Back in December, we gave a report on how the search engines did in November. November, of course, has a special significance because of its association with holiday shopping — and, most of note, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. However, December is just as important for seeing that picture, and the figures for the two months are surprisingly different. While Yahoo saw a spike in November and Microsoft saw some minimal growth, December saw backsliding for Yahoo and growth for both Google and Bing.
According to the report over at Bloomberg, Google saw an increase of .4% in its market-share, rising from 66.2% to 66.6% (an ominous figure if ever there was one) and Microsoft saw a .2% increase (up to 12% from 11.8%). Yahoo, however, saw a full .4% drop, down to 16% from 16.4%. These numbers are still quite telling about the general figures, however. Google, which has reached heights of as much as 70% market share, has declined to a position of stability at about two-thirds of the market, while Yahoo and Bing combined (as they’re splitting Yahoo’s revenue and using the same search results) make up for about a quarter of the market.
Of course, despite the fluctuations of position — the struggles for dominance, the temporary spikes from new features, the appeal of specialized but seasonal features — none of these three companies are really “losing.” As groups that rely on advertising dollars, the $12.4 billion rise in total investment to the industry in 2010 (a 16% increase from the year prior) means that these companies remain healthy from a revenue perspective. The struggles being seen tend to be on the viability of side-products, as best exampled by the fact that Yahoo has been and will be shutting down major properties — including popular sites like AltaVista and Delicious.