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In a rare bit of good news for Microsoft on the search front, web metrics firm comScore reported that for the month of March, Microsoft's search engines saw their first market share increase in nearly a year. Microsoft's search market share jumped 0.4 percentage points from February to March, giving it 10.9 percent of the total market.
One month does not a trend make, but the increase is good news for the software giant. More importantly, it may show that increasing adoption of Vista and Internet Explorer 7 are helping Microsoft's search efforts. comScore senior vice president James Lamberti told Ars that his company is seeing increased traffic to Live.com.
"Growth from Live.com is outpacing Microsoft's overall search traffic growth," Lamberti told us. "Live is the integration point for Vista, and it looks like Live.com is beginning to have an impact."
Whether Microsoft's March increase is a blip or the start of a trend is something we won't know for a few more months. However, Lamberti does believe Microsoft's bleakest days in the search market may be a thing of the past. "I think we're comfortable with the notion that Microsoft has bottomed out," he said. If traffic to Live.com continues to grow, it will mean that Microsoft's strategy of making Live.com the default search engine in IE7 and a focal point for Vista will be paying off, and we should see continued growth as Vista adoption grows.
The last year has been challenging for Microsoft's search efforts. When we looked at search engine trends a few weeks ago, we noted that the company had been seeing its market share slip away, while Google's steadily increased and Yahoo's remained more or less stagnant.
Speaking of Microsoft's competition, comScore reported yet another month of gains for Google. Its market share saw a modest, 0.2 percentage point increase during March, bringing it to 48.3 percent. comScore's news for Yahoo was not as good, as it was the only one of the top five search engines to see a decrease in market share last month. Yahoo's share of search traffic dropped to 27.5 percent from 28.1 percent, its lowest level in over a year.
Author: Eric Bangeman
Source: Ars Technica
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