Google Extends Search Lead Over Yahoo, Microsoft - InformationWeek

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Google Extends Search Lead Over Yahoo, Microsoft

The numbers raise questions about whether Microsoft's failed attempt to acquire Yahoo would have been worth it.

So much for antitrust issues. Yahoo and Microsoft's combined share of the Internet search market -- a figure that would draw scrutiny if the two companies were to merge -- has fallen below 30%.

Google widened its lead in the U.S. search market, drawing 61.6% of all queries in April, according to data released Thursday by comScore. That's up from Google's 59.8% stake in March. Yahoo's share fell from 21.3% to 20.4%, while Microsoft's share dropped from 9.4% to 9.1%.

The numbers raise questions about whether Microsoft's failed attempt to acquire Yahoo for $33 per share would have been worth it. They also could explain why the company now says it's no longer interested in such an acquisition.

"We are not bidding to buy Yahoo," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, at a launch event Wednesday for Microsoft's new research and development center in Herzliya, Israel, according to Reuters.

Still, Microsoft says it's continuing to explore partnering opportunities with Yahoo. The speculation is that Microsoft wants to combine Yahoo's search operations with its own, while leaving Yahoo to run its portal and display advertising operations independently.

Yahoo on Thursday extended its "Panama" search advertising program to parts of Asia, including the Philippines.

Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google are all vying for a bigger portion of a U.S. search market that does not appear to be growing. April saw 10.58 billion total search queries, compared to 10.77 billion in March, according to comScore.

Google alone pulled in 6.51 billion queries, Yahoo garnered 2.16 billion, while Microsoft search properties were hit 961 million times. Rounding out the top five, AOL received 491 million queries and Ask Network received 458 million, comScore said.

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