Google's historical grip on the lucrative search market appears to be loosening, if new data is to be believed. Figures from two sources have indicated that Google has lost some ground to its Microsoft-branded alternative, Bing. Indeed, the historic powerhouse of the search industry found that its market share dropped three percent year-on-year, while its Android mobile operating system also appears to be slowing.
Dominic Sunnebo, global consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a leading research firm, observed that at the end of 2012, Android topped the mobile operating system market. However, Mr Sunnebo also admitted that the rate of growth is beginning to slow "as easy wins from first time smartphone buyers begin to reduce".
By contrast, Microsoft's increasingly prominent Windows Phone has enjoyed strong growth in the European market. The handset saw its market share rise to 5.9 percent and 13.9 percent in the British and Italian markets, respectively.
In terms of search, meanwhile, Google's market share fell below the 90 percent mark for the second month in a row; its overall share currently stands at 88 per cent, which is its lowest in five years. On the flipside, Bing, Yahoo! and Ask all increased their market share.
In fact, December 2012 was officially the largest month ever for online search. The figures were, no doubt, boosted by online Christmas shopping, but they also serve to underline the view that the traditional high street concept is becoming increasingly redundant.
James Murray, Digital Insight Manager at Experian Marketing Services, said: "Clearly, Google still maintains a huge competitive edge over the other search engines in the UK market. There are seven times more searches conducted on Google Sites than on all the other search engines combined.
"However," he added, "this is encouraging news for Microsoft as Bing once again starts to gain some momentum and traction in the UK search market."
He said, too, that Bing's position on Microsoft phones, PCs and tablets had helped to boost its position in the global marketplace, as has the fact that it is now the default search engine on Facebook.