Bing denied double digit market share so far, despite spending spree

March 15, 2010

It seems inevitable now that Bing will soon be hitting double digit market share for the first time. Bing hit 9.7% market share compared to Google's impressive 70%i. Unfortunately for Microsoft that growth seems to be coming at the expense of it's soon-to-be partner Yahoo!, rather than its rival Google. Although 1/10th of such a potentioally lucrative market is nothing to scoff at, when you put things in perspective Bing would have take 30% of Google's share just to catch-up with the Mountain view leader. So far the numbers indicate they have managed to grab a few percentage points, but taken none away from its rival.
And the misguided gains are coming slowly; growing at only a fraction of a percentage point every month. Not only is it cannibalizing the share it will receive from the Yahoo! deal, it is also feeding the giant Google by purchasing advertising from their network. Google is actually Bing's 4th largest referrerii; and a good portion of that might be from AdWords.
Which begs the question – how long can they continue with this strategy? Microsoft has so far poured 5 billion into the big search engine relaunchiii, and seems determined to come out on top. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was recently quoted "First, we've got to get to break even. And then we're got to get to profitability. And then we've got to grow share".

And that attitude might be a part of the problem. When you compare to the hot web destinations today in social media, they're all about gaining market share first, profitability second. That's the mindset of a great startup, and it's part of Google's DNA. Innovations like Bing maps' “bird's eye view”iv are the types of innovations that should be receiving the most resources. Converting users will come almost naturally by spreading the word on social networks through a relatively inexpensive viral marketing campaign.
But for the time being, they will continue to spend millions on expensive old economy marketing that does little to energize tech enthusiast, whom are always the first to jump ship. The embedded video contains a spot played during an episode of the Simpsons in the UK. Calling themselves a “decision engine” does demonstrate that they are at least trying to be more than a search engine, and some users are willing to give them a try – but will they stick around once the spending spree ends?

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