Google Inc (GOOG) Losing Market Share in U.K. and China?

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has been a strong competitor in a couple of online areas over the last few years, but there might be signs of chinks in its armor, as two of its strengths have actually seen declines in market share in two international markets. Is it an anomaly, or a sign of increased competition and a growing cynicism about the company after its surprisingly bad earnings report for investors like billionaire fund manager Julian Robertson of Tiger Management? Let’s take a look at each of these reports that measure market share.

SEARCH IN THE U.K.

Sergey Brin

Experian Hitwise released a report about search results market share in the U.K. this week, and for the first tie in five years, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Search market share dropped below 90 percent, to 89.33 percent. Three other search engines, Bing from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), Yahoo! Inc (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Ask have all gained ground in the British Empire. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Bing search has grown to 4.7 percent of the market, up from 3.9 percent a year later. Part of this can be credited to Windows 8, which has Bing as the default search engine, so it may be used more often by default.

But has Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) actually lost market share? “In the UK, Bing has been using very aggressive tactics of promotion for last few months, in preparation for the Christmas season. But Google is still dominant, and we would need to see a trend over more months to call it a consistent decline,” said Luca Paderni of Forrester Research.

GOOGLE MAPS IN CHINA

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has admittedly not been a huge player with its mobile Maps application in China to begin with, but even that fairly small slice has become more of a sliver now in the very competitive and growing market there.  The latest information out of China regarding mapping application use on mobile devices in China showed that Google Inc (GOOG) Maps dropped from 17.5 percent of the market to 9.5 percent and from No. 2 to No. 6 on the market share list.  Three possible reasons for this have been cited – first, while the Android operating system is popular, it isn’t always installed with Maps; second, increasing competition from other mapping services from Baidu.com Inc. (NASDAQ:BIDU) as well as Tiger Maps and Mapbar; and third, the online Google Maps is partially blocked in China, which may lead users to believe in a lack of quality.

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