Microsoft’s Predicted Jump In Search Market Share For Bing Fails To Materialize

When Microsoft rolled out Windows 10, the company predicted that it would gain a significant amount of search market share for Bing. They made this hopeful prediction on July 29th, 2015. That prediction, made by David Pann, the general manager of the Bing Ads group, has since been removed from Microsoft’s website.

With the release of their new operating system, Microsoft expected to see a search volume gain increase of about 10 to 15 percent. The had hoped to see most of these increases by early September. The software giant really needs this kind of change, as it has been battling Google for search market share quite a few years now.

Unfortunately, at least at this junction, that change is failing to materialize. In mid-September, internet market rankings site comScore reported on the US desktop search market share. Bing’s increase was marginal, growing from a 20.4 percent share in July to a 20.6 percent share in August. The volume of search queries that users run on Bing has increased only one percent, coming in at 3.63 billion in August.

Interestingly, Google’s market share dropped the same amount that Bing’s grew, implying that Microsoft’s search engine took its gains from Google. Previously, Bing has grown its market share at the expense of Yahoo. On the other hand, the number of Google’s search queries did not change significantly, percentage-wise, between July and August.

Microsoft had tried to make searching on Bing within Windows 10 a little bit easier. It’s the default search engine on Edge, the browser that comes with Windows 10. It also integrated Cortana, its Siri-like voice activated assistant, within Windows 10. Cortana is designed to aid users in several different tasks inside of Windows, including searching with Bing and sharing things such as calendar appointments across platforms. Cortana originally showed up mainly on smartphones, but could prove to be a handy tool for Windows 10 users. Cortana will also be coming soon to iOS, and Android users.

Microsoft made the assumption that Windows 10’s added features would encourage more users to upgrade to the new operating system, thus raising Bing’s search volume. According to Gregg Keizer on PC World, the problem here is twofold. First, as of mid-September, Windows 10’s average usage share has been 9 percent in the US but only 7.5 percent worldwide. While that’s better than Microsoft’s previous desktop operating system did at this point in its release, it’s probably not as good as the developers in Redmond hoped. But even worse, Edge is not popular among Windows 10 users; by some estimates, only one in six of them worldwide use the new browser.


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“Even though Edge is Windows 10’s default browser, even though Microsoft went to great lengths to make it so – switching users from previous choices when they upgraded from Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 – and even though it has adopted tactics used by rivals to pitch Edge in Bing search results, the new browser has failed to catch on,” Keizer wrote.

Could Microsoft still make its prediction for Bing? While September’s numbers aren’t yet in, it seems unlikely. It would have to receive somewhere around four billion US queries in September, and there are multiple factors operating against this potential gain. Still, with a little more than 20 percent of the US desktop search market share, it is worth continuing to keep an eye on Bing. You may even want to consider – or to continue – using Bing Ads, especially if you find that you receive a lot of traffic from this search engine.

— Zack Rivera, Marketing Coordinator