I have been watching the slow emergence of Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, carefully because it seemed to me to be a losing proposition. I haven’t had faith in the Microsoft brand in decades because it’s known for over-complexity, which always gets trumped by Apple’s simplicity.

In addition, Google has owned the search engine space and its brand has always held great appeal.

But Bing is slowly making inroads, reaching an all time 17% market share last spring, while Google was down almost a point in market share (while still owning more than 66% of the market).

What’s happening here?

Bing screenshotWell, for one thing, Microsoft, as a brand, has gotten out of the way. It’s all about Bing and simplicity has entered the equation. Its name means precision and the sound, of sorts, of when you’ve found what you’re looking for. It’s not difficult to navigate in any way and, while its pages certainly are similar to Google, it has added color to the search engine space.

Microsoft is continuing to invest in its search engine. It has signed a deal with Local to provide location-based product data that will replace Bing Shopping.

Google is no brand to mess with, meaning that Bing is in for a long haul to continue stealing market share. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it continued its upward ascent.