Microsoft posts strong U.S. search gains, but Google rules

October 19, 2007: 9:52 PM ET

Data iconMicrosoft's (MSFT) search business maintained strong growth in September, gaining on second-place Yahoo (YHOO). But Google (GOOG) remained the search leader, handling 54 percent of U.S. queries, according to Nielsen Online.

Looking at the September numbers alone, it appears that Microsoft accomplished a coup with its 71.5 percent year-over-year gain in search volume, capturing 12 percent of the market. But Microsoft's growth hasn't been steady. In July it handled nearly 14 percent of search queries according to Nielsen, and in April it handled just 9 percent. Google, meanwhile, has consistently captured about 55 percent of searches, and Yahoo about 20 percent.

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Search volume is important to each company's online business goals. The more searches a company handles, the more opportunities it has to serve ads to its users, and make money when people click on them. High search volume is also attractive to advertisers; the more searches a company handles, the greater the chance that any given ad will be seen.

Those same realities helped Google post earnings this week that beat analysts' expectations. For the summer quarter, Google earned $1.07 billion on net sales of $3.01 billion.

Nielsen's September search numbers, below:

Top search providers, ranked by total searches. Searches represent the total



number of queries conducted at the provider.Table 1: Top 10 Search Providers
for September 2007, ranked by Searches



(U.S).



+----------------------------+

-----------+---------+-----------+
| Provider                   | Searches  |   YOY   | Share of  |
|                            |   (000)   | Growth  | Searches  |
+----------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+
| Google Search              | 3,994,158 |  41.3%  |   54.0%   |
| Yahoo! Search              | 1,443,244 |  9.3%   |   19.5%   |
| MSN/Windows Live Search    |  890,685  |  71.5%  |   12.0%   |
| AOL Search (TWX)           |  444,493  |  24.0%  |   6.0%    |
| Ask.com Search             |  158,969  |  4.5%   |   2.2%    |
| My Web Search Search       |  61,911   |   N/A   |   0.8%    |
| Comcast Search  (CMCSA)    |  38,926   |   N/A   |   0.5%    |
| BellSouth Search           |  35,740   |  30.3%  |   0.5%    |
| SBC Yellow Pages Search    |  29,424   |  42.6%  |   0.4%    |
| My Way Search              |  26,750   | -78.4%  |   0.4%    |
+----------------------------+-----------+---------+-----------+
Source: Nielsen Online, MegaView Search

Example:  An estimated 4.0 billion search queries were conducted at Google
Search, representing 54 percent of all search queries conducted during the
given time period.

						
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