"I think you're missing the point. The billions of desktops don't know how or <u>don't desire to switch engines</u> tomorrow, that's the problem!"
No, that's not a problem. That's google doing search well enough that it's not worth the time test every piddly competitor. Here's the reality, 94% of my searches put what i'm looking for on the first page, another 4% I have to dig deeper, and the last 1% gives me nothing useful. I only marginally care about that 4%, and only REALLY care about the 1%. The problem is, the competitors don't do them noticeably better.
So, tell me, WHY should I go out of my way to use something that isn't better?
"Have you actually tried to write a competitor site and then tried to actually get it promoted? When Google is the one controlling the views of billions of desktop, how do you think your company, who is a direct competitor, is actually going to fare regarding promotion when Google controls the view and, unchecked, will also stop you from being noticed at all?"
Even when you AREN'T a competitor to Google this is a problem. The already established site is who Google's going to rank higher simply because it's more likely that's what people are looking for. What do you purpose, have Google list in reverse order of relevancy?