Microsoft Bing Now Controls 30 Percent of Search
The any-big-business-is-a-monopoly-and-that’s-bad-mmm-kay groups have been sharpening their knives recently and salivating over the thought of taking on Google in court. There’s just one little problem. Today, Hitwise reported that Microsoft’s Bing search engine accounted for 30 percent of search in March 2011. Granted, in order to get that number, you have to add up the people using Bing and the people using Yahoo (which just does the searches via Bing), but 30 percent, is 30 percent. Maybe Microsoft’s business strategy is paying off.
In March, Google only controlled 64.4 percent of search. While it is possible to have a monopoly with control over just 65 percent of a market, it isn’t likely to hold up in this case. First, the other 30 percent is controlled by a single competitor, so we aren’t talking about one company with a huge share and then 35 companies fighting over 1 percent scraps. In fact, a 65/30/5 split sounds like a lot of markets with a number one and a number two player.
Sadly, these numbers won’t stop the anti-trust trolls from making a run at Google. For one thing, in the U.S. at least, anti-trust is often highly political, and in politics perception is reality. Right now, the perception is that Google is all mighty.
For another, anti-trust lawsuits are, by nature, historical in nature. In order to prove that a company has used its dominate market position in an anti-competitive nature, the company has to have already used its dominate market position in an anti-competitive way.
In other words, the anti-trust actions that come Google’s way would be talking about 2009 and 2010, not March 2011, although Google may be able to play those numbers — particularly if they continue — into lesser penalties should they lose and/or choose to settle.
After all, it doesn’t make any sense to go breaking up the number one company in an industry just so the number two company can become the number one company.
In the meantime, maybe the company has paid a price for Google’ broken search algorithm being allowed to run too long. Maybe other non-Microsoft companies like Blekko can gain traction. And, maybe, all of this is nothing but a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Either way, the headlines for the technology writers out there virtually write themselves for anyone looking to get into a tizzy about the whole thing one way or another.