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Has Microsoft's Bing Search Engine Really Been A Hit?

With Steve Ballmer's announced retirement, the tech world has been debating his legacy. While some products released during his tenure as CEO have been universally panned - Windows Vista has few fans - others have received more mixed opinions. 

One such product is Bing, Microsoft's rebooted search engine which was launched in 2009. In CNN's list of hits and misses during the Ballmer era, Bing was listed in the "hit" column. In the video below, Fool analysts Eric Bleeker, Jamal Carnette, and Simon Erickson look at whether Bing could actually be classified as a hit. 

While the product is now competitive with Google, the problem is that Microsoft took so long to create viable competition in search. During that time Google built a nearly insurmountable lead. While Google's search market share is closer to 66% in the United States, in many other countries it stands above 90%. Ultimately, products must be judged by their impact on the bottom line, and with Microsoft's online services division having posted $16 billion in losses across the past five years, Bing falls into the "miss" column instead of being known as a hit. 

To see our analyst's discussion on the history of Bing, watch the video below. 

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Read/Post Comments (8) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 12:27 AM, marv08 wrote:

    No discussion needed: financially it is a disaster.

    The product itself? Isn't at all bad. Search results are good, the results are not as cluttered with ads and sponsored results as Google's and the whole layout is more readable.

    So, why isn't it gaining any momentum? MS should know the answer (they have a few monopolies and won over better competitors quite often, even if this was 20 years ago). If you want to dethrone the leader, being good is not enough. You have to disrupt his business; and frankly, Bing has absolutely nothing disruptive - people won't change their habits for some nicer typeface. And "scroogled" campaigns won't disrupt anything either.

    The better question is, IMHO, if, lacking a disruptive product, there was any point in getting into search at all (other than Ballmer's ego). Where is MS's answer to Google Docs (a FREE online Office, even if it does not have all the features of 365) and Apple's upcoming iWork in iCloud? Where is MS's SERIOUS answer to Google Apps? Where are the capable versions and tools for Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, Lync etc. on other platforms? Instead of supporting their money-makers, they sink money into a lost cause.

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 12:53 AM, deltafool117 wrote:

    Motley Fool, you genuinely impress me. I have seen both positive MSFT articles and negative ones. That kind of balance is hard to find on a lot of sites. Bravo.

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 12:54 AM, sypoth wrote:

    Bing is such a stupid name for a search engine, trying to hipster it up like they are doing with allot of their products isn't working. They need to instead provide usefulness without hipstering up their products. Be a bit more cut throat and even run commercials that run the two side by side showing google full of spam results which is the truth about their search, you search for something and get fifty results all from one site that has nothing to do with what you were searching for. TBH, just changing the name would be better, also allowing search results or even entire sites to be blocked without visiting the page first would be an improvement. But those suggestions are just over Balmers head and his hipster inclinations, there is a reason his role in the early company was pretty much "slacker friend along for the ride!"

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 12:59 AM, pksloope wrote:

    I would much prefer to read your analyst's opinions than have to sit through a video.

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 1:35 AM, EmilyGoodall wrote:

    Bing is just another, in a long list of reasons, why consumers are not in love with Microsoft: mostly foisted upon computer users, Bing is clearly not in the same league with the likes of google search. It's mostly viewed as just a pain in the butt when it barges its way onto your browser via an address bar search.

  • Report this Comment On September 06, 2013, at 3:27 AM, Blessthebeasts wrote:

    Most everyone I know as well as myself all use Bing instead of Google. Most of the time you get the results you're looking for right at the top plus I don't trust google anymore knowing that they farm people's emails to swamp them with ads and conspired with the US Govt to allow them access to our internet records.

  • Report this Comment On September 08, 2013, at 1:25 PM, cattywampus wrote:

    Got to admit I use Goggle first but lately I also go to bing just to compare and am pleased with the results.I was searching for stress reduction and Bing gave me (Ruling Your World -Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche) a great easily understood Tibetian guy with a great video of the same name on YouTube. Helped me reduce my stress level significantly. fool on, Tomfoolery

  • Report this Comment On September 09, 2013, at 11:02 AM, jvgfool wrote:

    I binged this.

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