Google continued to dominate online search in the first half of the year.
As of May, Google maintained a 65% share of online search, up 2 percentage points from the start of the year, according to comScore. Yahoo, on the other hand, slipped 0.9 points to 20.1% and Microsoft lost a half point to just 8% of the search market.
And then along came Bing, which debuted in early June. Microsoft's new ballyhooed search engine immediately stole market share from its competitors, climbing to a 16.7% share just two weeks after its release, comScore said.
Though experts don't expect that huge jump to last, most think that Bing will begin to chip away at Google's dominance and perhaps challenge Yahoo's second-place status in the second half of the year.
"Bing, in terms of interaction design, is a leap forward," said Susan Feldman, search engine analyst at IDC. "I think it will gain market share, but that depends mostly on Microsoft's marketing as opposed to its technology. It's easy to switch, but hard to get people to change their habits."
To really challenge Google, some say Microsoft will need to partner with Yahoo -- a back-and-forth dance that has never materialized but one both companies have said they are receptive to.
Sandeep Aggarwal, senior Internet research analyst with Collins Stewart LLC, said he expects a Microsoft-Yahoo search deal to be reached by the time the companies report their quarterly results in late July.
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