Feeds

Can Bing ride IE and WinPho to Google triumph?

Microsoft's mobile hope

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Next month marks the two-year anniversary of Microsoft's assault on Fortress Google.

Two years ago, after pouring billions of dollars into a new search engine and advertising platform, Microsoft took Bing to market.

In two years, Bing has gone from an eight per cent market share - courtesy of predecessor, Microsoft Live Search - to 13 per cent, according to comScore. Microsoft is averaging approximately two-and-a-half percentage points growth a year, and yet Google's share has barely moved. There has been a fluctuation of a few percentage points here or there, but according to comScore, Mountain View's share remains around 65 per cent.

This must be frustrating for Microsoft.

Every few months, Microsoft provides status updates that preview a new batch of carefully considered Bing features. The company has closely analyzed people's search behavior to determine what would best differentiate the Bing experience from Google. But all that hard work for a mere two percentage points a year seems cruel. At this rate, it will take roughly another 20 years to match Google.

Why is the going so hard? Stefan Weitz, director of Bing, told the The Huffington Post that the web surfing public has had its expectations shaped by a decade of second best from Google. They now expect second best, he says.

"Getting people to break out of expecting to see ten links after a query is challenging," he told HuffPo. "In fact, when we do give them a new experience... we see abandonment rates. We see people walking away because they don't know how to process anything besides those ten blue links."

He might have a point. Big technology companies can and do shape our expectations for particular pieces of technology. Microsoft made it impossible for others to crack the Office franchise because it successfully set the tone for how to do document processing, spreadsheets, and presentations on the desktop.

But there are two factors that could help Microsoft's hard-working Bing team in the future.

One is Internet Explorer. Though IE has been losing market share, the browser is good business for Bing. Analysis by comScore shows that Microsoft sites get a higher share of searches from IE compared to Chrome and Firefox, while Google gets it's lowest percentage of searches from the Microsoft browser.

Microsoft has always held that without IE, its search engine would be a lost cause. Now you have the proof.

"Do not overlook the influence the browser has on your search behavior. Browser choice and search engine usage are interrelated, so it's little surprise these companies are racing to improve their browsers in the hopes of gaining market share," comScore's Eli Goodman says.

But, as said, IE is losing market share on the desktop. And this is where mobile comes into play for Bing. No one has yet achieved a serious lead in mobile search. In the mobile market, Bing may finally be able to challenge Google. Microsoft plans to offer a full-fledged version of IE - not a limited version of IE - on Windows Mobile later this year.

Of course, Microsoft comes to the mobile market as green as anybody else. And Windows Phone 7 is essentially at zero market share. But there is hope for Redmond. Much will depend on how Google and Mozilla decide to challenge IE with Chrome and Firefox on mobile and how the mobile OS market pans out. But if Bing is ever going to truly challenge Google, it will have to be on handsets. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Big Content outs piracy hotbeds: São Paulo, Beijing ... TORONTO?
MPAA calls Canadians a bunch of bootlegging movie thieves
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Just don't blame Bono! Apple iTunes music sales PLUMMET
Cupertino revenue hit by cheapo downloads, says report
US court SHUTS DOWN 'scammers posing as Microsoft, Facebook support staff'
Netizens allegedly duped into paying for bogus tech advice
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
Verizon bankrolls tech news site, bans tech's biggest stories
No agenda here. Just don't ever mention Net neutrality or spying, ok?
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Protecting against web application threats using SSL
SSL encryption can protect server‐to‐server communications, client devices, cloud resources, and other endpoints in order to help prevent the risk of data loss and losing customer trust.