A new report suggests that Microsoft is losing $1 billion a quarter on Bing, its search engine, with total losses so far reaching $5.5 billion.

This is according to CNN Money, which has gotten its calculator out and totted up the total losses Microsoft has made on Bing and revealed that the company's online search division has never actually made a profit.

According to CNN, since it started revealing the finances of the unit in 2007 it has made a total loss of $9 billion.

People will expect more from search

The losses are despite Microsoft gaining good ground in the search market. ComScore is tracking the search engine as having a 14.7 per cent share of the market, with Google at 64.8 per cent.

Despite the massive disparity in percentages between the two companies, Microsoft is gaining in the search sector. One of the reasons for this is the tie-up with Yahoo, with Microsoft powering Yahoo's search functionality.

Speaking about Bing, Stefan Weitz, Microsoft's director of the search engine, said to CNN: "Our challenge is that no one wakes up in the morning and says, 'I really wish there was a better search engine'.

"That's why, for us, it's always been about figuring out how to accomplish more than we thought was possible with a search engine. Eventually, people will expect to do more with search, and if they can't, they'll be disappointed."

There's no doubt Microsoft is making waves in the search market, but there's also no doubt it will want to start recouping its losses from the search engine, given that it can only be a loss-leader for so long.

Via BGR