Microsoft Pitched Apple on Bing Acquisition, But Talks Fell Through

Remember that friend who never wants you to stay back and makes sure that you are consistently winning? Guess what? We think Apple might be that friend to the web browser "Bing". In the world of tech giants, partnerships and rivalries are as common as app updates. But every now and then, a juicy tidbit of history emerges, like the tantalizing tale of Apple and Microsoft's Bing affair.

Picture this: It's the year 2020 when face masks are popular, and Zoom calls are the new water, more relaxed conversation. Microsoft is having secret discussions with Apple in the midst of all of this. What exactly is the hot topic? Bing! Yes, the search engine that many people had forgotten existed.

According to rumors (and those mysterious "people with knowledge of the matter"), Microsoft and Apple have been in secret talks about Bing being the default search engine on Apple's devices. It's like advising to a friend that they swap in their Ferrari for a vintage scooter - bold, to say the least.

But wait, there's a twist. Apple was already cozying up to Google, negotiating to renew their agreement. In this cozy arrangement, Google slipped Apple a cut of its ad revenue generated from searches on iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Money talks, right?

Apple decided to continue with Google in 2016, increasing their partnership to encompass Siri and Spotlight searches. That's when Microsoft's hopes for Bing's greatness were cruelly dashed. However, fast forward to 2020, and the Bing saga receives a sequel.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft's top executives met with Apple's Services VP Eddy Cue to discuss the prospect of acquiring Bing. Yes, you read that right. Microsoft, the Windows behemoth, is considering purchasing Bing's own search engine progeny. These discussions appeared to be as exploratory as Columbus sailed the ocean blue and never progressed beyond the "what if" stage.

Why, you ask? Well, it turns out that Google's generous ad revenue sharing was a tough act to follow. Apple saw those dollar signs and decided it was too sweet a deal to pass up. Plus, there were some doubts about Bing's ability to take on Google in the quality and capability department. It's like trying to convince your friend to swap their gourmet pizza for a frozen microwaveable version – the taste just doesn't compare.

But our Bing saga is far from over. Fast forward to the present, and we receive a flashback. Microsoft VP Jon Tinter takes the stand, stating that Microsoft previously proposed becoming Bing Apple's default search engine, not just for Siri and Spotlight, but for everything. It's like convincing a friend to wear a fluorescent jumpsuit to a black-tie event.

Tinter spills the beans, stating that because Bing was the David to Google's Goliath, Microsoft would have to offer Apple a far greater slice of the revenue pie. In other words, they were willing to accept a multibillion-dollar hit to make it happen. That's the kind of dedication you'd expect from someone trying to convince their friend to join a polar plunge in the dead of winter.

Despite the financial challenges, Microsoft presented the concept to its board of directors. It was a dangerous action that may have resulted in calamity in the short term. Tinter recalls the conversation, adding, "It was all about trying to convince them that we could make the switch." It's like attempting to convince a buddy to put their life savings in Beanie Babies - audacious and potentially disastrous.

But, alas, these grand plans faded into the digital abyss. Apple and Microsoft found themselves in more discussions in 2018, this time about Bing's search outside the United States. Yet, like a ship lost at sea, these discussions led to nothing substantial.

So there you have it, the Bing Bang Theory that never quite took off. Partnerships in the computer field can be as volatile as Wi-Fi signals, and rivalries are like those never-ending software updates - always lurking in the background. Will Bing ever triumphantly return? Only time will tell, but for the time being, it is a footnote in the annals of technology history, a quirky tale of what may have been.

Read next: Meta's Marvelous Misadventure as the Curious Case of Data Scraping
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