Windows 10's rising tide has yet to lift Bing

Despite the massive ramp up in Windows 10 use, Bing gets no halo effect.

Windows 10 user base market share Bing Edge browser

Windows 10 is definitely a hit for Microsoft, with one analyst putting the installed base at 81 million a few weeks ago. So 100 million installs should be right around the corner.

However, this rampant growth doesn't seem to have done much good for Bing, Microsoft's search engine service. Bing is currently the default search engine in Microsoft Edge, conducts web searches for Cortana, and is also used on Windows Phone.

The latest stats from comScore shows Microsoft Sites (Bing, MSN, and whatever else) has seen its market share grow just 0.2 percentage points from July to August, from 20.4% on July 15 to 20.6% on August 16. Ok, let's be intellectually honest, that's only two weeks into the Windows 10 launch.

Google Sites lost 0.2 percentage points to 63.8%, which is still massive. Yahoo Sites, Ask Network, and AOL, Inc. remained the same at 12.7%, 1.8% and 1.2%, respectively.

We need to wait another month to see if there is an uptick in Bing usage before any clear declaration can be made, but it seems to me that Bing's fate is pretty much tied to browser usage habits, and those aren't changing.

As Greg Keizer over at Computerworld noted last month, only a small fraction of people were shifting to the Microsoft's new Edge browser that comes with Windows 10. However, these were early numbers, as Windows 10 was still in beta. Since Edge is only available on Windows 10, its usage was a fraction of a fraction. Again, we will see a clearer picture in the coming months.

However, I suspect it won't change a whole lot. People usually don't switch browsers because it's a pain in the rear, if nothing else, to migrate all those passwords and account settings. Chrome and Firefox do a very nice job of backing up their settings to the cloud. Plus, Chrome defaults to Google and Firefox defaults to Yahoo, although its 12.7% market share would indicate that's not helping much.

I use Firefox and when I reinstalled Windows 7, all I had to do was sign into Firefox and everything came down: my favorite bookmarks, my history and all my passwords. The fact is Firefox will need a major downturn in quality for me to make the migration. I suspect most browser users feel this way, and if IE had a low user base, Edge won't gain very much.

My suspicion is that Edge will cannibalize IE users, which would be just fine with Microsoft. Grabbing back Firefox and Chrome users will be a much greater challenge. But Edge is a good browser with much better performance than IE, so it warrants a look.

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