Microslump: If Search Data Are Accurate, Bad News for Microsoft
August 20, 2008
Statistics are malleable. Data about online usage are not just malleable, they are diaphanous. Silicon Valley Insider reported Web search market share data at Silicon Alley Insider here. The article by Michael Learmonth was “Google Takes 60% of Search Market, While MSN Loses Share.” The highlight of the write up is a chart, which I am reluctant to reproduce. I can, I believe, quote one statement that struck me as particularly important; namely:
MSN, which lost more than two percentage points of market share from month to month, going from 14.1% of searches to 11.9%. So if Microsoft’s “Cashback” search engine shopping gimmick actually helped boost search share in May and June, its impact seems to be dropping.
The data come from Nielsen Online, specifically the cleverly named MegaView Search report. Wow, after pumping big money into data centers, buying Fast Search & Transfer and Powerset, and ramping up search research and development, the data suggest that:
- A desktop monopoly doesn’t matter in search
- Microsoft’s billions don’t matter in search
- Aggressive marketing such as the forced download for the Olympic content doesn’t matter.
Google is like one of those weird quantum functions that defy comprehension. What else must Redmond do? Send me your ideas for closing the gap between Microsoft and Google.
Stephen Arnold, August 20, 2008