Lenovo Inc is to make Microsoft Corp’s Live.com suite of services the defaults on its PCs and notebooks, a blow to Google Inc, under a deal due to be announced today.
The China-based PC maker will also pre-install Microsoft’s Live browser toolbar, with its built-in search engine, on its machines.
The deal extends to ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCentre desktops and Lenovo-branded PCs, according to Lenovo. The company will make Live.com the default browser homepage on new PCs, according to a spokesperson.
Live is Microsoft’s brand for its web-based services, including email, hosting, blogging and search. The toolbar plugs into Internet Explorer to allow easier access to these services.
Microsoft’s main competition here is Google, which has a similar toolbar and suite of services that are preinstalled on PCs from the likes of Dell Inc.
About 13% of all web searches in the US are made through browser toolbars, according to September 2006 statistics from Comscore. Google and Yahoo owned almost half of those searches each, leaving Microsoft an also-ran.
Lenovo has about a 7.3% market share globally, according to IDC’s fourth-quarter estimates. That placed the company, which bought IBM’s PC business two years ago, third behind HP’s 18.1% and Dell’s 14.7%.