CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Google: Microsoft Tried Multiple Times to Sell Bing to Apple

Google claims that Microsoft made several attempts to sell its search engine Bing to Apple.

That’s according to a report Monday (Feb. 26) by Seeking Alpha, citing a newly-unsealed post-trial brief from the U.S. government’s antitrust case against Google. 

The Justice Department accuses Google of holding a monopoly in the online search space and says the company has spent billions to ensure its search engine remains the default choice for smartphones. Google contends it engages in fair competition and uses Microsoft’s bid to work with Apple as proof.

According to the report, Google claimed in its filing that Microsoft asked Apple in 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020 to use Bing as the default search option on its Safari browser.

“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,” the filing said. “That is competition.”

Per the report, Apple executive Eddy Cue says this was because the quality of Bing’s searches fell short of what Google offered, and that Microsoft hadn’t invested “at level comparable” to Google. In addition, Google said its search engine received almost 80% of queries on U.S. computers running Windows, even though Bing is the default search on those devices.

The report follows court testimony from September of last year by Jon Tinter, a business development vice president at Microsoft, who said the company considered investing billions in a deal with Apple in 2016, to make Bing the search default on Safari.

Tinter said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with Apple CEO Tim Cook as part of the discussions. 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 term.

The trial also featured testimony from Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s head of search and advertising, who said the company paid $26.3 billion in 2021 to secure default search engine deals for most browsers and smartphones, marking the first time Google has publicly disclosed what it spends to ensure its remains the go-to search option.

As noted here at the time, that figure highlights the substantial investment Google makes to secure its dominant position in the search engine space, with the amount more than tripling over the last 10 years.