Recent reports have unveiled that Microsoft approached Apple with an offer to sell its search engine, Bing, back in 2020. The discussions, however, remained exploratory, with Apple demonstrating a marked reluctance to move forward with such an acquisition.
Apple's Reservations and Market Dynamics
Bloomberg reports that Microsoft representatives, including the then Services VP Eddy Cue, engaged with Apple to explore the possibility of acquiring the Bing division. Despite these initial conversations, the negotiations did not progress further. One of the primary reasons for Apple's hesitation was its skepticism regarding Bing's capability to rival Google in quality and functionalities. This skepticism, coupled with the substantial revenue Apple was receiving from its partnership with Google, played a pivotal role in the company's decision to not pursue the deal.
Context of Antitrust Allegations Against Google
The timing and nature of these discussions gain additional relevance in light of the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Google. The search giant has been accused by the Department of Justice of securing an unfair market advantage through exclusive agreements with device manufacturers and browser developers. Apple's financial arrangement with Google, which sees the latter as the default search engine on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, has been lucrative, with Apple earning billions annually from this partnership. Microsoft's Mikhail Parakhin openly stated in court, “It is no secret that Apple is making more money on Bing existing than Bing does.''
Historical Collaborations and Speculative Future
This revelation is not the first instance of Microsoft and Apple exploring collaborations surrounding Bing. Historical records indicate that discussions and meetings between Tim Cook and Satya Nadella, the respective CEOs of Apple and Microsoft, took place as early as significant factor in Apple's decision not to acquire Bing. “It is no secret that Apple is making more money on Bing existing than Bing does,'' Microsoft's Mikhail Parakhin disclosed during a court session.
Previous Agreements and Future Speculations
This wasn't the first instance of Microsoft and Apple engaging in talks about Bing. Meetings between the CEOs of both companies, Tim Cook and Satya Nadella, were held as early as 2016 to discuss potential deals. Despite Bing being the default for Siri and Spotlight searches for several years, a larger shift never materialized, and Apple continued its partnership with Google. The revelation of Microsoft's attempt to sell Bing adds a new layer to the narrative, highlighting the complexities and strategic maneuvers within the tech industry.