Microsoft is reportedly considering the introduction of a new super app that will look to disrupt Apple and Google’s dominance over mobile search.
As reported by The Information, the company is looking into launching an app that would combine “shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds, and other services in a one-stop smartphone app.” Executives at the company are mulling such a move in order to “wanted the app to “boost the company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business and Bing search, as well as draw more users to Teams messaging and other mobile services.”
According to the report, investment in the idea is coming directly from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Nadella wants the company to potentially emulate the success that Tencent has achieved with WhatsApp.
While it isn’t clear whether Microsoft will ultimately launch such an app, the people with knowledge of the discussions said CEO Satya Nadella has laid the groundwork by pushing the Bing search engine to work better with other Microsoft mobile products. For instance, he has directed Bing to integrate with Microsoft’s Teams messaging and Outlook email apps, making it easier for customers to share search results in messages.
Such an app could be a way to entice more users to use Bing for search instead of Google, especially on the iPhone. iPhone users have been accustomed to Google being the default search engine on the iPhone for years. While Nadella has attempted to win over Apple, Google has won that contract year after year.
Microsoft has periodically bid on Apple’s mobile search contract, according to a former employee briefed on the situation, but Google has won the deal every time. The negotiations have typically taken place directly between Nadella and top Apple executives behind closed doors, leaving many top Microsoft executives in the dark about the process, this person said.
There’s currently no concrete evidence Microsoft will go after such an app and, if it does, when it could launch. Until then, Nadella can continue to try and outbid Google on the iPhone. Imagine a world where Bing was the default search engine!