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In the month of January, Microsoft's Bing search engine claimed 13.1 percent of the market, taking a full percentage point away from Google, which dropped from 66.6 percent in December to a still dominant 65.6 percent, according to data from comScore. Bing's 1.1 percent ascent is the search engine's biggest single-month gain since it debuted in June 2009.
"comScore noted that some of the share taken by Bing is a result of distribution agreements taken over by Bing," Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, wrote in a research note. "However, we believe the gains for Bing demonstrate that Microsoft has no intention of giving up on the search front."
Perhaps Google sensed it was losing share to Bing before the numbers were out or knew as much from its own internal figures, but whatever the reason, the search wars have been heating up between the two as of late. Google recently accused Bing of essentially cheating the search game, alleging it copies Google's search queries and the sites users select in order to provide more relevant results. Microsoft refuted the allegation, calling it a "back-handed compliment" and accusing Google of spam-like shenanigans in its so-called 'experiment' that supposedly caught Bing red-handed.
At stake are billions of monthly searches and the ad dollars that come with it. According to comScore, there were nearly 17 billion explicit core searches conducted in January, with 11.1 million going through Google sites and 2.2 billion via Microsoft sites.