Microsoft almost sold Bing to Apple, here’s why it didn’t happen

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Last September, there were reports that Microsoft tried to sell its Bing search engine to Apple at one point. The talks between the tech giants reached an exploratory stage in 2020 but didn’t get more advanced due to Bing’s quality issues. Now, a court document related to Google’s antitrust trial with the DOJ, which was unsealed on Friday, suggests a similar claim.

Microsoft pitched Apple the idea of making Bing the default search engine on Safari many times

The unsealed document has revealed that Microsoft pitched Apple the idea of making Bing the default search engine on Safari many times. The Redmond-based tech giant tried it as many as six times in 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2020. The company even tried to sell Bing to Apple in 2018, apart from offering to establish a Bing-related joint venture. However, every time, Apple declined citing the quality and features of Bing over Google Search, reports CNBC.

In the document, Google mentioned that “In each instance, Apple took a hard look at the relative quality of Bing versus Google and concluded that Google was the superior default choice for its Safari users. That is competition”. The search titan claims that Apple rejected Microsoft’s offer citing the under-par search quality of Bing. The CNBC report also quotes Eddy Cue, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Services, mentioning that Microsoft wasn’t investing enough in search quality and investment.

“Microsoft search quality, their investment in search, everything was not significant at all,” said Eddy Cue, as per the filing. “And so everything was lower. So the search quality itself wasn’t as good. They weren’t investing at any level comparable to Google or to what Microsoft could invest in. And their advertising organization and how they monetize was not very good either.”

Apple is making billions by keeping Google as its default search engine

For the uninitiated, Apple is making billions of dollars by keeping Google as its default search engine. Well, there’s no concrete number, but reports suggest that Google pays nearly upwards of $20 billion yearly to Apple for their deal. Notably, during the antitrust trial, Eddy Cue (Apple’s SVP of Services) testified that if Apple hadn’t received such massive payments from Google, it would have developed its own search engine.

Many industry analysts suggest that the Cupertino tech giant will eventually launch its own search engine. Over the years, many reports have been suggesting that as well. However, given the amount of money the company is already making from Google, we don’t think it will happen any time soon.

Currently, Google is the king of search with a market share of nearly 92 percent as of January 2024, as per StatCounter. As for Bing, it reportedly caters to just around 4 percent of searches across the globe. It’s worth pointing out that StatCounter reports that Bing’s user base is growing gradually. In January 2023, it claimed a market share of 3.03 percent, which has risen to 3.43 percent in January 2024