A Microsoft search executive made a few calls to reporters last week to tout what the company expected to be a marked improvement in its share of U.S. Internet searches.
Today, comScore released the numbers for June, and not only did Microsoft's Live Search gain 3 percentage points from a year ago, its chief rivals, and the occupants of the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on comScore's list, saw their numbers decline.
Microsoft still got only 13.2 percent of the roughly 8 billion Internet searches performed in the U.S. last month. Yahoo had 25.1 percent, down a little more than 1 percentage point. Google still dominates the market, notching 49.5 percent in June, also down slightly more than a percentage point.
Brad Goldberg, general manager of Microsoft's search business group, said on Friday that the company was expecting to see a "more significant uptick" with this report because of its efforts with the Live Search Club. The program is designed to show off some of the features of Live Search in an "entertaining and contextually relevant way," he said.
The company's hope is that it will convince more people who try Live Search to stick with it and use it more frequently.
"Today, about 30 percent of people who search use Live Search," Goldberg said, "but that only translates into 10 percent of queries." (Now 13.2 percent.)
Goldberg said Microsoft plans "another turn of the crank" on Live Search by the end of the year to make engineering improvements to search relevance and performance. He said that Microsoft today feels it has a leadership position in areas including mobile search, image search and mapping.