And it seems to be doing surprisingly well in that field. In fact, according to the latest comScore qSearch data covering the end of last year, Yandex has definitely now overtaken Microsoft in search, measured on a worldwide basis.
That actually first showed up in November’s stats, when Yandex processed 4.62 billion search requests to Microsoft’s 4.48 billion requests, but that meant each had roughly 2.6 percent share, and with such things you want to see a continuing trend. Sure enough, in December 2012 Yandex handled 4.84 billion requests (2.8 percent share) and Microsoft 4.48 billion (2.5 percent share). It’s a trend.
By way of comparison, Google is still thrashing everyone else, handling 114.73 billion requests in the same month for a 65.2 percent market share. China’s Baidu is next with 14.5 billion (8.2 percent), then Yahoo with 8.63 billion (4.9 percent). Yeah, I know Bing powers Yahoo search, but we’re talking about those consciously searching through what comScore terms “Microsoft sites” here — some of that will be searches through Office and Windows Live, but most will be explicitly through Bing itself.
The weird thing about the stats is the number of unique searchers — for December, Microsoft had 268.6 million of them, and Yandex just 74.4 million. Here we need to bear in mind that language is a factor. In English-speaking countries for example, people may use a variety of search engines when they’re not using Google, the clear market leader. In Russia, Yandex has more than 60 percent of the search market, and people who use it probably just use it a lot on average.
Then there’s the fact that Russia’s internet market is growing really quickly, and so is the market in Turkey – another key country for Yandex.
Whatever the reasons, Microsoft is now down to fifth place in the global search stats, at least according to comScore’s data.