Nielsen: Microsoft's search queries fall 14% in May

Bing better deliver a bang for Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft's search engine suffered a steep usage drop in May, right before the company launched Bing, a new version of its search engine, according to the latest market share figures from Nielsen Online.

U.S. residents ran almost 15% fewer queries on Microsoft's search engine in May year-over-year, although search queries grew 20.3% in the market overall, Nielsen Online said today.

Microsoft's Live/MSN search engine was the only one among the top five that saw its search usage shrink last month compared with May 2008.

Google Inc., which ranked first with a 63.2% share of queries, registered 28.2% growth in queries. Yahoo Inc., in its usual distant second place with a 17.2% share, had its queries grow 22.3%. AOL LLC, with a 4% share, registered growth of 13.1%, while (2.2% share), grew its queries by 22%.

The MSN/Live search engine ranked third with a 9.4% share of queries.

Microsoft has high hopes for Bing, which it announced in late May and began to roll out days later with great fanfare.

Microsoft calls Bing a "decision engine" designed to give people a "first step" to move beyond what the company calls the conventional search experience by making it easier to find and use information on the Web.

Despite Google's dominance, Microsoft maintains that the search market is still in its early stages and that there are many opportunities to improve upon the search-engine user experience.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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