Bing is arguably the best search product Microsoft (MSFT) has ever launched. It has gotten good to excellent reviews. A number of internet reseach firms show that Bing is picking up market share from Google (GOOG) and Yahoo! (YHOO).
Microsoft is paying a price for Bing, one that is well beyond its development costs. The world’s largest software company says it will spend $100 million on the Bing launch campaign and may invest as much as 10% of its operating income on search over the next five years. That could be as much as $20 billion.
Microsoft is being especially smart in areas that involves very little investment, too.
The new search features in Bing will allow users to look for “tweet” the short messages written by users of Twitter. The microblogging service has, by some counts, as many as 30 million visitors. According to Dow Jones, “Bing’s move shows the importance Internet companies are attaching to `real time’ blogging services like Twitter.” Bing’s competition does not have a similar service, at least not for now.
Microsoft has moved from playing catch-up in search to a point where it is being viewed as the leading innovator in the industry. If it can keep that reputation, and the pace of Bing’s growth, Yahoo! will rue the day that it did not form a partnership with Redmond.
Douglas A. McIntyre