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Could Microsoft Knock Off Yahoo To Become Google's Biggest Competitor?

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As much as I would have thought such a post title would have been absurd a week ago, it could happen. According to the latest search market share figures released by Compete, MSN/ Live increased its market share by 67% from May to June 2007, putting Microsoft’s share of search at 13.2% behind Yahoo at 19.6% and Google on 62.7%. Over the year, Microsoft’s search traffic is up 47%.

Despite a $100 million Crispin, Porter + Bogusky advertising campaign, Ask saw its share of the search market decrease from 3.5% to 3.3%, although to be fair to Ask, Compete recorded a 2.6% rise in traffic.

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Is this a sign that Microsoft could actually overtake Yahoo to become Google’s largest competitor, or a statistical blip?

comscoremay.png comScore’s figures would seem to support the idea. According to comScore’s May 2007 figures, Yahoo Search has a market reach (as opposed to share) of 31.2% to MSN/ Live search with 25.4%. The unique visitor numbers were 240million to 196million, a gap that could certainly be narrowed and even overcome.

Microsoft has the advantage of having their search properties open as the default homepage on IE7, and with Vista shipping over this time frame it could be a case that some consumers are simply using the default search page or search box they are presented with on a new box or upgraded system.

No matter what the reason, credit where it is due to Microsoft: it looks like their search strategy may finally be starting to deliver.

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