Not to long ago Microsoft decided to change their MSN search to a new name in order to compete with Google’s new services that went beyond a normal search engine. They decided to name this new search engine as well as other things “Windows Live Search“. Now MSN had some trouble as a search engine but it was doing pretty well for itself. But now the November ratings from Nielsen//NetRatings shows that it’s down to just 12% of US search traffic.
This compared to Google’s strong 50%, with AOL powered by Google with 6.2%, shows Live’s inability to keep up with the search engine giants. As Yahoo is keeping it’s second spot with 24%.
Why is it that Live is facing problems? Part of the issue is the fact that users don’t think an operating system has anything to do with an online search engine. Preferring instead to go to names they already recognize like Google or Yahoo. MSN was seen as a good online search engine because of the brand being Internet Explorer home page. But with this new change that doesn’t even offer anything new users are starting to switch over.
Now the next contender to Live is Ask.com, with 2.6% traffic in the US and over 30% worldwide, has also recently changed it’s brand from Ask Jeeves to just Ask with no problems. Notice however how they stayed close to the original name in order not to confuse their user base. Also Ask keeps coming out with better ways to search with it’s new beta ask-x due to come out soon.
All this accumulates to point out Live’s new problems both internally and externally. With it’s rigid search engine never doing much of anything to change to accommodate new users and outside competition being so strong the future may look anything but bleak for Microsoft’s new search engine.