Bing has cost Microsoft $5.5 billion since 2009By Jose Vilches 22 comments
Despite making some gains in market share, Bing, Microsoft's two-year old search engine is losing nearly a $1 billion a quarter and shows no sign of letting up. This according to a CNN Money article, which estimates the company has lost nearly $5.5 billion on the endeavor since its launch in 2009.
The article points out that Bing has gained a 14.7% share of the search market since then but these gains are not coming at Google's expense. According to online data tracker comScore, Google currently commands 64.8% of the market, down from the 65% it held when Bing debuted. More than half the share that Bing has gained has actually come from its deal to power Yahoo searches, while the rest has come from smaller partners and players like Ask or AOL.
Microsoft has had no issues in the past with entering a market late and spending a lot of money to push its way into a strong position. It failed with the Zune but was very successful with the Xbox 360 and hopes to repeat that with Windows Phone. With Google practically untouchable in the search market they have their work cut out for them, though.
Microsoft President of Online Services Qi Lu said the company could not and would not try to "out-Google" Google. Instead, it must "change the game fundamentally." The belief is that if Bing can change the way people think about search, focusing on things like natural language and questions, sooner or later users will switch over from Google.
To this end the company is putting a lot of emphasis on social and mobile, though its Facebook partnership and Windows Phone, while offering more granular search in verticals by marring Bing with many of its own products. Microsoft hopes this will help it gain a semantic understanding of the web and seems willing to keep burning money on the effort. Of course, even if they can steal market share from Google, there's still a long road toward profitability.