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Perhaps you saw the writing on the wall yesterday with news that Microsoft is now basically paying users to use its search engine — yes, Google search share rose again in April.

Google now controls 61.6 percent of all U.S. searches, according to comScore. This represents a 1.8 percent increase from its March 2008 share of 59.8 percent. While that may not seem like much of an increase, consider this: Every other search engine in the top five lost market share in the same time period. Yahoo was the worst, down 0.9 percent, Microsoft was down 0.3 percent and AOL was down 0.2 percent.

Also consider that the only other service with a market share in the double digits is Yahoo with 20.4 percent. Incredibly, if Microsoft were to be successful in buying Yahoo’s search business, their two market shares combined would still be less than half of Google’s (29.5 percent versus 61.6 percent)!

Perhaps Microsoft should buy Yahoo’s search business, start paying users to use its own AND buy AOL’s search business. At least then they’d be over halfway to Google’s market share.

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