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Microsoft Changes Live Search

Microsoft Corp announced that its marketing team is working on fixing the company’s search engine image to make it more competitive with Google Inc.

Kevin Johnson, president of Microsoft’s platforms and services division made the announcement at a search advertising conference in Seattle hosted by the parent company of news site SearchEngineLand.com.

Danny Sullivan, editor of SearchEngineLand, asked Johnson if he meant Microsoft wants to “change” its image in search instead of fix it.

“Fix means fix,” Johnson replied. “If that means change, we’ll change.”

Microsoft is working hard to convince investors, advertisers and Web surfers that it has a fallback plan for improving the quality of its search engine and boosting traffic without help from Yahoo.

So far, the company is focusing on searches that lead to some kind of transaction, which Johnson called “commercial intent queries.”

Last month, Microsoft launched a shopping search site that gives Web surfers a rebate on purchases from advertisers. It also relaunched Farecast, a Seattle-based travel search startup it bought this year, as part of its network of sites.