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Windows 10 fails to significantly boost Bing usage

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 18, 2015
Microsoft manager predicted 10 percent to 15 percent increase in Bing queries by September; just a 1 percent gain so far

microsoft edge bing
The Bing search engine page on Microsoft's Edge browser.

Search queries on Microsoft's Bing in the U.S. last month increased by 1%, a slow start to what a company manager predicted would be a big boost delivered by Windows 10.

According to comScore, Bing grew its share of the U.S. desktop search market from 20.4% in July to 20.6% in August. Meanwhile, the volume of search queries run on Bing increased 1% to 3.63 billion in August.

Google remained the U.S. search leader by a large margin, with a share of 63.8% -- down the 0.2 percentage points that Bing gained -- but with a search query total nearly identical to July. It was Yahoo and Ask.com that posted lower search query numbers in August compared to the month before.

But it was the 1% query increase in Bing that was notable, and not in a good way for Microsoft.

In late July, David Pann, the general manager of the Bing Ads group, told online advertisers that Microsoft expected a 10% to 15% jump in Bing's search queries by September because of Windows 10. The 1% gain of August was a poor start.

bing must really boost queries
Bing needs a big boost in search queries this month if it's to meet the goal of a Microsoft manager, who bet that Windows 10 would provide a shot in Bing's arm. Click on image to enlarge. Data: comScore.

The Redmond, Wash., company is banking on revenue from its Bing search engine to replace money lost as Windows license sales fall. Bing is the default search engine in Edge, the default browser of Windows 10, and is used by other components of the OS, including the virtual assistant Cortana, and central to the Cortana apps for iOS and Android.

"We're estimating query volume gains from 10 to 15 percent as early as September — not only from new users, but from existing Bing users who will now use Bing more frequently," Pann wrote on a late-July blog. Microsoft yanked Pann's post after SearchEngineLand.com reported on his comments, perhaps because it decided it did not want to be held to his numbers.

While Pann was probably predicting global gains in Bing search queries, and comScore tracks only those originating from the U.S., the fact is that Windows 10 has an even higher usage share of desktop operating systems domestically than it does overseas.

Irish analytics vendor StatCounter pegged Windows 10's average usage share over the last seven days at 9% in the U.S. but a lower 7.5% worldwide. It's unlikely that the lower usage share worldwide generated a larger increase in Bing queries than in the U.S., where Windows 10's usage is appreciably higher.

 

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