Google may continue to lead

Written by Vrishti Beniwal | New Delhi, Feb 6 | Updated: Feb 7 2008, 05:13am hrs
Microsoft's $44.6 billion bid to takeover Yahoo, if goes through, could make the merged entity a bigger player than Google by number of visitors on its sites, but in terms of market share in the Internet search space, Google is expected to remain the undisputed leader.

The Internet usage data for December 2007 by US-based online rating agency comScore has found that Google sites saw 588 million visitors worldwide in December 2007more than Microsoft (540 million) and Yahoo (485 million) individually, but less than the combined audience of the two, which would reach 665 million visitors worldwide.

In the search space, however, Google sites led with a 62.4% market share, compared with the combined share of Microsoft (2.9%) and Yahoo (12.8%) at 15.7%. In the email category (web-based), Yahoo led with 257 million visitors across the world, followed by Windows Live Hotmail at 255 million and Google's Gmail at 90 million.

In the Instant messenger category, MSN Windows Live messenger remained at the top with 227 million visitors, followed by Yahoo messenger at 93 million and Google Talk at 4 million. "A Microsoft/Yahoo combined instant messenger audience of 298 million would reach nearly 77% of the instant messenger audience worldwide," comScore added.

Last week, Microsoft had proposed acquisition of all the outstanding shares of Yahoo for $31 per share. Microsoft said the combination of Microsoft and Yahoo would create a more competitive marketplace by establishing a compelling number two competitor for Internet search and online advertising. The bid, however, received flak from Google.

"Microsoft has no choice but to acquire technology in the search space by bidding for Yahoo. The synergies between Microsoft and Yahoo can offer a semblance of a challenge to the might of Google provided it could achieve integration of technologies. That will be a bigger challenge for the merged entity," says Pankaj Jain, chief operating officer, Webdunia.