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Sina Technology News in the early morning of September 29th Beijing time, it is reported that a number of people familiar with the matter said today that Microsoft had considered selling Bing search engine to Apple around 2020 in order to get Apple to give up Google search on iOS devices.
Microsoft executives met with Eddy Cue, Apple's head of services, to discuss the possibility of selling Bing to Apple, these people said. But in the end, the negotiation is only tentative and has not entered the stage of in-depth discussion.
For years, the two companies have been discussing how to make Bing search the default search engine for iOS devices, although Apple eventually insisted on using Google search. But now that the DoJ is engaged in a legal battle with Google to show that Google is abusing its dominant position in search, the negotiations between Microsoft and Apple have taken on new significance.
As for the Google lawsuit, the relationship between Apple and Google is at the heart of the case. Because Google pays Apple billions of dollars a year to ensure that its search engine becomes the default option for iPhone and other iOS devices.
Representatives of Microsoft and Apple declined to comment.
Microsoft launched Bing search in 2009 to challenge rival Google, but did not gain much market share. Today, Google still dominates the industry, while Bing's share is less than 10%.
Today, both Apple and Microsoft are embroiled in the Justice Department's lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit is ongoing and executives from both companies have testified in court. The Justice Department said the deal between Google and Apple is evidence that Google unfairly dominates the search market. But in testimony earlier this week, Apple executive Eddy Cue refuted that claim, saying Apple uses Google search because it is the best option available.
Back in 2002, Apple and Google reached the first search engine agreement, when Apple released its first Mac web browser, Safari. Over time, the protocol expanded to other Apple devices, most notably the iPhone. Apple will earn between $4 billion and $7 billion a year from the arrangement by 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Today, agreements between the two companies cover Safari web browsers on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Apple will receive a percentage of Google's revenue from Safari browsers on these devices.
People familiar with the matter said that the huge revenue from the Google exchange was a key reason for Apple's refusal to buy Bing. In addition, Apple is worried that Bing is not as good as Google search in terms of quality and ability.
Still, Apple uses Bing search in some businesses. From 2013 to 2017, Bing became the default search engine for Apple's voice assistant Siri and Spotlight. Spotlight is a search function from the iPhone and iPad home screens. But Apple resumed cooperation with Google in 2017 as part of an updated revenue-sharing agreement, although Bing remains an option for Safari search.
Last night, Microsoft business development executive Jon Tinter said in court that Microsoft had also considered investing billions of dollars in Apple in 2016 to make Bing the default search engine for Apple devices. At the time, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Satya Nadella) and Apple CEO Tim Cook (Tim Cook) also held talks about this.
Currently, Google is still the search engine for Siri and Spotlight, and the default option for Safari. During the testimony, Eddy Cue said the deal between Apple and Google was extended in 2021. It has been a year or more since Microsoft considered selling Bing to Apple.
Eddy Cue also hinted that Bing's technology is not as good as Google's. He said he didn't know how to end up if negotiations with Google broke down.
Analysts say that if Apple does buy Bing, it is unlikely to simply integrate it into its own platform. In previous acquisitions, Apple has built a new feature after buying basic technology and resources.
Eddy Cue stressed in his testimony that Apple did not see the need to develop its own search tool because Google was clearly the best choice. This is different from what Apple has done in other areas, such as competing with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and mobile and computer operating systems.
Responsible Editor: Li Tong