Bing in the New Year

The blogosphere has been swirling with reports of Bing gaining market share in recent months, but a closer look at the numbers reveals a good news/bad news scenario for Microsoft. While comScore’s qsearch reports that Bing’s share among the top five search engines has grown from 8% in June to nearly 11% in December, lead horse Google’s share also increased during this time period (from 65% to 66%).

Since we’re still calculating on a pie of 100%, that means Bing took share from elsewhere; this is where the really bad news comes in. Yahoo, Bing’s would be search sidekick, saw its share of search decline from 20% to 17% during the same time period. The other unaccounted for 1% is the victim of rounding. While Ask.com and AOL (yes, some people are still checking the mail for the latest disc) both lost share during that time period, it wasn’t enough to move the nicely rounded numbers.

So, as Bing has tried, through tons of awareness marketing, to steal share from Google, it has really only succeeded in nibbling on the Yahoo sandwich it was already planning on having for lunch. Bing’s biggest challenge continues to be proving that it is more useful than Google. This is a tall order, given Google’s long standing market position as the best way to find stuff ever. This reputation wasn’t built through obnoxious TV commercials; it was built through actually being better search after search after search. Unless Bing can demonstrate that kind of product superiority, it promises to remain in 2010 what it was in 2009 – an acronym for But It’s Not Google. 

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