writes "Microsoft said it would anonymize data collected via its Bing search engine after six months. Until now, the software giant has retained that data for 18 months. Over the past two years, however, Internet companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google have made efforts to reduce the amount of time that information is stored. Microsoft's policies will remain the same, but now, the company will delete the IP address and other info after six months. Back in December 2008, Microsoft said it would reduce its retention time to six months, but only if its rivals followed suit. At the time, Yahoo anonymized its data after 13 months, and Google did the same after 9 months. A week later, Yahoo cut that time down to three months, but Google said its decisions are not "conditioned on what our competitors will do.""