Microsoft Search Engine worries Google and Yahoo
With 3.3 billion searches conducted every month in the U.S., and a lucrative advertising market swelling to $1.6 billion this year, and expected to rise to $2.1 billion next year, search is one of the most attractive businesses on the Net. But a Microsoft expansion is likely to come out of the hides of market leaders Google Inc . and Yahoo! Inc .
That realization is adding worry lines to industry brows. If Microsoft can develop a search engine to rival Google , “it’s going to shake everything up,” said Chris Winfield, president of search consultants 10E20 Web Design. Especially if Microsoft, as expected, builds search into the planned Longhorn version of its Windows operating system and the Office programs delivered with most personal computers. Google and Yahoo declined to make executives available to discuss Microsoft’s efforts. It is easy to see why.
Leader Google Inc. holds a 31.5% share of the market, trailed closely by Yahoo, with 25.7%, according to data collected in August by ComScore Networks, a research firm. Microsoft, using technology from Yahoo’s Inktomi Corp. and Overture Services Inc., comes in at fourth with 17.2%, following Time Warner Inc.’s (AOL) AOL, which has 19.7%. There is plenty for both leaders to lose, and the new competition could complicate Google’s plan to go public as soon as next year.