Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), which spent hundreds of millions of dollars positioning its Bing search engine to challenge Google, has reached 15 percent market share at the expense of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and partner Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO).
This may hardly be cause for concern for Google, which has fluttered between 64 and 66 percent market share since Bing rolled out in June 2009.
However, Bing's gain may or may not be of bigger concern to Yahoo, which fell to 15.1 percent in October from 15.2 percent in November to put it in a virtual tie with Microsoft. Bing could very well pass Yahoo in search share by January.
But that may not matter to Yahoo. Yahoo's search results have been powered by Microsoft's servers for nearly a year and a half under a 10-year search deal in which Microsoft pays Yahoo 88 percent of traffic acquisition costs related to search advertising.
This deal helps Microsoft account for 30 percent of U.S. search market share, which while still less than half Google's plot is a far sight better than its 15 percent alone.
In the meantime, Yahoo is hoping its Livestand magazine and IntoNow TV applications for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad tablet computer will help it gain some more relevancy with users by offering them mobile Web content. Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter are also vying for chunks of this red-hot mobile market, which has great advertising potential.
Overall, comScore counted over 17.8 billion searches in November, with Google claiming 11.7 billion of the total. Yahoo and Microsoft tied at 2.7 billion searches.
More than 17.8 billion explicit core searches were conducted in November. Google Sites ranked first with 11.7 billion, followed by Yahoo! Sites with 2.7 billion and Microsoft Sites with 2.7 billion. Ask Network delivered 516 million searches, while AOL rounded out the top five with 286 million (up 3 percent).
Google shows no signs of slowing down either. The company in November tweaked its algorithm to bring more freshness to 35 percent of search results, including for hot topics and recurring events. The move is aimed at helping Google better compete with some of the fresher content pouring throughout Facebook and Twitter.
Earlier this month, Google introduced 10 more search algorithm adjustments and vowed to publish a list of such improvements every month to share more information about its underlying mechanics.