Microsoft and AOL neck-and-neck in Nielsens

Branding irons

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

There's not much between Microsoft Corp and AOL Time Warner Inc in the latest eyeball ratings from Nielsen//NetRatings, which for the first time include metrics from usage of internet applications other than just browsers.

According to Nielsen, in October Microsoft-owned brands had a unique audience of 92.619 million, compared to 92.608 million from AOL-owned brands. The statistics are extrapolated from Nielsen's panels of volunteers at home and work.

While those metrics show the race for the minds of internet users too close to call, the same report shows AOL's users spending almost eight hours per month on the service, compared to Microsoft's two and a half hours per user.

By brand, Yahoo! Inc was the clear leader, with 79.752 million users accessing its services in October, compared to Microsoft's 78.782 million, MSN's 75.517 million AOL's 73.273 million and Google's 37.655 million.

Nielsen//NetRatings said that for the first time it included instant messaging applications, media players, web phones, browser toolbars and other non-browser applications when it compiled its audience figures. It calls the service Digital Media Universe.

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