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Microsoft gets Bing bump, ComScore says

Early results show Microsoft gaining about two points of search market share, but will the improvement last?

One of the most visible features of Bing is the striking photo that adorns its home page and changes each day. CNET

Microsoft is getting a bit of a Bing-related bump, according to some early figures from market researcher ComScore.

According to ComScore, Microsoft upped its search share to 11.1 percent last week, as compared to 9.1 percent the prior week. Some of that gain came from the fact that more people were using Microsoft.

Microsoft's engine had 15.5 percent daily penetration, as opposed to 13.8 percent in the prior week.


Earlier data also showed Microsoft off to a solid start with its revamped search engine. Of course, the real issue is whether Microsoft can make the gains stick over time. The software maker has seen its market share tip up over time, only to again drop to single digits.

Microsoft has said it would like to pick up at least a couple points of market share over the next year. One might think that the company should expect more, given it has not only poured huge resources into the technology, but is also spending tens of millions of dollars in both a big advertising push and deals to nab the default search engine position on new PCs.

So far, Bing is off to a good start, said ComScore Senior Vice President Mike Hurt.

"These initial data suggest that Microsoft Bing has generated early interest, resulting in a spike in search engagement and an immediate term improvement to Microsoft's position in the search market," Hurt said in a statement. "So far it appears that the lifts in searcher penetration and engagement have held relatively steady throughout the five-day period."

But Hurt agreed that only time will tell whether it is a blip or a true gain. "The ultimate performance of Bing depends on the extent to which it generates more trial through its extensive launch campaign and whether it retains those trial users."

Bing went live last week after being shown off at D: All Things Digital by CEO Steve Ballmer.

Microsoft plans to continue its ad push, including the TV spots, with the current campaign eventually yielding to commercials that focus more specifically on the areas where Bing hopes to differentiate itself--tasks such as travel and product search.

Update 11:20 a.m.: Bing has managed to grab some attention inside Google. Speaking at a financial conference on Tuesday, Google CFO Patrick Pichette said the company is in the process of analyzing it. "I have a review tomorrow on it with the executive committee," Pichette said, according to Marketwatch.