David Kirkpatrick

March 13, 2010

Bing gaining search engine market share …

Filed under: Business, Technology — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:12 pm

… but just barely. I’ve seen more than a few tech stories covering Bing’s modest gains in search engine market share. All well and good, but it’s worth looking at the actual numbers and some of the reasons for that gain. Let’s just say I think the Redmond bunch should probably keep the champagne on ice and heed the advice of Winston Wolf. (In case you don’t remember Wolf, he’s the “Pulp Fiction” character who used a rather colorful idiom to keep Vince and Jules’ ego in check.)

Microsoft is gaining market share, but at a very high cost. Bing has had the living hell marketed out of it, particularly on television. If all that money creates converts who consistently use Bing over Google, and market share keeps growing, it’ll be worth the cost. Right now I’m guessing whatever money Microsoft is earning from Bing is dwarfed by the search engine’s marketing budget. Microsoft has a long and proud history of losing a ton of money in a market area they want to enter and challenge a rival (see: Xbox gaming console.)

Now let’s look at the actual numbers and see just how far behind Google Bing really is, and how it may not be chipping away at the targeted rival at all, but actually stealing market share from its now partner, Yahoo.

From the first link:

December 2009 January 2010 February 2010
Google 72.25% 71.49% 70.95%
Yahoo 14.83% 14.57% 14.57%
Bing 8.92% 9.37% 9.70%

Source: Hitwise

And:

January 2010 February 2010
Google 65.4% 65.5%
Yahoo 17.0% 16.8%
Bing 11.3% 11.5%

Source: comScore

Also from the first link:

Bing search engine may still be a bit player in the lucrative online search business dominated byGoogle, but it’s slowly and steadily gaining users. And it appears that Bing’s share is coming at the expense of both Google (GOOG) and Yahoo, the latter of which recentlyteamed up with Microsoft to be more competitive in online search.

A commenter at the link made a great point that some of this gain could be from Windows 7 users retaining — at least for now — the Bing default search engine option.

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