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On its first birthday, Bing continues to eat at Google's share of the search cake

July 15, 2010
One year ago, Microsoft retooled and rebranded its search facilities - renamed a 'decision engine' - as Bing, in the hope of giving market leaders Google and Yahoo! a run for their money.

And, twelve months down the road, the venture continues to grow at a steady pace against the Mountain View tech giant - though search stalwart Yahoo! has kept up at a relatively similar speed, according to the latest figures from comScore.

Microsoft's Bing still finished third in June's search engine rankings, handling 12.7 per cent of search queries on the web on its first birthday. Perennial runner-up Yahoo! was the destination of choice for 18.9 per cent of searchers, while Google remains just short of two-thirds of the market at 62.6 per cent.

These figures may seem daunting for search underdogs, but the trends of the past year give hope to the upstarts. As Microsoft dropped its Live Search - sitting at eight per cent of the market in May 2009 - Bing debuted to an 8.4 per cent share in July 2009, meaning it has gained 4.3 percentage points in the past year, or grown 50 per cent of its original share.

In comparison, Google has seen its share nipped and pecked away at, coming down 2.4 percentage points from 65 per cent of the market.

Officials and executives at Microsoft may suffer no delusions about toppling the search kingpin, though they remain positive about remaining a key player in the sector.

"There is something that we are doing that is clearly resonating but, that said, we are a low share player," Satya Nadello, of Microsoft's online division, told the BBC.

"We have barely gotten into double digits but we want this to grow into a significant business for Microsoft," he added. "It is a huge market where there is a significant profit pool that can be achieved."

Analysts have agreed that any road Bing takes will be a tough climb, though successes could be had on their own terms.

"If Bing takes a long-term view they can make greater inroads than they have but I don't know if they can get beyond 30 to 40 per cent," said Greg Sterling of Search Engine Land. "If they get to 20 per cent-plus, that would be a big win for them.

"Google is very entrenched in the culture and in people's behaviour and that is a tough nut to crack."


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