The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

4. Microsoft

Microsoft

U.S. 2010 digital revenue: $3.1 billion

Snapshot: Under President Qi Lu, Microsoft’s online services unit has made increasing traffic to the Bing search engine its top priority. A steady release of new features, an onslaught of advertising and distribution deals increased Bing’s share of the search market to 12 percent at the end of the year, up from 8.4 percent in 2009, according to comScore. That’s not counting Yahoo’s 16 percent of the search market, which is now also powered by Microsoft’s search engine. However, the company still has a very long way to go to catch up to Google, which controls 66.6 percent of the market.

Key digital move in 2010: Nearly a year after announcing its search partnership with Yahoo, Microsoft began powering search results on Yahoo in August and search ads three months later.

How we generated our estimate: Microsoft said online ad sales totaled $1.9 billion during its fiscal year 2010, which ended in June. Comments an executive made in July implied that Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service brought in more than $1.2 billion in sales during the year via subscriptions and the sale of digital downloads. It’s unclear what percentage of either total is generated inside the U.S., but we assume it was the vast majority.