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Microsoft okay with losing billions if Bing can be Apple's search default

Microsoft believes Google's status as the default search engine has hurt Bing.

Published onOctober 2, 2023

Stock photo of Bing logo on phone
  • Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, has testified at Google’s antitrust trial.
  • Nadella claims Google’s status as the default search engine has crushed Bing as a business and product.
  • Nadella also claims his company was willing to give up billions to have Bing as the default search engine on Apple devices.

Back in 2022, we reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was looking to take Google to court over its deals to make its search engine the default on most browsers and all US smartphones. That trial is now underway, and Microsoft’s CEO had something surprising to say about Bing, Google, and Apple in his testimony.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was one of the first people to testify today at Google’s antitrust case. As reported by The Verge, Nadella told a narrative that painted Google as an insurmountable obstacle in its efforts to build a competitive search engine. He described Google’s status as the default search option as something that has crushed Bing as a business and product.

Why does Nadella believe Bing currently has no chance against Google? He claims that without scale and user data, it’s impossible to keep up with Google’s solution.

The DOJ is accusing Google of paying billions to cement its place as the default option. “Google invests billions in defaults, knowing people won’t change them. They are buying default exclusivity because defaults matter a lot,” DOJ attorney Kenneth Dintzer told a federal judge in 2022.

Microsoft appears to also understand just how valuable being the default is. According to the outlet, Nadella stated that he was prepared to give Apple all of the economic upside of a search deal if it made Bing the default. Nadella estimated that such an agreement would cost Microsoft as much as $15 billion a year. However, he added it would be worth it to make Bing bigger and more competitive.

Although Microsoft has had trouble competing against Google’s search engine, it has found some success in it’s embrace of AI. However, Microsoft’s Bing Chat also faces stiff competition from ChatGPT and Bard.