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Microsoft still 'distant third' after Bing launch

Microsoft's redesigned search site attracted more web surfers without doing much for the software maker's market share in its first month.

ComScore estimates that Bing, the new site, snagged 8.4 per cent of US web searches in June, up from 8 per cent in May.

Microsoft remains a distant third to Google and Yahoo, and while the number of searches performed on Bing rose 12 per cent, Google and Yahoo saw queries grow even faster.

It seems Microsoft's slight gain was Yahoo's loss. Google's share stayed steady at 65 per cent. But Yahoo's dipped to 19.6 per cent in June, losing about as much as Bing gained.

Google's dominance means a bigger slice of revenue from search advertising, the small text ads that appear next to search results.

Microsoft has been trying to catch up for years, both with Live Search, its previous web search incarnation, and by trying to buy Yahoo. The Redmond, Washington-based software maker is trying again with Bing, which it says does a better job than competitors for searches related to travel, shopping and health.

Analysts were underwhelmed by the June results. Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth wrote that he expected Bing's share to come in between 10 per cent and 11 per cent. Anmuth reported the comScore figures in a research note yesterday.

"Bing doesn't exactly set the world on fire," Benjamin Schachter, an analyst for Broadpoint AmTech, wrote in a note to investors. "We continue to believe much of Bing's early interest is being driven by curiosity and early adopters, and not from fundamentally better search experiences or outcomes."

Microsoft executives have said that they don't expect an immediate change in Bing's search share, but the comScore estimates were lower than early June reports showing Microsoft's share topping 10 per cent.