Microsoft bets that Bing will beat Google

Software giant takes on search leader by spending millions on its new engine

Microsoft hopes to unseat Google as the internet user's search engine of choice after spending millions of dollars to launch its new Bing browser yesterday, though one analyst believes it struggle to overtake its giant rival.

Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, unveiled the new brand at a news conference in the US yesterday, saying Bing would help people "cut through the clutter and make faster, more informed decisions when searching online". Mr Ballmer has previously said he wants Microsoft to be at least the second-biggest player, which would mean overtaking Yahoo! This week, executives said the new service was "really take the fight to Google".

Ashley Highfield, the managing director of consumer and online for Microsoft in the UK, said: "Having a single dominant player in any market is a huge opportunity. Agencies and clients are crying out for a rival to Google."

Microsoft's Windows system currently runs a search engine called Live Search, which has struggled to capture even 10 per cent of searches in the US. Google has 64 per cent and Yahoo! 20 per cent. Rebecca Jennings, an IT market analyst at Forrester, said: "Clearly Microsoft has to differentiate itself. Looking to overtake Google is brave, even Yahoo! will prove a challenge. People are so used to Google, shifting them will be hard."

Bing goes live in the US on 1 June, and will launch in Britain later this year. It is currently running a beta, or testing, site in Britain.

There is a team of 60 people working on tailoring the site to the UK market and the search centre has been developed in the UK since October. Mr Highfield added that it is not an extension of Live; "it is more starting again".

The engine is run on cutting edge algorithms, which work on tailoring searches much closer to what customers want. "The more you use it, the better it gets," Mr Highfield said. It is hoping to entice consumers with the relevance and quality of its information, as well as simplify the searches.

"People are used to web search 1.0. Google pretty much looks the same as it did 10 years ago. This website really takes it on. It cuts out so much of what isn't wanted. In two or three years this is how search will happen," he added.

Forrester's Ms Jennings said: "Bing will live or die on how clever it is, and how it learns what consumers want. It is creating a brand from scratch so marketing will be crucial."

Microsoft is betting heavily on this being a success. It has spent "a lot of money. This is a major investment," Mr Highfield said, although would not reveal the exact sum. The company is believed to have earmarked a budget of between $80m to $100m on marketing the launch alone. Mr Highfield said: "It is important that the product lands well. This is a statement of intent for a product that is game changing. It is the next generation of research."

He also pointed to dissatisfaction with the current search engines. Data provider comScore found that almost a third of searches are abandoned without a satisfactory result. The company added there were currently 37 million search users in the UK alone.

Microsoft was highly secretive in the run up to the launch and gave the project a codename of Kumo, which is Japanese for cloud or spider. It launched yesterday with the line: "What you have Bing searching for."

There are huge advertising revenues to play for. Search ads have held up relatively well despite the downturn according to Alex Hoye, the chief executive of the digital marketing agency Latitude. The UK search industry was worth £2.75bn in 2008, according to Econsultancy, up from £2.2bn in 2007. In the US, the value of the search market was put at $15.7bn (£9.83bn) by the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organisation.

Mr Hoye of Latitude, whose clients including Tesco Personal Finance and Land Rover, said: "It is a relatively lopsided market share for Google at the moment. We market across all three of the major search engines, but the majority spending is on Google."

Live struggled to bring in advertising revenue and the company has changed its plans to make the service pay. "We can monetise it more effectively because of the information detail. It can be more actively targeted," Mr Highfield said. Mr Hoye said Bing looked good but it was hard to judge whether it would pull in the users: "People will go to where the results are best and the advertising will follow."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Sport
Wayne Rooney warms up ahead of the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane
football
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Equity | New York

Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...

Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation

Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015