Bing: the little engine that… couldn’t?

If you’ve bought an electronic device in the last year, you’ll notice that Microsoft is hawking its search engine Bing more than I hawk my products. (On a totally unrelated note, download Cabra, my free and open-source flashcard program.)

That’s all well and good, since you’re allowed to advertise, but Microsoft really goes to the extreme:

  1. Microsoft signed a deal with Blackberry so that Bing would be the only search engine available on Blackberrys.
  2. My sister bought a new computer and was offered a free song download if she searched with Bing.
  3. Microsoft started a $100 million ad campaign to get people to say “Just Bing it.”)
  4. Microsoft actually paid Bing users (OK, maybe I’m exaggerating. They gave you a rebate if you bought something from a Bing search.)
  5. Bing advertises on Google.

Sounds pretty desperate, if you know what I mean.

But the big question is: did it work? Microsoft says yes (but keep in mind that these are the same guys who said Vista was gonna be great.) I’ve read that Bing’s drawing more advertisers, but as far as market share goes it’s not doing very well.

Search engine usage statistics
Search engine usage statistics, April '10 to April '11

Here are the exact numbers from April ’10 to April ’11:

Google – 90.39% to 90.29% (-0.10%)

Yahoo – 4.29% to 3.81% (-0.48%)

Bing – 3.57% to 3.99% (+0.42%)

Bing’s made progress, but not very much (at the rate it’s going, it would take Bing 166 years to match Google.) I’d expect more from Bing when Microsoft goes to such desperate ends to advertise it.

So should we mark off Bing as a complete failure? It does have a good amount of market share, but it’s far from being the Google killer that Microsoft anticipated.

Published by

Neel Mehta

Harvard College. Web developer. Sometime philosopher. Baseball junkie.

2 thoughts on “Bing: the little engine that… couldn’t?”

  1. You might want to combine the market share of Yahoo and Bing. For over a year now, Bing has powered Yahoo. (Disappointing really, because Yahoo was the first search engine and I really applaud them for that).

    Still not a Google killer but 7.8% is much bigger than 3.99%.

    1. Good point. Still, despite Microsoft’s constant advertising of Bing, Bing’s market share hasn’t increased, although it has started powering more searches.

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