Google sites accounted for 61.9% of July searches, an increase of 0.4 percentage points from the previous month. Yahoo sites accounted for 20.5%, a decrease of 0.4 percentage points. And Microsoft sites accounted for 8.9%, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points.
In numerical terms, Google handled almost 7.3 billion core searches (a 2% increase). Yahoo processed 2.4 billion, and Microsoft fielded 1 billion.
Ask Network and AOL saw search market share increases of 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively, giving them 4.5% and 4.2% of U.S. searches for the month of July.
Google's continued strength has to be particularly disheartening for Microsoft, which in May launched a new search program called Live Search cashback to lure new users to its Live Search service with the possibility of e-commerce rebates.
Live Search cashback appeared to be working, with Microsoft's search share in the U.S. rising from 8.5% in May to 9.2% in June. But with its search share dropping to 8.7% in July, Microsoft is almost back where it started when the program was introduced. Rebates may convince people to try Live Search but they don't appear to be turning the curious into repeat customers. Given the tightening economy, however, it's possible that Microsoft's monetary enticement will have more of an impact in coming months.
It what may be a related moved, Microsoft last month announced that its Platforms & Services Division will be divided into two groups -- Windows/Windows Live and Online Services -- and that Platforms & Services president Kevin Johnson will be leaving the company.
At the time, Microsoft said that its Live Search cashback program "is already generating strong momentum among online shoppers and advertisers."
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