MSN Endures Flagging Search

Even eBay and Yahoo were able to post nice turnarounds in their Web businesses, and though Microsoft proper also scored better than expected fourth-quarter results (thanks in part to the Xbox 360), its MSN business continues to sputter. The division continues to lose market share in search to Google and was forced to revise its ad sales growth forecast down from 11% to between 3% to 8 %. The company's software chief responded by saying he's simply "not happy." 

Even so, Microsoft is hardly alone. Yahoo, MSN and IAC/InterActiveCorp's Ask.com have also seen their market share erode, due to Google's heightened dominance over the last year.

An MSN executive told CNET not to expect any momentum for MSN Search in the coming year, either, as revenue per search is down since MSN started using its own search advertising platform this past summer. Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell said the company continues to "take a long-term view of this business."

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