Bing was very nearly owned by Apple, not Microsoft, in an attempt to squeeze out Google

Apple and Microsoft reportedly considered a deal that would have seen the Bing search engine sold to the iPhone maker in an attempt to take on Google.

1 minute & 8 seconds read time

Bing might not be the default search engine on Apple's hardware but that doesn't mean that the company isn't well aware of its existence. In fact, Apple was reportedly so aware of Bing that it considered buying it from Microsoft as recently as 2020.

That's according to a new Bloomberg report which describes tentative discussions surrounding the possibility of Apple buying the Bing search engine, with Apple services chief Eddy Cue reportedly involved in talks. Cue is also the person who wound up doing a deal with Google that saw it continue its years-long deal to be the default search option on the iPhone.

It's that deal that saw Cue wind up in court this week, appearing as a witness in an antitrust suit brought by the United States against Google. The US argues that Google unfairly dominates the search market. For his part, Cue argues that the billions of dollars Google pays Apple to be the default option was part of a deal agreed on merit, adding that Google is the best option out there.

However, Bloomberg's report claims that Apple and Microsoft did discuss a deal to make Bing the default as a part of a multibillion-dollar deal in 2016. The CEOs of both companies, Tim Cook and Satya Nadella, reportedly met to discuss the deal.

What Apple would have done with Bing is unclear of course, and the company has bought companies to turn them into services of its own to compete with Google before. It produces its own mapping app and service to compete with Google Maps, for example, but so far it's decided that search isn't one aspect worth getting involved in.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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