Google is defending themselves in front of the US Senate, and of course is trying to diffuse accusations that they are a monopoly by claiming their competitors are a bit more competitive than they really are.
Google’s Eric Schmidt’s opening comments should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt when he said:
Among major search engines, Microsoft’s Bing has continued to gain in popularity, perhaps because it comes pre-installed as the search default on over 70 percent of new computers sold. Microsoft’s Bing is the exclusive search provider for Yahoo! and Facebook. Microsoft recently signed a deal for Bing to power English language search on the fast-rising Chinese search engine Baidu, which Baidu has acknowledged will help it become more competitive in markets outside of China. In addition to Internet Explorer, Microsoft has integrated Bing into its popular gaming console, the Xbox 360, which it is in talks with cable companies to convert into the set-top box of the future. Microsoft?s Bing launched in June 2009 and has grown so rapidly that some commentators have speculated that it could overtake Google as early as 2012.
Of course the kicker is that everything he said is in fact true, and Microsoft has managed to slowly gnaw away at Google’s monopoly, especially in the US, and while Microsoft may not overtake Google in 2012, 2014 would not seem so fantastical at all.