A new search engine for Microsoft

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Microsoft (MSFT) may release its new search engine technology next week. There is no telling whether it will help stop the slide in the company's U.S. market share -- which is now about eight percent. Rival Google (GOOG) has nearly 70 percent of the market.

Even if the search product can rival Google's in terms of the relevance of results, it may not get Microsoft many new customers. The use of Google is now a habit for most people who use the internet and habits are hard for marketers to break.

According toThe Wall Street Journal, "For months, Microsoft has been testing a prototype of the new search engine, code-named Kumo, with Microsoft employees." Microsoft faces a moving target. Google and Yahoo! (YHOO) are constantly updating their search products. The new version of Redmond's search technology should not only be better than current search engines, but needs to take into account the improvements that Google and Yahoo! will be making over the next year or two.

In the final analysis, Microsoft may be its own worst enemy. Many consumers do not like the world's largest software company and the monopoly it has in PC operating systems. They may see Google as an alternative to Microsoft and its ability to lock up most of the key tech sector products.

If the new Microsoft search product works well, it may find that a new product cannot overcome the consumer favorite. Google has been the preferred product of many people for many years.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.

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