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Microsoft Passes Yahoo for First Time in Search

Microsoft's U.S. Internet search market share has passed Yahoo's for the first time, according to market analysis by comScore. The companies are now No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, behind market leader Google.

Yahoo's search engine claimed 14.5 percent of the U.S. market in December, a drop of 0.6 percentage points from its November market share. At the same time, Microsoft captured 15.1 percent of the search engine market in December, increasing by 0.1 percentage points since November.

According to comScore, Microsoft's search sites received 2.75 billion explicit core search queries, compared to Yahoo's 2.64 billion search requests. comScore defines an explicit core search as any search total that "excludes contextually driven searches that do not reflect specific user intent to interact with the search results."

The two companies' role reversal can be attributed to the 2009 deal that provided Yahoo with Bing search engine technology.

While Microsoft's move to second place in the U.S. search market may seem like a victory, it still lost ground to first-place Google for the month, which increased its market share for the month by 0.5 percentage points, finishing December with 65.9 percent (over 12 billion search requests).

However, for Microsoft, and specifically its Bing engine, which lost an estimated $494 million in operating costs in the first fiscal quarter of 2012, the gap between it and Google has closed significantly since the 2009 deal with Yahoo: Google had 85 percent of the search engine market at that time.

Search Company Core Search Share (Nov. 2011) Core Search Share (Dec. 2011)
Google 65.4% 65.9%
Microsoft 15.0% 15.1%
Yahoo 15.1% 14.5%
Ask Network 2.9% 2.9%
AOL 1.6% 1.6%

Figures courtesy of comScore.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for Redmondmag.com and MCPmag.com.