Bing News Top Search Term: iPhone 5

Microsoft's own search engine shows that Apple's iPhone 5, and not Windows Phone, was most popular smartphone in 2012.
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To Microsoft's chagrin, the top search term on its Bing news service in 2012 was for archenemy Apple's new smartphone, the iPhone 5.

The phone, which debuted in September, goes head-to-head with Windows Phone-powered devices like Nokia's Lumia 920 in the market for full-featured smartphones. It topped a list of 2012 Bing News searches that Microsoft published Monday, along with top searches from other categories.

Rounding out the top five in news were "2012 Election", "2012 Olympics", "Hurricane Sandy", and "Honey Boo Boo", the latter referring to the sassy child-pageant participant featured in TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

Microsoft also broke out the top Bing search terms in several other categories. The most searched for athlete was Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, whose move from the Indianapolis Colts triggered headlines.

Topping the musician's list was Canadian pop sensation "Justin Bieber", who triggered a Twitter-storm when he showed up for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week dressed in overalls. The top celebrity event was "Beyonce's Baby." The singer drew flack after it was claimed that her and husband Jay-Z wanted the entire maternity floor at New York's Lennox Hill hospital to themselves.

[ Thinking of buying a Microsoft Surface tablet? Read Microsoft Surface: My First Month. ]

The most searched for TV show on Bing in 2012 was "American Idol", which generated buzz with the announcement that hosts Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would be leaving the program. The top social network searched for on Bing was, no surprise, Facebook.

Looking ahead to 2013, Microsoft will try to put a larger dent in Google's stranglehold on the search market. Redmond has its work cut out. Google held 66.9% of the U.S. search market as of October, according to the latest data from Comscore, compared to just 16% for Microsoft. Microsoft, however, can also count Yahoo's 12.2% share, as the Web portal funnels its searches through Bing under an alliance with Microsoft.

To help boost its share, Microsoft earlier this year launched a website on which users could take a blind "taste test" between Bing and Google. Microsoft claimed that users who took the test preferred Bing's results over Google's by a margin of almost two-to-one (Although InformationWeek readers appeared to prefer Google's results in most cases.)

Google generally publishes its list of the year's top search terms in December.