Bing, Google Battle Lines Remain Unchanged: comScore

Microsoft's Bing and Google are roughly maintaining their search-engine market-share battle lines, according to new data from comScore.

Microsoft's share of the U.S. explicit core search market remained unchanged between June and July, according to new data from research firm comScore.

Overall, Google Websites led in July with 65.1 percent of the U.S. market, a slight decrease from 65.5 percent in June. Yahoo came in second with 16.1 percent, a tiny uptick from June's 15.9 percent. Meanwhile, Microsoft stayed steady at 14.4 percent.

According to comScore, explicit core search "excludes contextually driven searches that do not reflect specific user intent to interact with the search results."

When it comes to total core search-which includes partner searches, cross-channel searches and contextual searches-the respective companies' July shares remained roughly the same: Google earned 64.8 percent, Yahoo held 17.9 percent and Microsoft came in third with 13.4 percent. According to that metric, Microsoft declined slightly from June, when it held 14.1 percent.

There's a bit more here than meets the eye. Under the terms of an existing partnership, Microsoft's Bing powers Yahoo's search, meaning that Yahoo's market share should be added to Microsoft's-essentially doubling it. Even with that combined share, though, Google remains far ahead of Microsoft, something that's stayed pretty much unchanged since the latter launched Bing in the summer of 2009.

The animosity between Google and Microsoft has risen in recent weeks, stemming in large part from the competition between the companies' smartphone platforms. Specifically, Google has accused Microsoft-in conjunction with Apple and some other tech giants-of purchasing wireless technology patents with an eye toward litigating Android out of existence.

"Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other's throats, so when they get into bed together, you have to start wondering what's going on," David Drummond, Google's senior vice president and chief legal officer, wrote in an Aug. 3 posting on The Official Google Blog. "Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means-which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop."

Google's competitors have taken to the courts to stop Android's rise. Over the past several months, Microsoft has convinced several manufacturers to pay it royalties on their Android-based devices, and is currently locked in patent-infringement lawsuits with Motorola and Barnes & Noble. Meanwhile, Apple is embroiled in court cases with HTC, Samsung and Motorola over the use of Android technology.

Following Drummond's blog post, Microsoft decided to take the battle to the Internet.

"Google says we bought Novell patents to keep them from Google," Brad Smith, Microsoft's general counsel, wrote in an Aug. 3 Tweet. "Really? We asked them to bid jointly with us. They said no."

The same day, Frank Shaw, Microsoft's corporate vice president of corporate communications (say that three times fast), also Tweeted: "Free advice for David Drummond-next time check with Kent Walker before you blog."

Despite the war of words, though, Google Android holds a commanding lead over Microsoft's Windows Phone-and as this new data from comScore suggests, the battle lines in search remain firmly in place.

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