As Microsoft continues its struggle for relevance in Internet services, the latest numbers seem to tell a confusing story. Depending on the headline you read, Microsoft is either treading water or losing ground to Google. A closer look at two takes on the Microsoft search share show that it's a half-full/half-empty situation with a worrisome long-term trend.Based on Neilsen data, SearchEngineWatch is saying that Microsoft and Yahoo have lost ground in the past year. Most of that lost traffic has gone to Google; the search giant gained 8% year-over-year, while Microsoft and Yahoo lost 19% and 12%, respectively. Even if you were to combine the search share of Yahoo and Microsoft, it would be less than half of Google's share.
Do the hit counters at ComScore have a different take on this situation? The Seattle Post-Intelligencer quotes a ComScore study that shows Microsoft's search share holding steady. However, that refers to October versus September search share. If you eyeball the one-year graph in that story, you'll see essentially the same decline that Neilsen found.
Beneath these two contradictory headlines, there is actually some consistent data. Microsoft has lost about 20% of its market share in the past year, but in recent months has seemed to stop the bleeding. Yahoo has even managed a slight uptick in searches over the past two months. It makes you wonder whether the now-unlikely merger of these two would make any difference when both are so far behind Google.