Microsoft considered investing in Apple in 2016 with the goal of making its Bing search engine the default browser on Apple’s Safari web browser, according to a Microsoft executive. Jon Tinter, a Microsoft business development vice president, revealed this information during the antitrust case against Google. Tinter stated that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple CEO Tim Cook had discussions about this potential investment.
The motivation behind Microsoft’s interest in Apple was to increase Bing’s market share and revenue. By becoming the default search engine on Safari, Bing would have gained more visibility and relevance. However, Tinter acknowledged that Microsoft would have incurred a financial loss with this investment.
Currently, the default search engine on Safari is Google. However, users have the option to change their search engine to Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia. Apple executive Eddy Cue recently testified in the same antitrust case and mentioned that there was no “valid alternative” to Google at the time, and to this day, there still isn’t one.
The Department of Justice’s case against Google alleges that the company’s contracts to secure its search engine as the default choice on web browsers and mobile devices are illegal. Apple’s search deal with Google is believed to be highly profitable for the iPhone maker. In the most recent quarter, Apple generated $21.2 billion in revenue from Services, an increase from $19.6 billion in the same quarter the previous year.
While Microsoft’s potential investment in Apple did not materialize, the revelation sheds light on the competitive dynamics in the search engine industry. The case against Google highlights the importance of default search engine agreements and the potential impact on market dominance. Whether there will be significant changes in default search engine preferences or regulatory action as a result of this case remains to be seen.