Microsoft willing to lose billions to make Bing Apple’s search default, CEO tells court

Google currently holds the default position, which is important to the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust case against the tech giant

It’s well known that Google rules the online search world, something that even Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella agrees with.

“Everybody talks about the open web, but there is really the Google web,” the executive said during his testimony under the U.S. vs. Google antitrust trial.

The Department of Justice is suing Google over allegations the company maintained a monopoly on the online search market through exclusive deals. Part of the government’s case is Google’s deal to be the exclusive browser on Apple’s Safari.

Google has argued this position isn’t as powerful as people are led to believe, as users can switch their use of the search engine. But Nadella called the claim “bogus.”

“Defaults are the only thing that matter,” he told the court. If it were a position Microsoft had through its search engine Bing, “it would be a game changer.”

If Apple switched to Bing, Microsoft would lose upwards of $15 billion USD (roughly $20 billion CAD) annually. But Nadella noted this was a move he was prepared to make. The company would even hide Bing’s branding in the search engines for Apple users and comply with any of the company’s privacy wishes. The position is extremely powerful.

However, the company hasn’t been successful in persuading Apple to make the switch. “[I’ve] focused every year of my tenure as CEO to see if Apple would be open” to the move, the CEO noted.

Nadella continued Google could further its dominance with the rise of AI. Microsoft has invested billions in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, which uses Bing as the default search engine. Microsoft also uses ChatGPT to power Bing Chat.

However, Nadella said he was concerned that Google could cut deals that would see companies only share data to train AI systems with the tech giant, cutting off every other search engine.

“I worry a lot, even in spite of my enthusiasm, that there is a new angle with AI,” Nadella said.

Google has introduced its own chatbot, Bard, which has yet to make its way to Canada.

Image credit: Shutterstock 

Via: The Verge, The New York Times, CNBC