Interesting news in the search landscape today: Microsoft’s search engine product, better known as Bing.com, has exceeded 30% of search market share for the first time ever. It’s interesting (and heartening, in our opinion, because real competition in the space is badly needed) to see another search engine gain at the expense of Google, because the trend for so many years has been exactly the opposite. Congratulations, Redmond.
There are, as always, a couple of caveats worth noting. First of all, that roughly 30% market share isn’t all Bing.com and their related apps and search products. Half of it is Yahoo!, who long ago gave up on improving their own search engine and “contracted out” the technology to Bing. Bing-branded market share is really only about 15%. Nevertheless, any growth against Google by competing services is impressive.
Second, it’s possible that, in addition to the Yahoo! deal, Bing’s growth can be attributed to their aggressive deal-making and sponsorships over the last year or so. In addition to its own position as the default search engine on Windows Phone 7 devices, Bing has inked deals with Android handset makers to deliver Bing-co-branded phones. Some Android enthusiasts call this aggressive bundling of sponsored apps and services by carriers on many Android phones “junkware,” but there’s no doubt that we’ll see more and more of this as a way for wireless carriers to subsidize hardware cost.