Microsoft’s activities. Allegedly more Google wizards have been enlisted to deal with this existential threat to Google’s search and online ad business. Well, Google is two decades old, over staffed, and locked in its aquarium. It presumably watched Microsoft invest a billion into ChatGPT and did not respond. Hello, Prabhakar?

The “value” has looked like adding ChatGPT-like functions and maybe some of its open sourciness to Microsoft’s ubiquitous software. One can envision typing a dot point in PowerPoint and the smart system will create a number of slides. The PowerPoint user fiddles with the words and graphics and rushes to make a pitch at a conference or a recession-proof venture capital firm.

Imagine a Microsoft application which launches ChatGPT-type of smart search in a Word document. This type of function might be useful to crypto bros who want to explain how virtual tokens will become the Yellow Brick Road to one of the seven cities of Cibola. Sixth graders writing an essay and MBAs explaining how their new business will dominate a market will find this type of functionality a must-have. No LibreOffice build offers this type of value…yet.

What if one thinks about Outlook? (I wou8ld prefer not to know anything about Outlook, but there are individuals who spend hours each day fiddling around in email. Writing email can become a task for a ChatGPT-like software. Spammers will love this capability, particularly combined with VBScript.

The ultimate, of course, will be the integration of Teams and ChatGPT. The software can generate an instance of a virtual person and the search function can generate responses to questions directed at the construct presented to others in a Teams’ session. This capability is worth big bucks.

Let’s step back from the fantasies of killing Google and making Microsoft Office apps interesting.

Microsoft faces a handful of challenges. (I will not mention Microsoft’s excellent judgment in referencing the Federal Trade Commission as unconstitutional. Such restraint.)

First, the company has a somewhat disappointing track record in enterprise security. Enough said.

Second, Microsoft has a fascinating series of questionable engineering decisions. One example is the weirdness of old code in Windows 11. Remember that Windows 10 was to be the last version of Windows. Then there is the chaos of updates to Windows 11, particularly missteps like making printing difficult. Again enough said.

Third, Google has its own smart software. Either Mr. Raghavan is asleep at the switch and missed the signal from Microsoft’s 2019 one billion dollar investment in OpenAI or Google’s lawyers have stepped on the smart software brake. Who owns outputs built from the content of Web sites? What happens when content the European Union appears in outputs? (You know the answer to that question. I think it is even bigger fines which will make Facebook’s recent half a billion dollar invoice look somewhat underweight.)

When my research team and I talked about the search and the use of ChatGPT or other OpenAI technology in business, law enforcement, legal, healthcare, and other use cases — we hypothesized that:

  1. Time will be required to get the gears and wheels working well enough to deliver consistently useful outputs
  2. Google has responded and no one noticed much except infinite scrolling and odd “cards” of allegedly accurate information in response to a user’s query.
  3. Legal issues will throw sand in the gears of the machinery once the ambulance chasers tire of Camp Lejeune litigation
  4. Aligning costs of resources with the to-be revenue will put some potholes on this off-ramp of the information superhighway.

Net net: The world of online services is often described as being agile. A company can turn on a dime. New products and services can be issued and fixes can be a system better over time. I know Boolean works. The ChatGPT thing seems promising. I don’t know if it replaces human thought and actions in certain use cases. Assume you have cancer. Do you want your oncologist to figure out what to do using,, or

Stephen E Arnold, January 9, 2023


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