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MSN/Live Search Nipping At Google’s Heels

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Like a puppy chasing someone, Microsoft has been in the search engine pack hounding Google. They could be on their way to eroding just a bit of Google’s market share, but much has to happen first.

Jeremy Crane, a director at Bill Gross’ Compete online market research site, discussed an uptick in MSN/Live searches as reflected in their SnapShot of Web Search Market Share Trends. The site taps a panel of some 2 million people to gather its information. What Compete has picked up on for February 2007 is some movement for MSN/Live against Google,Yahoo, Ask, and AOL. A one percent move from 8 to 9 percent in search market share represents a significant gain for Microsoft. Compete blogged their latest search market share observations today.

Crane said that in the first month of Microsoft’s Vista release, his feeling is that the trend Compete sees looks good for the new operating system. Vista arrives with Internet Explorer 7, and Microsoft as the default search choice. There is no real impact on Google yet, he said in the phone conversation with WebProNews. Crane did note that Google could hit a point of diminishing returns, which would slow their growth.

Google made a similar observation in their recently released annual report; they also cited Microsoft as a primary competitor. Other issues could affect the trend Compete has observed for MSN/Live Search gaining ground while Yahoo and Ask both experienced a drop in search market share. Crane said people who end up acquiring Vista may or may not make the default search change on their systems.

Google and Yahoo both fight that kind of inertia when their sites pick up a visit from IE7. They deliver suggestions on-screen to change the default search, and provide helpful instructions for doing so. Crane also said that MSN/Live should tick upward through the year, and did allow that the fourth quarter holiday period, the first one where shoppers in significant numbers will be buying Vista-equipped machines, may yield continued increases for MSN/Live after that. —

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MSN/Live Search Nipping At Google’s Heels
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