Microsoft’s Attempt to Sell Bing to Apple in 2018 Stymied by Search Quality Concerns

Microsoft's Attempt to Sell Bing to Apple in 2018 Stymied by Search Quality Concerns

In a surprising revelation from a court filing, it has come to light that Microsoft proposed selling its Bing search engine to Apple in 2018. This offer, which included the possibility of starting a Bing joint venture, was disclosed in documents unveiled during ongoing legal proceedings. Despite the potential for a significant shift in the search engine landscape, the deal was ultimately hindered by concerns over Bing’s search quality, as noted by Apple’s Eddy Cue​​.

Key Highlights:

  • Microsoft proposed selling Bing to Apple in 2018 or starting a joint venture.
  • The deal was not finalized due to concerns about Bing’s search quality.
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella admitted Bing’s inferiority to Google in court, highlighting the competitive struggle in the search engine market​​.

Microsoft's Attempt to Sell Bing to Apple in 2018 Stymied by Search Quality Concerns

The Competitive Landscape of Search Engines

The search engine market is highly competitive, with Google maintaining a dominant position. Microsoft’s Bing, despite being a significant player, struggles to compete with Google’s market share and search quality. This competitive environment was further illustrated when Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, acknowledged in court that Bing was inferior to Google. Such admissions underscore the challenges Microsoft faces in enhancing Bing’s market position​​.

Microsoft’s Strategic Moves and Challenges

Microsoft’s attempt to sell Bing to Apple reflects a strategic effort to alter the dynamics of the search engine market. By potentially making Bing the default search engine on Apple devices, Microsoft hoped to increase Bing’s user base and compete more effectively with Google. However, the quality of Bing’s search results and Microsoft’s investment in its search technology were significant factors that influenced Apple’s decision. These challenges highlight the difficulties Microsoft encounters in its quest to increase Bing’s market share and relevance​​.

The Broader Implications

The negotiations between Microsoft and Apple, and the subsequent decision not to proceed with the deal, reveal the complex interplay of business strategies, technology quality, and market dynamics in the tech industry. Microsoft’s willingness to sell Bing or enter into a joint venture with Apple indicates the lengths to which it would go to challenge Google’s dominance in the search engine space. Yet, the concern over Bing’s search quality and the strategic considerations of both companies ultimately shaped the outcome of these discussions​​​​.

The Strategic Intent Behind Microsoft’s Offer

Microsoft’s proposal to sell Bing to Apple or to start a joint venture was not just a business transaction but a strategic play. By aligning Bing with Apple’s ecosystem, Microsoft aimed to leverage Apple’s vast user base to increase Bing’s market penetration and visibility. This strategic intent underscores the importance of default search engines in securing user engagement and loyalty in the digital age.

The revelation that Microsoft offered to sell Bing to Apple in 2018 but was rebuffed due to search quality issues sheds light on the intricate competitive landscape of the tech industry. It underscores the challenges that companies face in their quest to compete with dominant players like Google. Microsoft’s acknowledgment of Bing’s inferiority and its strategic attempts to partner with Apple reveal the complexities of competing in the search engine market. This episode serves as a reminder of the critical importance of search quality and innovation in retaining and growing market share in the highly competitive tech industry.

About the author

Alice Jane

Alice is the senior writer and responsible for managing software and tablets section of PC-Tablet. She is very passionate about Gadgets & Technology and always looking around to use them in an innovative way in daily life. She reviews Gadgets & Applications to tell users about their optimum use to get the most out of in which they've put their time and hard earned money. You can contact her at