Bing the underdog to Google’s Search engine, even with the boost from OpenAI, has long been living in the shadow of Google’s colossal empire. While this isn’t groundbreaking news for most of us, it’s not often you see the head of a tech giant like Microsoft openly acknowledge the fact. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, took the stage at the U.S. v. Google antitrust trial and candidly admitted that his brainchild, Bing, lags far behind Google’s search juggernaut. But it’s his finger-pointing at Apple and the allure of the coveted default search engine spot on the iPhone that adds a riveting twist to this tech tale.
Nadella faced the courtroom’s scrutiny, defending his aspiration to challenge Google in the cutthroat search business. His reasoning? He views search as an even grander opportunity than Microsoft’s traditional flagships, Windows and Office. In his words, “I see search as the largest software category out there by far… I used to think of Windows and Office as attractive businesses until I saw search.”
However, he was quick to point the finger, identifying Google’s Faustian deal with Apple as the prime culprit behind Bing’s underperformance. Google’s search engine being the default option on iPhones had, in Nadella’s opinion, stifled Bing’s potential and left it gasping for relevance. The CEO admitted that securing that coveted spot on Apple devices could be a game-changer. So significant was this prospect to Nadella that he was willing to part with a staggering $15 billion annually, shroud the Bing brand for Apple searches, and bow to Apple’s privacy demands.
Yet, it’s a complex web that ties Apple to Google, as per Nadella. He perceives it as nearly impossible to sway Apple to Bing’s side. Why? Because Google holds the cards, capable of luring users away from Apple’s ecosystem through strategic advertising within its apps. In the cutthroat battle for search supremacy, it’s all about the default settings, and Google has used its financial might to lock down that position, leaving minimal breathing room for contenders like Bing.
Nadella’s revelations in the courtroom are nothing short of fascinating, especially when contrasted with the argument that Microsoft’s Bing, even as the default on Windows devices, couldn’t hold a candle to Google’s search prowess. Eddy Cue, an Apple executive, weighed in during the trial, stating that there still isn’t a “valid alternative” to the titan that is Google Search. The battle of these tech titans rages on, with Bing’s struggle for recognition as the “Google-slayer” vividly painted against the backdrop of Nadella’s bold admissions.