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Microsoft's Bing Makes Gains At Expense Of Google, Yahoo

Microsoft's new Bing search engine is slowly gaining ground against the competition. But that may not be enough to change the dynamics of the search market.

Microsoft's new search engine Bing -- referred to by the company as a "decision engine" -- is taking search market share from Google, Yahoo, and Ask, but its gains remain underwhelming.

According to NetApplications, an online metrics firm, Google's global search market share declined by 0.3% in June, while Yahoo lost 0.17% search share, and Ask saw a 0.1% drop.

Yet Bing hasn't proven to be a runaway hit. Google remains the leader in global search market share by a huge margin at 81.22%, followed by Yahoo at 9.21%, Bing at 5.31%, AOL at 1.74%, and Ask at 0.84%.

This is more or less where Bing was when it launched, at least by NetApplication's measure. The company puts Microsoft's overall search share -- Bing, Live, and MSN -- at 6.02% in June, up from 5.43% in May.

StatCounter, a Web metrics firm based in Dublin, Ireland, reports that Microsoft has gained 1% in search market share. "Microsoft had 8.23% market share in June, behind Yahoo! at 11.04%," the company said in a blog post. "Google still dominates the U.S. market but has fallen back slightly from 79.07% in April to 78.48% in June."

Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, described Bing's upswing as "steady but not spectacular." Hitwise, another online metrics company, paints Bing in a less impressive light but makes Yahoo look like a far stronger contender. For the four weeks ending on June 27, 2009, it measured Google's share of searches at 74.04%, Yahoo's at 16.19%, Bing's at 4.99%, and Ask's at 3.15%.

ComScore, yet another Web metrics company, reported last month that Microsoft's share of search results pages in the U.S. reached 12.1% between June 8 and June 12, a 3% rise from the week of May 25-29 when Bing was introduced.

Overall, these numbers suggest that Bing is a strong offering from Microsoft. However, strong may not be enough. A recent survey by the Catalyst Group, a New York-based design firm, found that despite a preference for Bing's warmer home page design, respondents preferred Google to Bing 2 to 1. Despite finding search result relevance to be about the same, most respondents said they planned to continue using Google rather than switch to Bing.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on application delivery. Download the report here (registration required).

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