There are reports that Microsoft may try to spinoff and offload its Bing search engine service as pressures mount from inside and outside Microsoft. The idea is said to be opposed by current CEO Steve Ballmer, who says that Bing is a core strategic asset for the company as it tries to integrate Bing into more of its products and services.
More recently, there are speculations that Microsoft may try to sell Bing to Facebook. The two companies has enjoyed a strategic search partnership and as Facebook makes further gains in the Internet space, Bing may help the social network expand its focus. A Bing sell to Facebook was rumored about a year before, but at that time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had declined the sale stating that it had other focuses to concentrate on. However, news of a Facebook sale spurred again with Microsoft recently selling patents that it had acquired from AOL to Facebook.
According to ZDNet, it’s unclear if the sale will happen, but Microsoft executives aren’t sure of what to do with Bing as the search engine hasn’t made much of an impact against Google’s leading search.
The New York Times recently reported that Bing may be a closer fit for Facebook than it is for Microsoft:
Some executives within Microsoft have advocated selling Bing to another company, with the idea that a company better focused on the Internet market could pose a more credible challenge to Google, according to severalpeople with knowledge of the discussions who didn’t want to be identified talking about internal deliberations.
But despite speculations and rumors of internal pressure to spinoff Bing, Microsoft appears to be leveraging the Bing brand and technologies across a number of products. Bing is the default search on Windows Phone and like Google’s Drive cloud storage, Microsoft could leverage Bing’s search capabilities when it comes to data search and access on the cloud.
At this point, it seems that Ballmer may need to help make Bing’s intangible value as a strategic asset more tangible, and we’re just beginning to see that through more cross-product integration. In fact, Windows Phone is a great example of how Microsoft is leveraging its different businesses and assets together to deliver a consumer-centric product with Office, Windows, Bing, Zune, and even Xbox. When we get more of these types of synergies that drive a better experience, then perhaps the sum of the parts will be far more valuable than any one given component, and until that happens, Bing’s value may not be truly recognized.
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