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Google & Dell: Pimp My Desktop

Google & Dell: Pimp My Desktop

The word “pimp” has come to mean elaborately adorn or customize, as in “pimp my ride” or the more funny yet obscure “pimp my burger” campaign from Burger King. An earlier meaning was a kind of agent for prostitution — the iconic 1970s pimp with the white fur coat, platform shoes and wide-brimmed hat. This archetype was perhaps exemplified by the character of “Huggy Bear” on the popular TV series “Starsky and Hutch.”

Now from Dell comes “pimp my desktop,” combining elements of both the newer and more traditional meanings of the word “pimp.” According to the WSJ (sub. req’d):

Google Inc. and Dell Inc. plan to confirm today that they have reached an agreement to install Google software on millions of Dell personal computers before they are shipped to users, according to people in the industry familiar with the matter.

Under a roughly three-year pact, Google, of Mountain View, Calif., would pay Dell to have its desktop software for searching the content of a user’s hard drive and emails, and a Web browser search toolbar installed on the computers, the people said. Dell would also set the default search engine for users to Google’s offering, one of the sources said. Financial terms are not expected to be disclosed. Talks between Google and Dell were first reported in The Wall Street Journal in February.

Dell is the number one PC maker with a market share of 18.1%, down from 18.9% a year ago. Google has a similar and much smaller-scale version of this deal with Firefox and Opera. Dell was motivated to do this to gain some additional revenue after disappointing results and Google wanted the deal for obvious reasons — to combat Microsoft’s perceived “desktop advantage.”

Will HP do this? What about Gateway or Lenovo or Apple? Who’s next? I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the reality TV show this fall!

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Greg Sterling is the founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, a consulting and research firm focused on online consumer and advertiser behavior and the relationship between the Internet and traditional media, with an emphasis on the local marketplace.

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