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  • Vishal Narayan

Microsoft tried to sell Bing to Apple in 2018, but was turned down, reveals Google court filing



Microsoft tried to sell its search engine Bing to Apple as recent as 2018, a court filing by Google, which is facing an anti-trust trial in a US court, has revealed.


According to the filing, Microsoft also approached Apple to make Bing the default search engine on its Safari browser at least six times since 2009 – the year Bing was launched –, the latest being in 2020.


All the same, each time Apple turned down the offer, reportedly, because of superiority of Google search over Bing.


"Microsoft search quality, their investment in search, everything was not significant at all," said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of services, according to 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," he added.


Google, which is facing the allegations that it has insuperable monopoly in the search engine market, made the deposition arguing that it does have "competition" in the market.


"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," Google wrote in the filing.



At present, Apple uses Google as the default search engine for its Safari browser.


In 2021, Google paid Apple $26 billion to keep its search engine the default.


According to a deposition by an expert on Google parent Alphabet, Google pays as much as 36 per cent of its Safari-driven search revenue to Apple under a deal struck between the two firms.


In 2020, Bing's market share was more than 5 per cent, and Yahoo and DuckDuckGo – the other two of Google's rivals -- were even smaller, with market shares of approximately 2 per cent each.


"For most of the past decade, Google’s two largest rivals—Bing and Yahoo—rarely exceeded 10% market share combined," the filing read.


According to CNBC, Bing earned $3.2 billion from search and news related business in the last quarter, while Google from the same businesses earned more than $48 billion.  


Back in April 2023, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had accused the search engine giant of hoarding the search engine space to such an extent that there was no space for start-ups to compete with it. He said Microsoft in its bid to break into the search engine market has spent more money the Google, but little to show for it.

 

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