Bing Burn

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-12-23 Print this article Print


In June, Microsoft also introduced a new set of Bing features that brought parts of the search engine more in line with a Yahoo-style Web portal, particularly when it came to entertainment. From an Entertainment tab on the home page, users could now access movie trailers, gaming cheat codes, and even whole television episodes and songs. The TV section offered full-length episodes from more than 1,500 shows, some of them offering high-definition content, while Movies touted the latest showtimes, reviews, synopses and trailers.

In addition, Bing began offering streaming songs via Microsoft's Zune service, including one play-through of any song from the catalog for free. Users could also route through Bing to purchase music from, Zune and iTunes.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Yahoo worked to have the major aspects of their search-and-advertising deal in place by 2010's year-end holidays, according to official blog postings by both companies. That included porting Yahoo's U.S. advertisers and publishers onto Microsoft's AdCenter platform.

Despite all that feature-adding and interface-tweaking, Microsoft continued to burn money with Bing. By the first quarter of fiscal 2011, its Online Services division reported a $560 million loss despite $527 million in revenue. Nonetheless, the company seemed willing to spend that sort of cash to stay competitive with Google and other cloud-centric companies. In an Oct. 28 earnings call, Microsoft executives also reported a 13 percent increase in online advertising.

A few weeks later, anonymous sources reported to AllThingsD's Kara Swisher about Microsoft's apparent worry over "a stable Yahoo," hinting at the increased interdependency as the two companies' search-and-advertising businesses conjoined. Yahoo had been wrestling with much-publicized difficulties, and CEO Carol Bartz made no secret of her willingness to kill underperforming divisions. Despite having its back-end search powered by Bing, Yahoo also unveiled several new features, including a new Yahoo Messenger beta and Yahoo Local Offers, designed to compete directly against similar applications by Google and Microsoft.

As 2010 closed out, Microsoft continued to buttress Bing's capabilities with yet another round of new features, including integration of OpenTable and Grubhub into its Bing for Mobile application for the iPhone and Android. And how did Microsoft fare overall in the search engine market? According to ComScore, Bing occupied some 11.8 percent of it, eclipsed by Google's 66.2 percent-good for a year-over-year rise of 31 percent, according to the research company, but little more than a point above those January numbers.

Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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