Web analysis company StatCounter on June 4 announced that Microsoft's new search engine, Bing, had surpassed the market share of Yahoo Search by over 6 points. However, reports from other research companies including Nielsen suggest that, while Bing certainly had a solid start, Yahoo continues to hold a lead over Microsoft.
Google, the search engine giant that serves as an archrival to both companies, continues to maintain a comfortable double-digit lead in the U.S. core search engine market.
The Bing search engine operates in both a traditional manner, offering up pages of hyperlinks in response to a search query, and a more granular one, with tab categories that users can select to search for "Images," "Videos," "Shopping," "News," "Maps" and "Travel."
In its June 4 report, StatCounter said Bing, with 16.28 market share, stood ahead of Yahoo at 10.22 percent, while Google continued to hold a comfortable lead with 71.47 percent of the market.
StatCounter claims on its site that it "currently has over 2 million members and tracks in excess of 10 billion pageloads per month over its network of 3 million Websites."
However, the company seemed ambivalent as to whether Microsoft could actually hold that lead.
"It remains to be seen if Bing [will fall] away after the initial novelty and promotion," Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, said in a statement.
Indeed, data collected from Nielsen and Hitwise and posted on Search Engine Land suggests that Bing may not have made a hit in quite the way initially predicted by StatCounter.
Hitwise showed that Yahoo Search maintained twice the number of hits as Bing through June 3-although Bing climbed by some 14,500 percent during its initial period.
Similarly, Nielsen found that, while Bing gained over 10 million unique users on its first day of general release-almost overcoming Yahoo Search with 11.6 million hits-its numbers fell off and then leveled on subsequent days, down to 8.6 million on June 2 before rebounding somewhat to 9.3 million on June 3.
Whether Bing will be able to maintain a lead, or even gain market share, in the coming weeks is a topic of obvious debate. Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, at the Bank of America and Merrill Lynch U.S. Technology Conference on May 3, suggested that interest in Bing would be "temporary."
Microsoft seems determined to give the project a major push, at least in the short term. A June 5 report from the New York Times suggested that the company would spend between $80 million and $100 million on promoting Bing, including an array of online banner ads and paid content on sites such as Hulu.com.