In 2018, Microsoft attempted to sell Bing to Apple per Google files.


Recently unsealed court filings revealed detailed information about the acquisition talks between Apple and Microsoft, which had been previously reported by Bloomberg in 2020. The documents disclosed that Microsoft had pitched Bing as the default search engine in Safari to Apple multiple times between 2009 and 2020. Despite these pitches, Apple consistently chose Google as the superior search engine for its users due to its search quality.

Google used these disclosed acquisition talks to argue against the US Justice Department’s lawsuit alleging Google’s monopoly in the web search industry. Google claimed that the competition between Microsoft and Apple, particularly in the search industry, demonstrated that Google faced competition. Eddy Cue, Apple’s services boss, criticized Microsoft’s search quality and investment in search, stating that they were not comparable to Google. The lucrative partnership between Google and Apple, where Google pays billions to be the default search engine, was a key reason why Apple’s talks to acquire Bing never progressed beyond exploratory stages.

The relationship between Apple and Microsoft, as highlighted in these court filings, sheds light on the highly competitive nature of the web search industry. Apple’s repeated preference for Google over Bing showcases the importance of search quality in decision-making. This revelation also underscores the significant revenue generated from partnerships in the tech industry, which can influence strategic acquisition discussions between major players like Apple and Microsoft. Ultimately, the disclosed details provide valuable insights into the dynamics of competition and collaboration within the tech ecosystem.

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