Microsoft’s Willingness to Rebrand Bing in Pursuit of Apple Search Deal

Microsoft Corp was willing to hide its search engine’s “Bing” brand on Apple Inc. devices to secure an agreement with the iPhone maker and unseat Google, Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella testified Monday. Taking the stand at Google’s antitrust trial, Nadella described how far his company was willing to go to become the default search provider on Apple devices. The Justice Department alleges that Alphabet Inc’s Google uses its dominance to quash competition and hurt consumers. It’s seeking billions in annual compensation from Google for deals that ensure that virtually every smartphone and computer comes preloaded with the search giant as the default.

Nadella told the court that Microsoft had sought a deal with Apple in which it would have made Bing the default search engine for the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad. He said that the move would have cost Microsoft billions of dollars in the short term but would have helped it gain market share and revenue in the long run.

The Bing service, which has operated since 2009, currently accounts for single digits of the mobile and desktop search markets. One of Nadella’s goals for the service was to see it grow into the teens in both categories. Nadella told the court that Microsoft could have had a much more significant presence if it could secure similar agreements with smartphone makers.

According to the government’s evidence, Microsoft tried to convince Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd to make Bing the default in their apps, and the software maker also sought to secure a deal with the iPhone maker to include its search app on its device. The iPhone maker rejected each proposal, even though Google pays Apple billions annually as part of an arrangement that keeps its search engine as the default for the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPad.

In addition to the billions of dollars that the Microsoft proposal would have cost in the short term, it would have required the software company to hide the Bing logo in Safari and allow Apple to include its search icon. That approach would have also prevented the iPhone maker from instructing its users to change the default search option, which it could not do under the terms of Google’s contract with the company.

Nadella said that Google’s more than 90% share of the mobile and desktop search market meant receiving and processing much more query data than Bing. He said that this allowed it to improve its search algorithms, attracting more users and generating additional queries, a feedback loop that kept improving the service. He added that Microsoft was working on such improvements with its technology. Nadella also emphasized that Microsoft continued to invest in Bing despite its low market share because search is the largest software category and was an essential component of the Windows operating system.

Chelsea Bonner

Hello, my name is Chelsea Bonner, With a body of work that encompasses everything from heart-wrenching dramas to epic adventures, I have proven time to time again that I am a true literary chameleon, able to adapt any style and tone to suit any genre or subject matter. Beyond my impressive literary achievements, I am also a respected figure in the writing community, serving as a mentor and role model to aspiring writers around the world. My commitment to fostering the next generation of talent is truly inspirational, and their impact on the literary world will be felt for years to come.

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