Google Is Not a Monopoly

January 31, 2013

The latest U.S. Web-search market rankings from comScore may surprise some. The data-analysis company issues such rankings each month, and reports, “Bing Makes Gains on Google’s Market Share in December 2012.” That article emphasizes how hard Microsoft has been fighting on behalf of Bing, with ads targeting its great nemesis as a privacy malefactor whose results are secretly influenced by paid advertising and are not as good as Bing’s, anyway. Whether Microsoft’s campaign was the cause, we may never know for sure, but Google’s desktop product did experience a slip at the end of last year. Writer John Callaham states that comScore’s report shows:

“. . . Google with 66.7 percent of the market, down 0.3 percent from November 2012. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s US search share is shown at 16.3 percent in December, up 0.1 percent from November 2012.

Yahoo came in third with 12.2 percent for December 2012, again up 0.1 percent from the month before. Bing is the basis for Yahoo’s search engine, which effectively means that Microsoft gained 0.2 percent of the Internet search market in December.”

It was, in fact, the fourth straight month Google slipped, we learn from Business Insider’s “Google’s Core Business Is in the Middle of a Fundamental Shift.” It is important to keep a sense of scale here; while Bing and Yahoo did gain ground, Google remains securely atop the heap, with well over half the traffic. Still, the figures demonstrate what we’ve known all along– that Google is not a monopoly. Business Insider’s Jay Yarrow notes the results may even have helped convince the FTC of that crucial detail.

The Business Insider piece also points out an important tangent: desktop search as a whole is becoming less and less important in the face of mobile devices. Google is ready to dominate mobile, too, being the default search engine in not only its own Android OS, but on the iPhone as well. Meanwhile, Microsoft focused its search-related energy on tailoring Bing for the desktop. Yarrow writes:

“The big picture is that Microsoft burned billions fighting for the desktop search market right when the world was preparing to abandon desktop search.”

Yes. I don’t think Google should worry about the competition from that quarter any time soon.

Cynthia Murrell, January 31, 2013

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