Microsoft recently announced that it intends to fully enter the Korean internet search market later this year. This does not seem wise in a market that has been utterly dominated by Korean players for over a decade. Yahoo withdrew from the market after a fifteen year failed push into Korea. Google has fared a little better, having now climbed to around 10% – 15% market share, but it has been a long struggle and they are no where near first placed player Naver. The other portal is another local player, Daum, which has recently joined forces with Kakao Talk to bolster its position on web as well as mobile.
Suffice to say that Microsoft, with its rather unpopular Bing search solution is rather late to this party!
Microsoft initially released a beta version of Bing in Korea, combining a live search technology developed in 2009 and a power search technology obtained from a merger in 2009. The beta trial did not produce great results and was reliant on a partnership with Daum, which may or may not progress, taking into account Daum’s recent merger.
What Microsoft lacks in search presence they intend to make up from their news service, entering close cooperation with domestic journals, producing a new title to its name – “Bing News.” It also unveiled the plan to expand partnerships with various domestic companies for diverse services including videos and images.
While it seems unlikely that Microsoft will make any major waves in the Korean search market it will be an interesting area to watch as Daum-Kakao enter the fray, as Google continues to make ground, and Bing lines themselves up for a likely disappointment.
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