Microsoft Considered Selling Bing To Apple As Google Rival, But iPhone Maker Remained Skeptical

Microsoft Corporation MSFT reportedly discussed selling Bing to Apple Inc. AAPL as a replacement for Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG GOOGL Google, with Cupertino executives expressing skepticism about the former’s ability to compete with the search giant.

What Happened: During discussions held around 2020, executives from Microsoft met with Apple’s services chief, Eddy Cue, to explore the possibility of Apple acquiring Bing. These talks, although exploratory, never progressed to an advanced stage, reported Bloomberg, citing people with knowledge of the matter. 

Although Bing briefly served as the default search engine for Siri and Spotlight from 2013 to 2017, Apple eventually returned to Google. Bing remains an optional search engine for Safari.

On Thursday, Microsoft’s Jon Tinter also shared insights on the company’s consideration of a multibillion-dollar investment in its 2016 relationship with Apple to surpass Google and make Bing the default choice on Apple devices. 

CEOs Tim Cook and Satya Nadella even met to discuss this possibility, Tinter said. 

See Also: Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta Moves To Disrupt Apple, Google App Store Monopoly

Over the years, Apple and Microsoft have explored various avenues to make Bing the preferred search engine, but Google remained the default option on the tech giant’s devices. 

The company has also expressed reservations about Bing’s capacity to match Google in terms of quality and capabilities, the report noted, citing the sources.

It is worth noting that Microsoft introduced Bing in 2009 as a direct competitor to Google. However, despite its efforts, Google maintains a dominant position, while Bing represents less than 10% of search queries.

Meanwhile, Apple and Google entered their initial search engine agreement in 2002, predating Cupertino’s introduction of its inaugural Mac web browser. 

As time progressed, this collaboration extended to encompass Apple’s latest devices, including the iPhone. 

Now, the Department of Justice has alleged that by 2020, Apple was annually generating revenues ranging from $4 billion to $7 billion through this partnership.

Why It’s Important: The aforementioned reported revelations are more significant now because of the ongoing legal battle between the U.S. Department of Justice and Google. The DOJ is using Apple’s relationship with Google, which allegedly earned billions annually, as evidence of Google’s alleged search dominance abuse.

Previously, during his testimony, Cue suggested that Bing’s technology lagged behind Google’s, leaving uncertainty about the alternatives. He also said Apple saw no reason to develop its search tool, as Google remained the superior choice. 

This stance contrasts with Apple’s competitive approach in other sectors, such as mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems, the report highlighted. 

Photo by Monticello on Shutterstock

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Posted In: NewsTechMediaAppleverseBingConsumer TechEddy CueGoogleJon TinterMicrosoftSafariSatya NadellaSearchSIRISoftware & AppsspotlightTim Cook
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