Search engine Bing gains market share

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

Image caption,
Microsoft will begin processing Yahoo's search requests in the autumn of 2010.

Microsoft's search engine Bing has shown impressive growth in its first year say industry experts.

Independent research suggests that Bing has cornered 12.7% of the market in the 12 months since it launched.

However Google has 62.6% and Yahoo 18.9%, according to figures from ComScore.

At a Microsoft summit to discuss Bing's progress, the search engine's executives admitted that there was "a long road ahead" for the site.

"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 BBC News.

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

"But we definitely wouldn't be in it if we were not going to play to win."

Market research firm ComScore showed that Google's share of the US market stood at 62.6% through June, down from 63.7%. Yahoo was second with 18.9%, up from 18.3% in May.

"Google is very entrenched in the culture and in people's behaviour and that is a tough nut to crack," said Greg Sterling, contributing editor to industry website Search Engine Land.

"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 30-40%. If they get to 20% plus that would be a big win for them."


When Microsoft launched Bing in June 2009 it was billed as a decision engine with a "consumer friendly approach" that concentrated on popular topics like travel, entertainment, news, maps, weather and shopping.

"They seem to have some momentum and people are responding to their approach to search," said Greg Sterling.

Image caption,
Bing mobile has 23 million users in total.

Mr Nadello said Microsoft had invested "significant dollars" in getting Bing on the search engine map.

"Microsoft has clearly said they are going to spend to be a player in this market," Ina Fried, senior writer for news website told BBC News.

"The big issue is still that this is a tough game when you come from behind. At the same time Google has lost a rival in the sense that Yahoo is mainly going to use Bing to drive its searches.

"The interesting question has to be is Google better off with one strong competitor or two weaker competitors?"

'Type less, do more'

Microsoft said that this year it has become more focused about its mobile strategy.

Just six months ago it launched a widget for the iPhone which has been downloaded by 4.3 million users in the US.

"It's clearly an area where growth in search is occurring and in terms of strategic importance, it is near the top for Microsoft," said Erik Jorgensen, senior vice-president for mobile.

He told reporters that the focus will be on accessing a user's location to deliver more relevant results, delivering a richer experience for shopping and integrating a user's social graph into results.

"Location is key," said Mr Jorgensen who also said Microsoft is focused on helping users "type less and do more".

"People drive themselves crazy trying to type on these mobile devices so the more we can understand what they are trying to do and provide an easier way to get to it through visual, voice and touch is a key insight into how mobile search is going to evolve," he added.

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