Microsoft: “Bing is Bigger Than You Think”

Posted on August 19, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Bing + MSN with 48 Comments

Microsoft: "Bing is Bigger Than You Think"

It would pretty much have to be, is what you are likely thinking. But Microsoft made a case for Bing, via Twitter of all places, this week.

The primary source of data it has provided is a Bing Network Marketshare image, which is an interesting phrase since Bing has usage, not sales, and thus has usage share not market share. But whatever. Here’s what it shows.

Worldwide, Bing only has about 9 percent usage share, which is pretty much exactly as big as I thought. That amounts to 12 billion monthly searches (again, a measure of usage, but I promise to stop harping on this).

Bing likewise has only 9 percent usage share in Europe. And under 5 percent market share in Latin America and Asia Pacific. By this point, you’re probably wondering what they’re bragging about exactly.

But Bing does considerably better in certain markets.

In the United States, for example, fully 33 percent of all Internet searches—or 5 billion searches per month—happen through Bing. That is truly impressive.

The UK hits 25 percent, Taiwan comes in at 24 percent, and Hong Kong and France are the last heavy-hitters for Bing with 19 percent each. (A separate Bing tweet annoyingly provides different numbers for some of these markets.)

If I had to guess, most of Bing’s success comes from being the default search engine in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. And that the countries with high Bing usage map nicely to countries in which Windows PCs, especially Windows 10 PCs, are likewise selling better.

That Microsoft doesn’t pull out a number for China isn’t suprising—Bing is probably about 0 percent there—and of course it is single digits in most of the world, where mobile—and not the PC—rules


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Comments (49)

49 responses to “Microsoft: “Bing is Bigger Than You Think””

  1. idgilbert

    I'm interested to know if searches using Bing as the default search engine via Siri on iOS and Alexa on Amazon Echo devices are included in this data. If so, I wonder how that influences the overall numbers particularly in markets where Apple and Amazon Echo devices are more prevalent.

  2. Win74ever

    Normal people use Google. Only snowflakes bother in using Bing to feel special.

  3. hrlngrv

    Isn't Cortana limited to certain countries, doesn't Cortana use Bing, and aren't all the countries with double-digit Bing usage share countries for which Cortana is available? That is, couldn't Cortana be inflating Bing usage?

  4. bbold

    The Euro wave of mobile first for everyone is slowly sweeping the planet. America will be next, and I hope Microsoft is prepared for that. What do they need to stay in the game? A great mobile platform.

  5. Marky_DK

    This map makes me proud to be Danish....

  6. Jack Smith

    Microsoft lost over 300 million browser users going to Chrome in 2016. MS is down to .1% market share with mobile. They do not have any viable home smart speaker, or wearable, etc.

    Bing share will continue to decline. They do not have the things around to help make it grow.

    Heck, even Windows PC sales have now declined for the last 10 years straight with a 6% decline YoY. While Chromebooks grew 38% YoY. Now obviously Chromebooks have a tiny base compared to Windows but so did Chrome at one point.

    Really most thought Google was crazy to come out with a browser as that fight was thought to be over. Guess Google proved everyone wrong and is just shocking they dominate browsers on MS own platform.

  7. John Scott

    I use Bing but recently been trying DuckDuckGo which someone said uses Bing? But I don't know if that is fact or not. I think Bing is more a US thing then anywhere else. I sort of got hooked on the Bing points thing for a while. But that was like betting on a horse that will never win. Not sold on DuckDuckGo either, but lately I have not been a fan of anything Google.

  8. NazmusLabs

    Siri uses Bing. How do you think that impacts the North American market share, given the popularity of iPhones here

  9. wright_is

    It looks like Bing has had a huge win in Germany, last time I looked, Google had around 95-98% and Bing and "others" the last couple of percent points.

  10. ErichK

    A coworker of mine recently reacted as if I was an alien from another planet when I told her I use Bing in addition to Google. :)

  11. SDreamer

    Pays my Hulu subscription :D

  12. webdev511

    Throw in the fact that Bing is also leveraged for a lot of threat protection used in the enterprise security suite, and yeah it's here to stay.

  13. xxxdevxxx

    If I had to guess, most of Google's success comes from being the default search engine in Google Chrome and that Google Chrome is the default browser on Android.

    • Daekar

      In reply to xxxdevxxx:

      This. I don't know why everyone fails to see the significance of this. As Chrome was becoming ascendant, it's not because millions of people were switching from IE or Firefox on PCs, it's because people started using Android phones.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to xxxdevxxx:

      Isn't Google also the default on Firefox, or has that changed? I believe it was when Firefox was the one taking the marketshare from IE, so that also helped people become accustomed to using Google as their primary search engine.

    • Win74ever

      In reply to xxxdevxxx:

      Or maybe because Google is the best search engine ever. Google was successful years before Chrome and Firefox were developed.

    • Jack Smith

      In reply to xxxdevxxx:

      What? Google dominated search long before the were the dominated browser or had mobile. Google has just been so much better than anyone else and just never rests and keeps improving.

      Saw global and all devices MS was down to 2.5% market share with Bing. I suspect this is why it has really deteriorated in particular on mobile lately. They do not have the revenues to keep it competitive and justify the investment needed.

      If we look at the last MS financial statement on Bing revenue growth was basically flat while Google is hitting 20%+ growth on search revenues. While obviously Google is far larger.

      That was a global number and then in the US for all devices MS has fallen to about 6%.

      Can NOT post a link on this site for some reason. So just do a search on search market share gs and you will get the link. Well if you use Google which assume everyone does ;).

    • illuminated

      In reply to xxxdevxxx:

      Google also spends a lot of money to buy search traffic. They pay Apple $3B that is $3'000'000'000 a year to be default engine on iOS. It is expensive to be "the best".

  14. anchovylover

    I call BS Microsoft. NetMarketShare has Bing down 3% on desktop global share these past 12 months while StatCounter has Bing at 13% in the U.S.A.

  15. Darmok N Jalad

    I use Bing all the time, and it seems to work just fine for my searches. I mainly use it for the points toward gift cards. I got my wife to try Bing since she searches way more than I do and could probably reap massive points for gift cards. Problem is, Bing just doesn't work for her like Google does. I can't come up with a specific example off the top of my head, but I saw for myself how different the 2 search engines can be for the way she searches, and this was a few months ago. I pretty much never have to go to Google, while she can't really use Bing. I know we search for completely different topics, but I was surprised at how much of difference there was for each of us.

    Could Bing also suffer in some countries from a lack of regionalization?

    • jbinaz

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      I'm like you, and use Bing and the results are fine. I get quite similar results when I use Google.

      I think you're on to something that how you search (terms, phrasing, etc.) drives the differences, because several people tell me Bing doesn't work as well for them. Of course I don't know if that's just their perception. Seems you've seen it first hand, though, by observing your wife.


      • SvenJ

        In reply to jbinaz: MS still has That's a site that displays 5 results side by side, and you pick which one you prefer the results from. Sometimes you can tell which is which, but the idea is at the end it lets you know which you picked. For me, it seems to be a wash in most cases. Sometimes the presentations is preferable on one, not so much the information. I find Bing just fine for my use. I am fine with Edge and IE as well. I think a lot of Google/Chrome preference comes from add-ins that I just don't use, so there is no benefit to having 37 process running in the background, just because you installed Chrome. Sometimes it is because people don't know better. Had someone tell me last weekend they used Chrome because they had Gmail. I pulled up my GMail account in Edge, and asked, 'look any different?" It's in my favorites bar so it didn't even take more than a click. You can use Google Search from Edge and IE too. Imagine that.

  16. Tallin

    UK and France (along with Germany and Australia) recently got Microsoft Rewards, so that may affect the numbers there. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Norway and Canada are without this incentive, though, so that's actually more impressive. Especially since Bing is not all that great here in Canada compared to Google.

  17. Paul O'Flaherty

    I believe Bing (and other search engines) may see an uptick in usage from a 'political' backlash against Google in the US in coming months.

    Google have allegedly demonetized Youtubers whose views don't fit with their own, they sacked the 'memo guy' and there are search terms that return, what I've seen claimed, are deliberately 'engineered' results to suit a particular agenda.

    I'm not American, so might be misjudging, but my impression is that regardless of political affiliation, most Americans hold free speech in high regard. I imagine many would also be uncomfortable at an effective monopoly-holder trying to shape public opinions, whatever their motivation. I think most expect a search engine to be a provider of (links to) facts, albeit with reasonable (and even handed) protection against 'hate speech' as well as graphic imagery.

    In the politically charged environment in the US right now, Google need to be careful that these 'stories' do not gain traction or it could quickly get a negative reputation, and with the ease of switching (I've never noticed much of a difference between Bing and Google results for my searches), this has the potential to rapidly damage their market share.

    Sorry for bringing a political dimension to a tech discussion!

    • SvenJ

      In reply to Paul_OFlaherty: "albeit with reasonable (and even handed) protection against 'hate speech' as well as graphic imagery." While I agree with that, it is amazingly difficult to do. First you have to define that to everyone's satisfaction. It's back to 'I can't define pornography, but I know it when I see it.' No matter what you do there will be a large vocal contingent that believes you are overdoing it, and an equally large one that says you aren't doing enough.

    • James Wilson

      In reply to Paul_OFlaherty:

      Nice comments - but when you say 'these 'stories' do not gain traction or it could quickly get a negative reputation' - I think you've missed the boat. Most tech savvy people know Google is helping themselves to all this data and using it in ways that some may not agree with.

      The major group of people who may not have caught on yet, are Android users (the non-techy kind). Let's see how they, as the general public, react to google's stories.

      • VancouverNinja

        In reply to James_Wilson:

        I switched to DuckDuckGo and I rarely use google anymore. I do see a problem with data basing everything I do. No gmail, no Google search, no chrome; whole family uses Not using google services has no noticeable impact at all. Life can go just fine without them.

        • John Scott

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          This sort of get's beat to death like browser opinions. If one get's the result your satisfied with that's all that matters. I think most use Google because its been around and many find it does what they need. Sort of a habitual thing, and like not many go from Chrome back to Firefox or Edge. It's more because they are happy with what they use currently. I'm probably a bit indifferent on search engines. I just use whatever and don't pay much attention to anything but results. If one doesn't suit me, I try another one.

        • Angusmatheson

          In reply to VancouverNinja:

          I use duck duck go as default, but have to admit that it isn't that common that I have to use google to find what I need. But I think it is really important to have choice - bing, google, duck duck go are all really important. Thank goodness that Microsoft was willing to spend billions supporting Bing, if they hadn't there would be only google. Only one company that controlled all of internet search. That is a terrifying thought.

  18. Jeff.Bane

    Doesn't it power Yahoo search as well? That would account for anyone over 65 years old doing a search.

  19. nightmare99

    Doing it for the UK here (almost typed that as Dong!)

  20. Jason Liao

    Baidu rules China. Since Google has been banned in China, Bing may have higher market share than Google.

  21. Roger Ramjet

    I think they are using "market share" consciously. You can always convert things to money right? How much total money were made by search engine networks (including white label) from ad placements and what was Bing Network (BN) share. I think this is deliberate because the money share percent is probably much higher for BN than the raw search share for Bing homepage (hence the differences in stat count etc). I think the BN in this case would be gross, before Yahoo, Apple, Amazon etc took their share. So to the extent that Google has a greater share that is direct off their homepage and other owned properties, they would be taking more cash home (but note that Google also has a lot of partnerships, but I think they are partnering with millions of smaller entities, so you can expect they get fatter margins than when you do wholesale business with Apple).

    I guess a question is why is Microsoft doing these announcements. There was an almost identical source data I read at another blog two months or so back. My hope (as a holder of MSFT) is it has to do with looking forward to more. One area they ought to be looking at is the pending EU ruling on mobile search monopolization. I read that situation, business wise, as the reverse of the US ruling of Microsoft as a monopoly in ~2000. The next company up with search and other capability will take serious share on Android mobile, just as Google did on Windows.

    In this case, in a neat reversal, I read that next company as Microsoft(it almost seems like they've been prepping for it). They'd better not blow it. In fact this presents for them (pending the ruling and what the EU decides must be unbundled) their more promising mobile re entry, vs. all that gymnastics with Windows solutions. They would have to forget Windows solutions and go full Android.

  22. glenn8878

    Google is almost useless since they restrict hate group searches. They never work as intended.

    Since when does any search engine need domination to be in business. Bing should do fine. I'm leaning against using Google by favoring others.

  23. david.thunderbird

    Are you mixing this up with Bing cherries market? I'd recommend googling for the facts.

  24. simont

    Bing, its bigger than you though everywhere except Africa.

  25. cheetahdriver

    From the business side, my company found Bing advertising to be very nearly worthless, we got better results by diverting more resources to Google. That wasn't just as a guess, we devised a pretty good strategy to test it. The downfall to both is that the pricing is pretty non transparent.

  26. matsan

    I am curious of the numbers from Sweden, I don't know a single person using Bing other than yelling at it when they launch IE or Edge for the first and last time (to download Chrome).

    Checking other sources they report less than 4% market share, for example

    Who to trust these days...

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