Bing Holds Steady
Microsoft's competition with Google continued in the search-engine arena, with new data suggesting that Bing's percentage of U.S. online searches held steady between June and July. That data, from analysis firm Experian Hitwise, put Bing's overall market share at 9.86 percent for July, behind both Google at 71.43 percent and Yahoo at 14.43 percent. Similar numbers from comScore put Bing's July market share at 11 percent, trailing Yahoo with 17.1 percent and Google with 65.8 percent."The search share for Bing remained flat month-over-month at 11 percent, and roughly 60 basis points lower than March levels, indicating that Bing's momentum is perhaps slowing down," Youssef Squali, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., wrote in an Aug. 17 research note. In either case, Microsoft's search market share looks to expand once Yahoo completes the transfer of its back-end search to Bing. That transition is expected to take place over the next few days in the United States and Canada; once finished, Yahoo users will begin seeing "Powered by Bing" tags on their search-engine results. Yahoo and Microsoft signed a search-and-advertising deal in summer 2009 that would see Yahoo take over worldwide sales force duties for both companies' search advertisers, while Bing took over back-end search. In theory, that will give Microsoft a much stronger competitive position with regard to Google, once it absorbs Yahoo's portion of the search market. Bing's newer features, including colorful maps, demonstrate how far Web applications have evolved since 15 years ago, when Microsoft launched Internet Explorer 1.0. That anniversary was marked this week. Although Internet Explorer continues to hold the lion's share of the browser market, it currently faces a robust challenge from the likes of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox; IE has also been at the center of its own controversies, notably the landmark United States versus Microsoft antitrust case. Microsoft plans on launching Internet Explorer 9 on Sept. 15, in a high-profile event in San Francisco. Improvements will reportedly include speedier browser performance, greater compatibility and compliance with standards, and enhanced HTML5 support. Fifteen years ago, of course, terms such as "HTML5" and "smartphone" weren't even part of the lexicon. Who knows what the next decade and a half will bring?
Depending on how one interprets the data, either Bing is demonstrating long-term staying power in its battle against Google, or else Microsoft's search engine is losing traction for new users.