What you need to know
- Microsoft is looking to win a bid with Mozilla that would make Bing the default search engine for Firefox, according to a report.
- Bing has drawn a lot of public interest, but recent data suggests that the introduction of the new Bing powered by AI has not resulted in a significant increase in market share.
- Mozilla's current Firefox contract is scheduled to expire at some point this year, which paves the way for Microsoft to bid for the next contract.
Bing added several AI features this year, including a chatbot that utilizes OpenAI's GPT-4. While the new Bing has garnered attention from the media and interest from the public, it doesn't appear to have resulted in a significant increase in search engine market share. Our Managing Editor Jez Corden recently gathered together data from several sources which suggests Bing usage is generally flat.
But Bing may gain some market share through another avenue, becoming the default search engine for Firefox. A report by The Information states that Microsoft is looking to win the Firefox contract, which is due for renewal this year.
The report cites two people with direct knowledge of the situation, stating that Bing leaders reportedly want to win the contract with Firefox.
At the moment, Google pays Mozilla, which owns Firefox, a percentage of ad revenue that is generated by Google. Microsoft does not make as much money per ad, according to The Information. That could require Microsoft and Mozilla to structure a deal differently than what Mozilla currently has with Google.
Bing would not need to gain much in market share to generate meaningful revenue. Microsoft CFO Phil Ockenden said in an investor call earlier this year that "For every one point of share gain in the search advertising market, it’s a $2 billion revenue opportunity for [Microsoft's] advertising business."
If becoming the default search engine for Firefox results in even a modest increase in market share, it could be lucrative for Microsoft and, in turn, Mozilla.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at email@example.com.