Microsoft Bing booming; Yahoo appears in its sights

Research reports disagree on whether Bing is trailing or leading Yahoo

Reports released this week showed that Microsoft Corp.'s Bing search tool continues to gain ground in the search engine wars, but how much ground it's gaining is a bit up in the air.

For the second time since Bing's launch just over a month ago, StatCounter Global Stats, which analyzes Web site traffic, reported that the new search engine's market share has passed that of Yahoo Inc.'s search tool. According to a StatCounter report released today, Bing held a 12.9% share of the U.S. search market, while Yahoo held 10.15% at the start of July.

Both Microsoft and Yahoo are still well behind Google Inc., which commands just about 75% of the search market, according to the report.

The traffic tracker had reported last month that Bing had surpassed Yahoo on one day shortly after its June 1 launch.

Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, said in a statement that the latest figures may have resulted from a positive review of Bing that appeared on the New York Times Web site on July 8 and in the newspaper's print edition a day later. "While its lead over Yahoo may not last into next week, our data suggests that it is slowly but surely closing the gap," said Cullen.

Meanwhile Hitwise Pty., which also measures online traffic, released a report yesterday showing that Bing's market share, while growing, still lags far behind Yahoo's.

According to Hitwise's latest research, Google held 74.04% of the search market in June, while Yahoo had 16.19% and Bing 5.25%. Hitwise did note that Bing's use grew by an average of 25% during each week in June.

Microsoft and Google have been going head to head a lot lately. Microsoft threw its hat into the ring to take on Google's dominant search service, and just this week Google fired its own salvo back at Microsoft, acknowledging that it's working on putting out an operating system for netbooks and PCs. And analysts say Google is the company in the best position to take on Microsoft and its vaunted Windows software.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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