Google Says Microsoft Wanted To Sell Bing to Apple For Basically the Past Decade

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Microsoft selling Bing to Apple? It’s what Microsoft’s been trying to do for more than a decade, according to Google.

Google isn’t just throwing shade against Microsoft, it’s fighting the US Justice Department in an anti-trust case. During the proceedings, the fact that Microsoft wants to sell their search engine, Bing, came to light, and that the potential buyer is Apple, who would have a Google Search engine alternative.

It’s unexpected news, considering how invested Microsoft has been in the search engine market and how committed to the idea of using AI in it. It’s especially interesting that Microsoft had tried to sell Bing to Apple in 2018 considering that, the next year, they would be partnering with OpenAi to lay the foundation of the Bing Chat chatbot and future Microsoft Copilot. 

According to the files, Microsoft kept trying to convince Apple to use Bing as the default search engine – and eventually even offered to sell them the engine itself.

From a CNBC report covering the Google filings that revealed Microsoft’s negotiations:

In the filing earlier this month, Google argued that Microsoft pitched Apple in 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020 about making Bing the default in Apple’s Safari web browser, but each time, Apple said no, citing quality issues with Bing. “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.

The Justice Department said in its own newly unsealed filing that Microsoft has spent almost $100 billion on Bing over 20 years. The Windows and Office software maker launched Bing in 2009, following search efforts under the MSN and Windows Live brands. Today Bing has 3% global market share, according to StatCounter. In the fourth quarter, Microsoft generated $3.2 billion from search and news advertising, while Google search and other revenue totaled $48 billion. Google said in its filing that when Microsoft reached out to Apple in 2018, emphasizing gains in Bing’s quality, Microsoft offered to either sell Bing to Apple or establish a Bing-related joint venture with the company.”

Indeed, back in October, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella testified that every year of his tenure, he tried to convince Apple to use Bing.

“Everybody talks about the open web — but there is really the Google web,” he said then, referring to Google’ monopoly over the search market.

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