Microsoft Bing grew to more than five percent of the US online search market during its first month – clocking up a growth rate of 25 percent per week, according to Hitwise
Microsoft’s Bing search engine owned 5.25 percent of the US online search market in the four weeks ending 27 June, according to the research company, but is still behind Google and Yahoo, which have 74 percent and 16.2 percent, respectively. Bing even overtook the lowly Ask.com, however, which only had 3.15 percent.
Bing represents a huge bet for Microsoft, which is reportedly pouring in between $80 million and $100 million as part of an intensive marketing effort. Since its 3 June launch, Bing has managed to gain small but significant market share, according to most research companies monitoring its progress; StatCounter, for example, found that the site gained 8.23 percent in June, as compared with when Microsoft’s search engine was named Live Search and hovered around 7 percent market share.
Despite gains for Bing, which combines traditional “page of hyperlinks” search with tabs that allow access to specific categories such as Shopping and Video, Microsoft may have an uphill battle if it wants to take more of Google and Yahoo’s market share.
A small case study by the Catalyst Group found that Bing search drew high marks from users in its design and search results — but that those users felt a greater attachment to the Google brand, making them reluctant to switch despite what they thought were superior Bing features. However, given the sample size of the study, the results can be viewed as far from definitive.
The question becomes whether Bing can maintain its growth and position even after advertising for it inevitably begins to decline. Some IT leaders think not.
Carol Bartz, Yahoo chief executive said during a technology conference in New York on 3 June that Microsoft was “not going to get scale through Bing” and that any surge in popularity would be “temporary”.
Perhaps aware that the situation could eventually turn either way, Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer has likewise suggested that Bing has a long way to go.
“We have had some very good initial response,” Ballmer said at a US event on 17 June. “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.”