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Bing's Growth Pulled Down Yahoo in July: Report

Market share for Microsoft's Bing search engine inched up a half a percent in July over its June performance. However, according to the latest figures from Web analytics firm comScore, that's still flat from the performance of Microsoft's pre-Bing search services of a year ago in July 2008.

The surprise is just who is being hurt by Bing's progress.

In its second full month of public use, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Bing pulled 8.9 percent of U.S. searches, up from 8.4 percent in June, according to comScore's figures for July.

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), meanwhile, was down 0.3 percent at 64.7 percent of searches compared to 65 percent in June. However, from July last year, Google's share of searches was still up by 2.8 percent from 61.9 percent.

So who is really losing market share?

That would be Microsoft's new partner in the search business. Yahoo's (NASDAQ: YHOO) share of U.S. searches finished July at 19.3 percent, down from 19.6 percent in June, and even further down from 20.5 percent last July.

Although different Web tracking services' figures are not directly comparable due to differences in sampling and measurement, the latest comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) results are roughly in line with July search numbers released last week by The Nielsen Company.

According to Nielsen's MegaView Search figures Bing had a nine percent share overall for U.S. searches in July. Yahoo Search had a total share of 17.1 percent, while Google's share came in at 64.8 percent.

Under Nielsen's criteria, the combined market share for searches performed using Bing and Yahoo came to 26.1 percent. In comparison, comScore's combined number for the two search entities came in at 28.2 percent for July.

Microsoft, Yahoo team up

The two companies announced an agreement in late July, whereby Microsoft will take over searches for both sites, and pay Yahoo a majority of the income from Yahoo's billing for doing so. That deal is not expected to go into effect for as much as two years, however.

Bing launched in late May, when it replaced the company's existing search properties, Live Search and MSN Search.

Microsoft executives have said repeatedly that they do not expect to necessarily take the search market by storm, but rather by increments as users gain familiarity with Bing and as the search engine itself improves to better compete with Google.

CEO Steve Ballmer has said he is willing to spend between five and ten percent of Microsoft's operating income over the next five years to make Bing a serious player in search.

Besides the July search figures, set to be officially unveiled today, comScore released an analysis of the search market last Friday. In it, the company recommended that Microsoft target users' secondary searches -- ones they don't necessarily perform using their primary search engine.