Should Microsoft sell Bing?

By on July 26, 2011, 2:30 PM

Microsoft has been pushing Bing pretty heavily since its inception in 2009, but is it time for the number one operating system provider to let go of their number two ranked search engine? Two writers for Reuters believe so in a recently posted piece, citing a $2.6 billion loss last fiscal year in the division that runs Bing.

Bing is trying to compete in a market dominated by Google. Microsoft is currently responsible for nearly 30 percent of the US search market while Google’s claim is more than double. The reporting duo believes that Bing could be worth as much as $11 billion to the right buyer, which would certainly help investors sleep easier at night, at least in the short term future.

The idea to sell perhaps isn’t so outlandish and there could be potential buyers. Apple was recently reported to be interested in video streaming website Hulu to boost their video offerings. If done right, a web search presence could further strengthen their iOS product line. The authors also believe that Facebook could make a good match, as the company already uses Bing in their search results. A Zuckerberg buy could give Facebook more leverage against Google and their rapidly growing social network Google+, which pulled in 20 million users after just three weeks. Any talk of Google buying out Bing is unlikely as this would almost certainly bring about antitrust issues.

Others in the tech industry, however, aren’t so sure that Microsoft should sell. Computer World writer Preston Gralla indicates that Bing itself might not have lost $2.6 billion, but the entire division did, which includes other products that might not have generated any revenue.

“Beyond that, though, Bing is central to the future of Microsoft, especially in mobile, where the greatest growth is. Ultimately, a major reason Microsoft needs Windows Phone to succeed is because of ad revenue from online searching, which is a tremendous growth market. In addition, mobile search will become the glue that holds many other mobile services together, an area where Microsoft desperately needs to succeed.”

What search provider do you use on a daily basis? Do you think it makes sense for Microsoft to offload Bing already?

User Comments: 26

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Mizzou Mizzou said:

My daily search provider is Google, however it and Gmail are the only Google products that I use. Believe it would be a mistake for Microsoft to sell Bing; it's clearly making headway and as the article states could come into play in the mobile sector.

treeski treeski said:

Even if Microsoft is taking a loss, the company should definitely not sell Bing. Its marketshare has steadily increased since its inception and it is a great product. Microsoft has invested a lot in Bing (including significant advertising in TV shows, radio, etc.). The company needs to remain a competitor in the search market.

Guest said:

Microsoft will NOT sell Bing. I can guarantee that. Did the poster not even watch the Global Partner Conference Microsoft just hosted in LA? Bing was one of they key areas Steve focused on in his keynote and how Bing integrates perfectly with the Windows platform on all devices (e.g. desktop, mobile, XBOX, etc).

Guest said:

Just get rid of it, it's useless... I sure don't use it and the name just sounds lame...

Guest said:

I use Bing, people always say that Google is better but since actually using Bing I have found it to be better and many others agree with me. MS selling Bing will never happen.

Guest said:

I use Bing because I hate Google. When it all comes down I often have to go to Google to find what I'm looking for. Bing has some of the strangest results.

Also, if Bing is no 2... the lower ranked search engines must be pretty sad.

Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Money burning aside, I don't think selling Bing is a good move for Microsoft. It's a wild assumption to make that Bing alone is responsible for the $2+ billion loss, but even if that was the case, 30% of the U.S. search market (including Yahoo results I suppose)... for a company like Microsoft that fighting position likely has no price given the future potential.

Route44 Route44, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Just get rid of it, it's useless... I sure don't use it and the name just sounds lame...

Such an in-depth answer. So, you don't use it so therefore get rid of it. The name is lame to you so the answer is... get rid of it. Priceless.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Just get rid of it, it's useless... I sure don't use it and the name just sounds lame...

What Route said^

M1r said:

I really doubt they'll sell Bing since they implemented it into Mango (mobile). I think their growth will further once Nokia starts selling windows phones as their primary OS. What do y'all think?

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't think Microsoft should sell Bing. Although i use Google, It's important that companies provide competition, whatever the marketplace. I hope Microsoft keep going with it.

Guest said:

Its a no no to sell Bing. I have been using it and love the Bing homepage image of the day.

If Bing is already No. 2 it has come a long way and progressed a lot then because it only came several years ago while Google has been there eversince I started using a laptop

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All the hype about "Just Google it" and I have never had an issue finding anything I wanted, with any of Microsoft's default search engines. Google maybe better, I have never needed it though.

Guest said:

Love Bing. It's my browsers' (IE, FireFox) default page.

gooderguy gooderguy said:

I have to admit, I was totally wrong when I though Microsoft would never make it in the game console market. I was actually secretly hoping they would fail actually. I just can't help but have this feeling that they are trying to dominate to many markets, yet giving other competition is a good thing. Though they have very little competition in the O/S market.

As for Bing, I seriously gave it a try, I just feel more comfortable with Google. And I also doubt they will sell Bing, I know Google also is getting pretty oversized too but I still prefer using their online apps, I use most of them daily. Somehow, for no good reason at all, I feel a little less irritated when I have a problem with something like Google Docs as opposed to Microsoft Word.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't think it make any business sense to sell bing at this point in time, the aim is not to make money from the get go, but to build a solid platform for future as many have already pointed out. Secondly, I am of the point of view that a company should not be heeding to every useless word investors utter, as even if a product may be making some loss, its strategic importance outweighs it easily. By the way, I haven't used Google for anything in years now.

nigel said:

I use Google as Bing rarely finds the correct things. Microsofts own web site is now a disaster using Bing to find things

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@Guest: Such a piece of claptrap.


Guest said:

I use Bing, I like it and the name is great, so they should keep it.

Ok, Ok, just joking about the other Guest posting.

Really, I use Bing on a regular basis and get good results. I think Microsoft tends to look at long term slow and steady growth and take over of business. MS is not the first on the scene but once a market is established they put something in place, it usually is not that great but so, so. Over time they slowly improve, while competitors are usually flat, so MS catches up and competes head to head. They then link that product into other MS products to create the one stop shop of domination.

Guest said:

The most cost effective way for go to no1 is go to no2 and wait no1 fail.

Guest said:

@Mizzou: agreed. Google needs some competition to keep sharp, after all.

Guest said:

@ Archean

1 search doesn't account for the millions possible. Sure to some extent Bing will compete with Google.. but when it all comes down Bing is still no 2 for a reason...and from my experience it's a BIG one.

veLa veLa said:

It's not the best or biggest search engine, but I think it's a place that M$ has been successful in and should retain their business practice in.

Guest said:

Who use BING? Am never tempted to use it, an never will. Google cant go wrong for me.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

@ Archean

1 search doesn't account for the millions possible. Sure to some extent Bing will compete with Google.. but when it all comes down Bing is still no 2 for a reason...and from my experience it's a BIG one.

There are instances where Google would fail too, few years ago I needed to find some financial information and it would just not yield any useful search results. Whereas, yahoo at least gave me a link to what I wanted, well I must admit it was on page # 2, still better than google. There isn't any silver bullet in this, the margin of difference is so little, it comes to personal preference now IMO. But hey may be I know how to form a better search syntax than others :p

nismo91 said:

last month i was checking a map of a city in Indonesia. im surprise googlemaps doesn't display one important freeway to the airport and i had to use bing maps to check it out. that's when i know i gonna use both next time.

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