MSN/Windows Live Search drops 8% in the year

Today sees the publication of a new Nielson NetRatings report (PDF) on the US search share rankings. There are few surprises concerning when it comes to the top 2 performers – Google 49.6%, 23% growth and Yahoo 23.9%, 30% growth. What is surprising is the bad performance of MSN/Windows Live Search, dropping 8% in the year, giving a total share of 8.8% of US searches.

While it could be argued that the advances Windows Live Search has made will have only been noticed by users in the last few months, it shows how difficult the fight for search share has now become for Microsoft. Out of the top 10 search providers in the US, MSN/Windows Live Search was the only one to suffer a decline in share, a statistic that tells its own story.

I’d like to think this is the beginning of a comeback however there is still not enough incentive for users to switch from their established search engine to Windows Live Search. Perhaps the integration in IE7 will help somewhat, but as the first-run experience allows users to choose what search engine they use, this is unlikely to be the magic bullet that is needed.