The online search market is an incredibly lucrative one. There's a massive amount of traffic and accompanying data to be mined, and in addition advertising revenue to be harvested. Control the internet search, and you stand to become one of the most profitable tech companies. Unfortunately, since Google established its dominance, almost no one (outside of Yahoo) has been able to attempt to gain such control.
Microsoft is looking to at last change that. After pouring millions into its online search offerings and seeing them flounder, struggling to even break with Yahoo's market share, the company needed a change. It first tried to purchase Yahoo and merge the searches -- but that didn't work out so well. So Microsoft spent more money going back to the drawing board, creating a fancy new search engine titled Bing.
And amazingly, this time it has seemed to work; early indications are that while Bing won't displace Yahoo overnight as Google's primary competitor, that it is popular and on the rise.
During the work week June 8-12, market research firm comScore found that Microsoft advanced to a 12.1 percent U.S. market share, up from 11.3 percent June 1-5 on Bing's launch week, and up from the previous Microsoft's search engine's total of 9.1 percent on the week before that -- May 25-29. The increase puts Microsoft's net gains at over 30 percent market share growth in just two weeks. At this pace it could catch Yahoo in about a month.
Just last month, Yahoo held 20.1 percent of the market, with Microsoft holding roughly 8 percent on average, and Google held steady at 65 percent.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cheered the news, exclaiming, "We have had some very good initial response. I don't want to over-set expectations. We are going to have to be tenacious and keep up the pace of innovation over a long period of time."
Microsoft has lashed out at competitor Google over the week over a plug-in to Microsoft's Outlook. The Google plug-in broke certain Outlook functionality and also broke Windows Search. Bemoans Outlook product manager Dev Balasubramanian, "The installation of the Google Apps Sync plugin disables Outlook's ability to search any and all of your Outlook data. It is also important to note that uninstalling the plugin may not fix the issue."
Google remained nonchalant, stating, "We're working with Microsoft and other partners to help fix these issues and support additional Outlook features like multiple calendars. We'll keep you posted on our progress."
The battle over email customers could be a critical one. If Google can get customers of Microsoft's Outlook to switch to Gmail by making the process painless, it could slow Microsoft's momentum, by directing more traffic to its site. However, if it alienates customers via a sloppy transition, it could risk feeding Microsoft's search engine fire. Where Bing will go remains to be seen, but one thing is clear -- for now it's quite popular.