Playing catch-up against search monolith Google, Microsoft is offering financial incentives to large enterprise customers who get their employees to use its Live Search engine.

According to Computerworld, Microsoft says in a statement it has launched the incentive programme to "a select number of enterprise customers based on the number of Web search queries conducted by their employees via Live Search."
In exchange for their employees' Live Search usage, Microsoft is providing "service or training credits" to these enterprise customers. The programme also allows the vendor to gather feedback from these users regarding Web search use in an enterprise.
The move is seen by many as a tactic by Microsoft to boost its profile in search and attract more search engine advertising, the boom in which has been the main reason for Google's astounding revenue and profits.
According to research, Google secured 47.5% of search engine queries in the US in January, compared with Microsoft's 10.6%.
"As search evolves into more of a productivity tool, and revenue sharing becomes more commonplace across the industry, we are engaging in mutually beneficial partnerships such as this and our recently announced deal with Lenovo to more easily enable customers to choose Live Search," Microsoft says.
This week, Microsoft announced that Lenovo will pre-load Windows Live services on its ThinkPad notebooks, ThinkCenter desktops and Lenovo-branded PCs.