Microsoft's Bing has made a big splash in the search market, but could the company be shopping for another search engine to bolster its arsenal? Several analysts believe Microsoft is currently the most likely buyer for Ask.com, which could be sold very soon, Reuters reports.
Barry Diller, chairman of Ask's parent company, IAC, told reporters that the search market is challenging, and he'd be willing to part with his search engine.
Analysts believe Microsoft will do anything to increase its market share, and an Ask acquisition would have double value because Ask receives a majority of its revenue from an ad deal with Google.
Ask.com consistently ranks fourth in U.S. search market share, distantly trailing the big three: Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. The latest comScore numbers give Ask roughly 4 percent of the market, but combine that number with Bing's share (9.4 percent), and factor in Yahoo's share (18.8 percent) as part of the forthcoming pact between the companies, and that would give Microsoft nearly one third of the market.
That's still not as much as Google's 64.9 percent share, but it might have the search giant tossing and turning at night.