Microsoft is changing its search strategy by improving its web crawler search service and pulling out of the directory search business.
"We believe the search engine is an OK service at the moment, but it can be significantly improved. It's all about relevance, both with regard to the query entered and to personalisation," said MSN Search UK search business manager Robin Kellett.
"Say you search for Dartmoor Pit Ponies - you may want to find a UK site, rather than a US-based pony site. Most search engines do have a local flavour, like Google.co.uk, but we think the experience can be improved."
As yet there is no launch date planned for the improved service.
Microsoft has extended its paid search listing partnership with Overture, now owned by Yahoo, until June 2005. On the directory search side, the company has pulled out of its partnership with LookSmart in the UK and will finish its US relationship with the company in January.
Kellett said he could not comment on recent rumours that Microsoft has been trying to buy Google.
Gillian Law writes for IDG News Service