Microsoft Search-Market Share Increased In July, Says Report

Microsoft's Bing increased its share of the U.S. search market slightly in July 2009, climbing to 8.9 percent, as it ate small bites from both Google and Yahoo. The new partnership deal between Yahoo and Microsoft, which will use Bing as the search engine for Yahoo sites, translates into a 28.2 percent market share for the combined companies, versus 64.7 percent share for market-leader Google.

Microsoft's Bing search engine saw its market share grow slightly in July 2009, even before the added effect of the Microsoft-Yahoo partnership agreement, according to new data released by research firm comScore.

In July, Bing's share of the U.S. search market climbed to 8.9 percent from 8.4 percent in June, while Yahoo's market share fell slightly to 19.3 percent, down 0.3 percent from the month previous. Combined, the two owned 28.2 percent of the market, versus 64.7 percent for Google, which lost 0.3 percent of share.

Overall, comScore saw a deceleration in growth for all the top search engines in July, even as Bing swallowed a tidbit of market-share from Google and Yahoo. Despite Bing's gains, wrote Broadpoint analyst Ben Schacter, in a research note analyzing comScore's data, "We are reluctant to extrapolate this into meaningful long-term share gains, and note that [Google] still had its second-highest share of monthly queries ever in July."

The data from comScore supports earlier findings by StatCounter, which suggested that Bing gained a single point of market-share in July to bring its total to 9.41 percent. That report saw Google's share of the U.S. market drop by nearly a point, to 77.54 percent of the market, while Yahoo declined a fraction from 11.04 to 10.95 percent.

The partnership deal between Microsoft and Yahoo, announced on July 29, centers on a 10-year agreement under which Bing will power Yahoo's search engine, while Yahoo assumes control of exclusive worldwide advertising-sales duties for both companies. The deal has been widely seen as perhaps the most viable strategy in both companies' attempts to combat Google, which dominates the search and online-advertising market with healthy double-digit market leads.

Since its June 3 launch, Bing has managed to make and hold incremental gains in the search market, although its numbers could potentially change as Microsoft's huge marketing campaign for the search engine, estimated to have cost somewhere between $80 million and $100 million, begins to wind down.

During his keynote speech at the Worldwide Partner Conference in July, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested that Bing represented a key part of Microsoft's upcoming strategy, despite pressure from larger search engines.

"Man, oh man, have we taken a lot of abuse, and we're still just an itsy-bitsy part of the market, but we have a little bit of mojo," Ballmer told the audience.

Despite some upcoming technological challenges associated with a Microsoft-Yahoo partnership, the deal ultimately places Bing in a stronger market-share position against Google.