Bing AI may be getting crushed in the battle against Google search – but Microsoft might not care

Microsoft doubtless hoped that the launch of Bing AI would help attract users to the Bing search site, but that hasn’t happened going by some fresh stats.

Statcounter has just aired some figures on search volume and the bad news (for Microsoft) is that Bing’s share of the search engine market in the US has dropped by half a percentage point.

Bing was on 7.4% this time last year, but is now on 6.9%, whereas Google has notched up from 86.7% in 2022 to 88% now.

Okay, so it’s not a big drop for Bing, but nonetheless, it shows that – at least according to one source – Microsoft’s AI chatbot hasn’t made any difference to its search traffic.

The better news in these stats (spotted by Windows Central) is that Edge is up 1% in the browser market, but it’s only on 5.5% in total, so Google’s Chrome remains just as dominant as its search engine.

Analysis: A reversal of priorities?

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about Bing AI not helping Microsoft’s search traffic efforts. A few months ago, Statcounter’s global stats also showed that traffic fell slightly (to be fair, by 0.04% which is margin of error stuff, so effectively it stayed the same). The global stats for October 2023 also show a slight drop year-on-year.

The broad conclusion, then, is that Bing AI is not managing to drive any meaningful level of traffic to Microsoft’s search engine.

Does Microsoft really care overly about that, though? Maybe not so much now we’d suggest.

While the initial aim with Bing AI (or a big part of it) was to boost the attractiveness of, since the launch of the chatbot, the AI explosion has been so pronounced – and the bandwagon so attention-grabbing – that artificial intelligence has become overrulingly important itself.

By which we mean that Bing search considerations, or persuading folks to adopt Windows 11 to get the Copilot AI (essentially integrated Bing with bells and whistles, though not many of the latter yet), have now taken a back seat.

If a fresh rumor is to be believed, Microsoft is bringing Copilot to Windows 10 – a surprising move after the software giant said that the older OS was no longer getting any new features (except for very minor tweaks – and the AI assistant most definitely is a major upgrade).

What this shows – if true – is that Microsoft is less worried about encouraging Windows 11 adoption (which has been seriously slow) and using Copilot as a carrot to persuade upgrades, and more concerned about getting all the many folks on Windows 10 using its AI, bolstering the figures for that.

We can believe this might be the case, given that in the bigger picture, AI has become such a huge deal – with everyone getting in on the act, and for example the likes of Nvidia making a ton of profit from its AI-targeted GPUs. Team Green is very keenly focused on those products now, to the extent that we even worry about the future of the best gaming GPUs (the GeForce ones, that is).

It’s likely the end goal is shifting to Microsoft advancing its AI tech across web properties and its desktop OS ecosystem alike, getting people used to Bing or Copilot being their everyday helper – and that being the primary goal.

Rather than leveraging AI to push the company’s other products, Microsoft is now prioritizing the other way round, possibly. Maybe also thinking that if its AI systems gain enough clout, users will follow to other products eventually, anyway.

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