Monday, August 03, 2009

Microsoft and Yahoo Together Claim 20 Percent of Search Market | John Paczkowski | Digital Daily | AllThingsD

Microsoft’s Bing search service continues to gather momentum, albeit slowly. Bing’s share of the U.S. Internet search market grew one percent in July, rising to 9.41 percent from 8.23 percent in June, according to metrics outfit StatCounter.

I think it’s a safe bet that Microsoft will put a dent in Google’s search business, if not actually surpassing it at some point.

I’ve always said that “search” doesn’t lend itself to tightly controlled monopoly in the same way that a painful to install or replace operating system does. Maybe at some point the Justice Department, currently snoozing with its head comfortably ensconced in Microsoft’s posterior will wake up to this.

On the other hand, it may simply be another activity on which Microsoft willingly loses money quarter after quarter while other, smaller Internet entities eek out a living under the Microsoft radar. Microsoft’s action often go not so much to making money directly, but to ensuring that those who do make money, on software and hardware, are forced to go through the MS toll booth. I see no change here.

When I was doing research for a living one of my favorite tools (who’s name I’ve forgotten) was a Windows application that submitted search strings to a dozen or so search engines, extracted the results “screen scraper” style without the help of APIs and eliminated the need for the user to see ads, or tortured fancy formatting. Just the results ma’am.

Google with its clean interface (and API) made such tools (and Windows) mostly unnecessary, but they could always return, and the burden of housing hundreds of thousands of servers to perform a profitless “public service” of search could return. Hey, maybe we could even have the government take over search. Rather than label Microsoft’s predatory behavior for what it is, simply label Google “too big to fail” and take it over. There seems to be a trend in that direction.

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