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Web Traffic And Google Trends Foretell Possible Fortunes For Microsoft (MSFT)

 November 08, 2012 06:34 PM

(By Rich Bieglmeier) On Wednesday, TechSpot.com reported that StatCounter revealed, "Windows 8 has overtaken Android with regards to web traffic." Web traffic is different from web searches that we have written about many times.

Traffic, as we understand it, is the number of visitors a URL or site actually receives. People can end up on web pages for all sorts of reason. They need a phone number, troubleshooting, FAQs, interested in buying… no need for more examples, you get the picture.

However, searches are a different animal. They are user specific and targeted to the browser's impulse or need at the moment. A search for buy iPhone 5 has greater significance than somebody who regularly visits apple.com, right?

[Related -Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Earnings Preview: What To Watch In Q2 Results?]

Generally speaking, iStock views web queries as a virtual showroom and keyword searches as prospects and customers, or foot traffic - the more the merrier.

So, we put StatCounter's observation to the Google Trends test to see just how Windows 8 stacks up against Android and IOS. Here is what we found.

Windows 8 did bypass IOS; however, Android rules the roost. At the moment, Windows 8 has roughly half the search volume intensity of Android, but more than double IOS. Our guess is that searches for operating systems favor app developers versus retail customers, i.e. smartphone shoppers.

Investors must consider the significance of today's report.

According to the latest numbers from IDC, Android dominates the smartphone market with a 75% market share. Apple (AAPL) holds 15%, and the remaining 10% is fragmented. Meanwhile, on the smartphone search-front, Windows phone barely registers against the iPhone and Galaxy competition. Again, AAPL is the clear leader, getting 40% more queries than Samsung while Windows phone searches are on the floor.

[Related -Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Good Buy or Good-Bye?]

Looking at the Google trends for Windows Surface, iPad, Kindle, and Galaxy Note, iStock sees Surface butting up against the Samsung and Amazon tablets while all three combined to receive half the search volume of iPad. In our view, Surface will surpass Kindle and Note as MSFT rolls out the Surface to retail outlets.

The evidence tells iStock that Windows 8 web traffic is operating-system related, for now. Which means interest is limited to desktops and laptops. As a matter of fact, Microsoft reports that more than four million copies of Windows 8 were sold in its first four days.

As the OS garners more support and acceptance, iStock would expect Surface sales to benefit.  When and if the rumors of a Microsoft smartphone, not collaboration with HTC or Nokia, turn into reality, enough demand could exist to match iPhone's 15% market share while taking share from Android. Yeah, Yeah, it's tech-blasphemy, we know.

Overall, we believe the increased web traffic and search volume intensity for Windows 8 and Surface is a precursor for good news to come for Microsoft's (MSFT) sales, profits, and shareholders. Now, if only this damn market would stop going down.



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