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Bing Hits 10 Percent in Search Share

The Bing search engine finally broke the 10 percent market share barrier in November, according to the latest research from Web analytics firm comScore.

However, Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) search engine growth once again comes at the expense of Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) rather than cutting into Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) dominant position.

Bing launched six months ago and has been slowly but surely ascending the market share ladder ever since, although recently those gains have been showing signs of leveling off.

Additionally, as has occurred several times since Bing rolled out in June, November resulted in share gains for Bing and Google, and losses -- if only slight -- for Yahoo.

For November, comScore (NASDAQ: SCOR) said Bing held a 10.3 percent share of the U.S. search market, up 0.4 percentage points from October's 9.9 percent showing. Meanwhile, Google also picked up 0.2 percent share bringing it up to 65.6 percent for the month.

Yahoo, on the other hand, lost a half a point to 17.5 percent, down from 18 percent in October.

The latest figures from comScore come less than two weeks after Microsoft and Yahoo signed their definitive deal for Microsoft to supply the Bing search engine to Yahoo's sites in return for a small chunk of the advertising revenues.

That deal still must clear antitrust regulators in the U.S. and possibly in Europe and elsewhere. Microsoft officials have said they expect approval from U.S. regulators early in the new year.

If the deal were to go through today, comScore's numbers show that Bing would have a combined market share of 27.8 percent.

Microsoft is not resting on its laurels -- or its searches -- however.

In November, Microsoft announced a flurry of updates to the Bing engine, including the addition of sophisticated mathematical formulas from startup WolframAlpha.

Other features coming with the updates include localized weather and events along with a City Slideshow capability. Additionally, Microsoft is adding enhancements to existing features such as Bing's hover preview and shopping tools.

While Bing seems to be on track for a slow but sure rise, though, even usually over-confident Microsoft executives remain cautious about their progress.

"We have a very long way to go in search, [where we're] outgunned by Google's scale advantage," Yusuf Mehdi, senior vice president for Microsoft's online audience business, told analysts and investors at the Credit Suisse 2009 Annual Technology Conference two weeks ago.