Bing Still Seeking Magic Formula To Challenge Google & Turn A Profit

bing-logoDespite making incremental gains in market share, Bing is still searching for the “secret sauce” that will help it challenge Google’s dominance more quickly.

That phrase — “secret sauce” — is how a CNN Money article explains what Microsoft thinks will ultimately set it apart from Google. The article describes a recent meeting in which Bing discussed its (latest) plan for growing its market share:

At the company’s financial analyst meeting in Anaheim, Calif., last week, Microsoft President of Online Services Qi Lu gave an impassioned speech about how Bing would improve search by “reorganizing the Web.” To do that, Microsoft plans to leverage its network of products and partnerships to gain a better understanding of what the user is after when they enter a query into a Bing search box. Ultimately, Microsoft believes its technical secret sauce will let Bing both expand what is “searchable” and deliver more robust search results than any of its competitors.

Lu said Microsoft could not and would not try to “out-Google” Google. Instead, it must “change the game fundamentally.”

The article points out that Bing has increased its market share since its launch more than two years ago, but says Bing’s gains are not coming at Google’s expense. CNN uses comScore’s data to make the point that, while Bing has gained about six percentage points since its launch, Google has only dropped two-tenths of a percent. (CNN doesn’t mention the recent Hitwise market share statistics that show Bing gaining four percentage points at Google’s expense.)

Meanwhile, there’s an enormous financial backdrop to all this talk of tenths of percentage points. As CNN points out, Microsoft has lost $5.5 billion on Bing since its launch in June 2009. Here’s the striking image from their article:

microsoft-online-losses

Will Bing’s plan to “reorganize the web” put a dent in Google’s market share, or stem the tide of red bars on the balance sheet?

CNN says that “several analysts” think Bing will continue to gain market share and eventually make a profit in three to four years.

Bing Director Stefan Weitz explains the challenge best when he says, “Our challenge is that no one wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I really wish there was a better search engine.’”

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Microsoft: Bing | Microsoft: Business Issues

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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