‘They aren’t going to get a plurality of people to use Bing’


Letter to the Editor logoIn the lawsuit against Google’s leadership in online search, it appears that the Department of Justice and the State Attorneys General who brought the suit are overly concerned about Microsoft, a multi-trillion dollar company, and use of its oft-ridiculed Bing search engine.

In recent testimony during the ongoing Google trial, it was revealed that Microsoft had actively participated in bidding for Bing to be the iPhone’s default search engine. Despite offering Apple attractive financial incentives, Microsoft lost out to Google. Microsoft, with its sizable resources, is of course fully capable of competing for default contracts.

So why Google and not Bing? Apple recognized that Google search is the superior service, and this decision was driven by a commitment to enhancing the user experience.

Even when the Blackberry, with Bing as the default, was popular, a remarkable 91% of searches from those devices were still conducted using Google. This data underscores two important points. First, consumers have the competence to change default settings on their devices, even from the early days of smartphones. Second, consumers overwhelmingly preferred the Google search experience.

As the Justice Department and State AGs assess their priorities going into 2024—including at the DAGA policy conference in Boston next week—they should consider shifting their attention away from private business disputes and toward consumer protection. No matter who the government sues, they aren’t going to get a plurality of people to use Bing. Perhaps it is time to actually protect consumers, and taxpayers’ wallets, by dropping the case and just letting this one go.

Kathryn Sullivan

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