Oh man, Steve Ballmer is not going to be happy about this. StatCounter (via eweek.com) just released their search stats from the month of September today. For the first time since its launch in June, Bing didn't make any gains in the U.S. search market. In fact, it dropped 1.1%, from 9.6 to 8.5.
This setback could be a sign that Bing has lost its novelty factor. Users have had a chance to try it, and most of them decided to head back to Google, which is probably why the search giant saw a jump in their share during September (77.8%-80%). This is what I've been predicting since Bing first hit market. Microsoft's search engine is cool, but it isn't revolutionary enough to tear users away from Google's familiar bosom.
Now, it's worth noting that StatCounter's findings in August also showed the beginning of a downward trend for Bing. By comparison, Nielsen, comScore, and Hitwise all showed that month as one of relative gains. Every research analysis company out there is going to show different results, so we can't draw any real conclusions until we see their reports for September as well. That said, StatCounter's findings are significant.
They based their analysis on 4.6 billion search engine referring clicks, 1.1 billion of which came from the U.S. Their data in August showed the beginning of a fall for Bing, and their data this month showed a continuation of it. Bing isn't in freefall, but there's substantial evidence that they have started to see a retraction. The question is; how will Microsoft deal with it?