Microsoft has the ability to provide a counter-balance to Google, with people in the organization dedicated to making it work. But the company doesn’t "get search" and has a culture which sees it as a "sideshow."

That’s according to a post on Search Engine Land from industry expert Danny Sullivan.

He says that over the last four years he has tried to get either Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer from Microsoft to be involved with a "keynote conversation" at a search engine conference, but has yet to be able to land either.

Sullivan notes that the neither of the duo have made an appearance at a major search engine conference, yet they do show up for what he deems "fairly minor computer security, software developer or financial conferences."

In his extensive missive about the software giant’s problems with its search engine, Sullivan lists a couple of ideas to make search a bigger, or better, part of the company.

For one thing, Sullivan says Microsoft’s problem is lack of branding. "Google’s not just a brand," Sullivan says, "it’s a habit."

A November report from comScore showed that Microsoft’s Live Search was far behind industry behemoth Google in terms of market share. According to its numbers, Microsoft had only 8.3 percent of the market in November compared to 63.5 percent from Google and 20.4 percent from Yahoo.