Bing’s Marketshare Continued To Creep Upwards In July

Another month, another report that Bing is chiming slightly louder. Analytics firm comScore has just released its latest figures on search market share, and once again Microsoft’s search engine has managed to grow while its competitors have seen modest losses.

Bing launched to the public on May 31, when Microsoft held 8.0% search marketshare. Over the course of June and July, the site has gained nearly a full percentage point — it’s up to 8.9%, and growth was actually higher for July than for June, when the site was getting all of its launch attention. Of course, Bing’s marketshare still pales in comparison to Google’s dominant 64.7%, but at least Microsoft is heading in the right direction.

Once again, it looks like Bing’s gain comes at Yahoo’s expense, at least to some extent. Since May, Yahoo has dropped from 20.1% to 19.3%. Google has dropped a more modest .3%, from 65% to 64.7%. We saw a similar pattern last month, when we pointed out that Yahoo was losing marketshare both from below (Bing) and above (Google).

Since then though, the landscape has changed dramatically: Yahoo search will soon be powered by Bing. When the Yahoo/Microsoft search deal was announced Yahoo EVP Hillary Schneider discounted the impact of this market share erosion, stating, “seeing Bing as a live experience was a nice assurance but did not change our rationale or timing.” But it’s hard to believe that Bing’s strong start didn’t have an impact on the deal.

Once that deal comes to fruition Bing will have to face the real test: can it continue to take market share away from Google, or will it simply continue to eat away at itself as users move from Yahoo’s portal to the Bing homepage?

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Hands-on with the Zune HD

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Can Microsoft’s latest Zune, the Zune HD, take down the king? It depends on which king you’re talking about. As it stands, the iPod Touch is a whole different beast because of the App Store. What Microsoft has done with the Zune HD is nothing short of spectacular, but who is it really competing with? My BlackBerry can play videos and show me pictures taken on a recent trip. The HTC Hero and/or myTouch 3G can stream music from the likes of last.fm or Slacker. I can download MP3s from my iPhone. Everything the Zune HD does, I’ve been able to do with a slew of different devices that I already own.

You see, the features that the Zune team has been touting don’t interest me much. I don’t really care to see an artist’s bio, their pictures or anything of that nature. Sure, the modified IE browser is nice and works great, but I want to know how deeply integrated the Zune HD is going to be with other Microsoft devices like the Xbox 360. I don’t need to fork over extra cash for an HD dock to stream 720p content onto my TV. I can already do that through my Xbox 360, FiOS and whatever content is stored on my NAS. Tell me what the plans are for the next six months. Tell me when the damn thing is actually going to launch.

With that being said, please enjoy the short video that I took of the Zune HD in action. One thing I failed to capture was the on-screen keyboard. MS has taken a different twist, which may or may not be unique to the Zune HD, but it’s different than most other on-screen keyboards that I’ve seen. Unlike the iPhone (or any other device that lacks a physical keyboard) when you’re tapping away at the Zune HD’s on-screen keyboard; characters don’t pop up by themselves. Tap a character and its neighboring chums to the right and left will create a small arch with the center character popping up just a little more than the rest. It seemed to work well, but the firmware isn’t final so I’m unable to fully comment.

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The only other misstep I noticed was with the home button and Internet browser. When you’re navigating through every other feature of the Zune HD, a single tap of the home button brings you back to the main page, but when tapping the home button from within the browser it chorks hard. It takes two or three taps to get back to the home screen. But, again, the Zune HD I took a look at was definitely not final in any way. Also, the Wi-Fi at our meeting location was spotty.

Things are looking good for Microsoft and the Zune team with the HD, but I’m still waiting to hear what they have in store for the device because everything else is old hat.

Microsoft to let users pick web browser

BRUSSELS: Microsoft Corp. will offer computer users a choice of rival Web browsers to ward off new European Union antitrust fines, EU regulators and Microsoft said Friday.

Microsoft said its proposal — if accepted by the European Commission — would ‘fully address’ antitrust worries over its browser and ‘would mark a big step forward in addressing a decade of legal issues.’

The EU executive has charged the company with monopoly abuse for tying the Internet Explorer browser to the Windows operating system installed on most of the world’s desktop computers.

It said it welcomed Microsoft’s suggestions but would have to check how they would work and whether they would ensure ‘genuine consumer choice.’ It will seek comment from other browser makers and computer manufacturers before deciding on the proposal, which could become legally binding for five years.

Regulators will also examine a new offer by Microsoft to share information with software developers who want to make products compatible with Windows and Windows servers. That aims to settle a lengthy antitrust row that has racked up nearly euro1.7 million ($2.42 million) in EU fines for Microsoft.

On the browser case, Microsoft is suggesting that users of Windows XP, Vista or its latest release Windows seven could pick a browser from a ballot screen listing five of the most popular browsers in Europe. Existing Windows users would get the ballot screen from a software update.

It said the choice of these five browsers would be reviewed twice a year based on usage data for the previous six months. Microsoft’s browser is the most widely used worldwide, but Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox is gaining in popularity.

Mozilla and Google Inc. — which recently released a browser, Chrome — are supporting the case against Microsoft.

Windows would still include Internet Explorer, but users would be able to disable it. Computer manufacturers could also choose to install other browsers, set them as default and disable Internet Explorer.

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith said this would allow the company to ship Windows seven to European customers with Internet Explorer. The company said in June that it would remove the browser to avoid antitrust problems.

Smith said the pressure was now on EU regulators to approve a new option before Windows seven goes on sale on Oct. 22 or Microsoft would supply its ‘E’ version without any browser.

‘PC manufacturers building machines for the European market will continue to be required to ship E versions of Windows seven until such time that the Commission fully reviews our proposals and determines whether they satisfy our obligations under European law,’ he said.

EU regulators slammed that version as giving no real choice to the five per cent of customers who buy Windows in a stand-alone pack. Most people buy the software pre-installed on a computer assembled by manufacturers such as Dell or HP.

The ballot screen that Microsoft is now proposing is close to what regulators called for in January when they asked Microsoft to offer several browsers on Windows.

It is also backed by Norwegian mobile Internet browser maker Opera Software ASA, which triggered the EU antitrust case by complaining that Microsoft was unfairly using its power as the dominant supplier of operating system software to squeeze out rivals.

Opera lawyer Thomas Vinje welcomed Microsoft’s announcement Friday but said ‘the devil is in the detail’ on how far it would go to calm antitrust fears.

Offering the ballot screen to existing Windows users ‘will change the world,’ he said, because it would encourage developers to make cross-platform software based on Web standards instead of tailoring their work to Microsoft software.

Microsoft says that it fully complies with existing Web standards.

Microsoft said it was also promising to share more interoperability information with developers to help them make software that works with Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange and SharePoint.

Smith said this involve ‘significant change by Microsoft’ and was based on long talks with EU regulators. He said they also include enforceable warranty commitments.

‘We believe that if ultimately accepted, this proposal will fully address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows and interoperability with our high-volume products,’ he said. — AP

Microsoft to let users pick web browser: EU

BRUSSELS: Microsoft Corp. will offer computer users a choice of rival Web browsers to ward off new European Union antitrust fines, EU regulators and Microsoft said Friday.

Microsoft said its proposal — if accepted by the European Commission — would ‘fully address’ antitrust worries over its browser and ‘would mark a big step forward in addressing a decade of legal issues.’

The EU executive has charged the company with monopoly abuse for tying the Internet Explorer browser to the Windows operating system installed on most of the world’s desktop computers.

It said it welcomed Microsoft’s suggestions but would have to check how they would work and whether they would ensure ‘genuine consumer choice.’ It will seek comment from other browser makers and computer manufacturers before deciding on the proposal, which could become legally binding for five years.

Regulators will also examine a new offer by Microsoft to share information with software developers who want to make products compatible with Windows and Windows servers. That aims to settle a lengthy antitrust row that has racked up nearly euro1.7 million ($2.42 million) in EU fines for Microsoft.

On the browser case, Microsoft is suggesting that users of Windows XP, Vista or its latest release Windows seven could pick a browser from a ballot screen listing five of the most popular browsers in Europe. Existing Windows users would get the ballot screen from a software update.

It said the choice of these five browsers would be reviewed twice a year based on usage data for the previous six months. Microsoft’s browser is the most widely used worldwide, but Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox is gaining in popularity.

Mozilla and Google Inc. — which recently released a browser, Chrome — are supporting the case against Microsoft.

Windows would still include Internet Explorer, but users would be able to disable it. Computer manufacturers could also choose to install other browsers, set them as default and disable Internet Explorer.

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith said this would allow the company to ship Windows seven to European customers with Internet Explorer. The company said in June that it would remove the browser to avoid antitrust problems.

Smith said the pressure was now on EU regulators to approve a new option before Windows seven goes on sale on Oct. 22 or Microsoft would supply its ‘E’ version without any browser.

‘PC manufacturers building machines for the European market will continue to be required to ship E versions of Windows seven until such time that the Commission fully reviews our proposals and determines whether they satisfy our obligations under European law,’ he said.

EU regulators slammed that version as giving no real choice to the five per cent of customers who buy Windows in a stand-alone pack. Most people buy the software pre-installed on a computer assembled by manufacturers such as Dell or HP.

The ballot screen that Microsoft is now proposing is close to what regulators called for in January when they asked Microsoft to offer several browsers on Windows.

It is also backed by Norwegian mobile Internet browser maker Opera Software ASA, which triggered the EU antitrust case by complaining that Microsoft was unfairly using its power as the dominant supplier of operating system software to squeeze out rivals.

Opera lawyer Thomas Vinje welcomed Microsoft’s announcement Friday but said ‘the devil is in the detail’ on how far it would go to calm antitrust fears.

Offering the ballot screen to existing Windows users ‘will change the world,’ he said, because it would encourage developers to make cross-platform software based on Web standards instead of tailoring their work to Microsoft software.

Microsoft says that it fully complies with existing Web standards.

Microsoft said it was also promising to share more interoperability information with developers to help them make software that works with Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange and SharePoint.

Smith said this involve ‘significant change by Microsoft’ and was based on long talks with EU regulators. He said they also include enforceable warranty commitments.

‘We believe that if ultimately accepted, this proposal will fully address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows and interoperability with our high-volume products,’ he said. — AP

Microsoft to let users pick web browser: EU

BRUSSELS: Microsoft Corp. will offer computer users a choice of rival Web browsers to ward off new European Union antitrust fines, EU regulators and Microsoft said Friday.

Microsoft said its proposal — if accepted by the European Commission — would ‘fully address’ antitrust worries over its browser and ‘would mark a big step forward in addressing a decade of legal issues.’

The EU executive has charged the company with monopoly abuse for tying the Internet Explorer browser to the Windows operating system installed on most of the world’s desktop computers.

It said it welcomed Microsoft’s suggestions but would have to check how they would work and whether they would ensure ‘genuine consumer choice.’ It will seek comment from other browser makers and computer manufacturers before deciding on the proposal, which could become legally binding for five years.

Regulators will also examine a new offer by Microsoft to share information with software developers who want to make products compatible with Windows and Windows servers. That aims to settle a lengthy antitrust row that has racked up nearly euro1.7 million ($2.42 million) in EU fines for Microsoft.

On the browser case, Microsoft is suggesting that users of Windows XP, Vista or its latest release Windows seven could pick a browser from a ballot screen listing five of the most popular browsers in Europe. Existing Windows users would get the ballot screen from a software update.

It said the choice of these five browsers would be reviewed twice a year based on usage data for the previous six months. Microsoft’s browser is the most widely used worldwide, but Mozilla Corp.’s Firefox is gaining in popularity.

Mozilla and Google Inc. — which recently released a browser, Chrome — are supporting the case against Microsoft.

Windows would still include Internet Explorer, but users would be able to disable it. Computer manufacturers could also choose to install other browsers, set them as default and disable Internet Explorer.

Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith said this would allow the company to ship Windows seven to European customers with Internet Explorer. The company said in June that it would remove the browser to avoid antitrust problems.

Smith said the pressure was now on EU regulators to approve a new option before Windows seven goes on sale on Oct. 22 or Microsoft would supply its ‘E’ version without any browser.

‘PC manufacturers building machines for the European market will continue to be required to ship E versions of Windows seven until such time that the Commission fully reviews our proposals and determines whether they satisfy our obligations under European law,’ he said.

EU regulators slammed that version as giving no real choice to the five per cent of customers who buy Windows in a stand-alone pack. Most people buy the software pre-installed on a computer assembled by manufacturers such as Dell or HP.

The ballot screen that Microsoft is now proposing is close to what regulators called for in January when they asked Microsoft to offer several browsers on Windows.

It is also backed by Norwegian mobile Internet browser maker Opera Software ASA, which triggered the EU antitrust case by complaining that Microsoft was unfairly using its power as the dominant supplier of operating system software to squeeze out rivals.

Opera lawyer Thomas Vinje welcomed Microsoft’s announcement Friday but said ‘the devil is in the detail’ on how far it would go to calm antitrust fears.

Offering the ballot screen to existing Windows users ‘will change the world,’ he said, because it would encourage developers to make cross-platform software based on Web standards instead of tailoring their work to Microsoft software.

Microsoft says that it fully complies with existing Web standards.

Microsoft said it was also promising to share more interoperability information with developers to help them make software that works with Windows, Windows Server, Office, Exchange and SharePoint.

Smith said this involve ‘significant change by Microsoft’ and was based on long talks with EU regulators. He said they also include enforceable warranty commitments.

‘We believe that if ultimately accepted, this proposal will fully address the European competition law issues relating to the inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows and interoperability with our high-volume products,’ he said. — AP