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Report: Microsoft U.S. search share hits 12-month low

Google continues to dominate as Yahoo, Microsoft, AOL lag far behind

By Elizabeth Montalbano
March 13, 2009 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Microsoft Corp.'s share of Internet searches in the U.S. fell to a 12-month low, according to a comScore Inc. report on Internet search queries for February.

The report shows that Microsoft's engine was used for 8.2% of search queries during the month, down slightly from a January share of 8.5%. The February share was Microsoft's lowest in 12 months, according to comScore.

AOL LLC also registered poor results for the month, according to comScore. The Time-Warner unit, which on Thursday said it lured Tim Armstrong from his job as president of Americas at Google Inc. to serve as its new chairman and CEO, ended February with only a 3.9% share of the U.S. search market.

Meanwhile, Google continues to dominate the search business, hosting 63.3% of all U.S. search queries in February, up 41.6% from last year.

Yahoo Inc. remains in second place with 21% of the search business, though its share has shrunk from 26% last February.

Ask.com improved its query share slightly for February, according to comScore. Its share was 4.1%, up slightly from January's share of 3.9%.

Overall, search queries in the U.S. grew by 32.6% year over year in February, according to comScore.

In a conference call with financial analysts last month, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer acknowledged Google's strength, but added that the company's hiring of Qi Lu, former search and advertising executive at Yahoo Inc., as president of online services should help it boost its search business.

Microsoft revealed last month that it is testing a new search engine called Kumo that will eventually become the next generation of its Live Search product. Microsoft developed Kumo with semantic search technology acquired from San Francisco start-up Powerset last June. Powerset developed a technology that attempts to understand the full meanings of phrases people type while searching, returning results based on that understanding.

Ballmer has consistently said Microsoft is still interested in some kind of tie-up with Yahoo to join its online search and advertising strategies, a position Microsoft COO Kevin Turner reiterated in a published report this week.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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