I2C Credit Economy May 2024 Banner

Microsoft Eyed Apple Deal to Make Bing Default Search Engine on Safari

Microsoft Emphasizes Importance of GPU Supply for AI

Microsoft reportedly considered investing billions of dollars in a deal with Apple in 2016, aiming to make Microsoft’s Bing search engine the default on Apple’s Safari browser.

The goal of the potential agreement was to challenge the dominant search engine, Alphabet’s Google, a Microsoft executive testified Thursday (Sept. 28) during the U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing antitrust trial against Alphabet, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

Jon Tinter, a business development vice president at Microsoft, testified that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with Apple CEO Tim Cook as part of the discussions, according to the report.

The deal would have involved Microsoft taking a multibillion-dollar loss initially but would have helped Bing gain more market share and revenue in the long run, the report said. While Microsoft had previously secured a deal for Apple to use Bing in Siri and Spotlight, it wanted to expand the partnership to include Safari.

The deal would have posed challenges for Microsoft, per the report. As Bing was much smaller than Google, Microsoft would have had to offer Apple a larger percentage of revenue from ads linked to user queries. This would have resulted in substantial losses for Microsoft in the short term. The company’s executives even discussed how to explain the potential negative impact to shareholders.

Tinter also testified that Microsoft attempted to persuade Samsung Electronics to use Bing as the default search engine on its smartphones, according to the report. However, despite potentially superior economics, Samsung declined the offer due to its partnership with Google. Microsoft’s efforts to convince Samsung executives were in vain, as they believed it was not worth the trouble.

In 2018, Microsoft and Apple had serious discussions about collaborating on search outside the United States, the report said. Microsoft developed a strategy to improve its search capabilities and gain Apple’s confidence in making the switch.

The antitrust trial at which Tinter testified began Sept. 12. A Google lawyer, John Schmidtlein, said in his opening statements that companies choose Google as their default search engine not because of a lack of competition but because it is simply the best option available.

The trial aims to determine whether Google has unlawfully monopolized the online search market. The Justice Department and 52 attorneys general allege that Google has engaged in exclusive deals with web browsers, smartphone makers and wireless providers to secure its position as the default search engine.