“It’s a hard thing. Habits die hard,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Senior Vice President of Online Audience Business at Microsoft, at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.
Mehdi was speaking about a tendency among people to almost instinctively use Google for online searches without any consideration for the alternatives, says Network World.
Microsoft has invested a lot of effort, time and money into its Bing search engine, which launched last year, but it is still struggling to catch up with Google which rules over two-thirds of the market.
Even Yahoo is doing better than Microsoft, with a 16.7 percent ComScore market share. Microsoft only managed 11.2 percent. A recent deal between Microsoft and Yahoo has seen the latter adopt Bing as the back-end technology for its search engine, which effectively brings Bing to a wider audience.
The major threat remains Google, however. Microsoft is well aware of how tough the competition is, with Mehdi saying that Microsoft is constantly employing usage data to monitor, tweak and sharpen Bing. He said “data is the lifeblood of what we’re about.”
It is also running intense advertising campaigns, both online and offline, in efforts to expose more to the alternative search engine. The problem is not necessarily awareness, rather getting people to try it.
“We have a long ways to go in terms of what we want to accomplish,” said Mehdi.