Is Live Search making headway against Google?

It's a marginal gain but a gain none the less. The June numbers show Microsoft's Live Search gained 0.3 percentage points, putting them at 9.2 percent. Google lost that same amount. (Yahoo also gained.) Is Microsoft's Live Search strategy working?

Frankly I'm surprised Microsoft is already at 9.2% of the U.S. Web search market. Obviously an acquisition of some or all of Yahoo by Microsoft would greatly accelerate the quest for market share but that's anything but certain these days. While 9.2% is great progress so far, gaining only three tenths of a percent each month will make Live Search's climb up a slow one. Microsoft's got to figure out new ways to pull users off the Google home page and onto Live Search.

That's the problem with a me-too play. It's tough to differentiate and get customers away from the market leader and onto your product. Often price promotions are used as an enticement, but that's not relevant in the world of free Web searching (free to the end user, anyway).

Microsoft Live Search is making gains, but there's a lot of fighting left to do to take the hill owned by Google.

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