Microsoft's Latest, Best Hope in Search

With little chance of catching Google in general online information queries, the software colossus is helping Web surfers plumb niche topics

Microsoft (MSFT) executives like to say we're still in the early stages of the lucrative business of Internet search. They contend that as wide as Google's (GOOG) lead may seem now, it's not insurmountable. But for all of Microsoft's protestations, and the money it has pumped into building a better way to seek out information online, the world's largest software company continues to come up short in search (see BusinessWeek, 4/2/07, "Where Is Microsoft Search?"). In May, for example, only 8.4% of all searches among U.S. Web surfers went through Microsoft's MSN or Windows Live engines, compared with Google's 56.3% share, according to research firm Nielsen//NetRatings (NTRT).

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