Back at the beginning of 2008, Microsoft felt the pressure – Bill Gates hosted its final keynote speech at CES 2008, and various obituaries were written by bloggers, hacks and pundits. On February 1, 2008 Steve Ballmer announced that the company is bidding to buy Yahoo, #2 search engine.

The bid was valued at 44.6 billion dollars, a move that shocked analysts, since it was around 10 billion dollars more than Microsoft had in the bank. Yahoo managed to stay independent, but lost a lot of people in the process, including its co-founder and CEO, Jerry Yang.

When Microsoft saw that it cannot buy its market share in the search and online advertising space, the company pulled together and decided to completely overhaul its much criticized MSN Live search engine. The result was Bing, search engine that spark a lot of controversy with its immediate preview features – but regardless of critics say, Microsoft won over a lot of customers.

According to June 2009 statistics coming from StatCounter, Bing search engine now accounts for 8.23% of all searches in the USA. This is up from 7.21% for MSN Live search before Bing appeared on the scene. At the same time, Google lost half a percent, dropping from 78.72% to 78.48%. Yahoo gained 0.05%, rising from 10.99% to 11.04%.

Big had almost 10% of market share in the first week of June, but then dropped down to 8.45% for the remaining three weeks. It is hard to guess can Bing take-off in a really serious way and threaten first Yahoo, then Google ? but the company is serious.

If Microsoft invests 10% of what the company wanted to invest in Yahoo that would be more than enough to rattle the search engine cage. The battle for marketing revenue is on, and we’ll see how all three major players will look in second half of 2009.