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Microsoft may create a universal “super app” to bring together different services and fight the Apple-Google mobile search partnership.
According to a report released on Tuesday, the company is considering building an app that combines shopping, messaging, web search, news and other services.
Microsoft executives see the app as a way to boost their advertising business and boost their Bing search rankings. The company hopes to emulate the likes of Tencent, which has rich apps including WeChat.
Whether Microsoft will ever launch such an application is still being decided. However, sources say CEO Satya Nadella is laying the groundwork by pushing Bing to work more effectively with other Microsoft mobile products.
Bing is at a disadvantage on mobile platforms compared to Google. Google has a billion dollar contract with Apple to make its search engine the default on iOS, just like it is on Android.
Microsoft also doesn't have its own mobile app store, forcing it to rely on competitors to attract and retain users. And competitors have rules, like when Microsoft tried to put a mobile game store on the App Store.
According to a former employee, Microsoft periodically bid on Apple's contract, but each time won Google. However, regulators are eyeing a partnership between Apple and Google.
The Justice Department is seeking an injunction against a pending antitrust lawsuit against Google to prevent the deal from being renewed, saying it unfairly stifles competition. However, the deal between Apple and Microsoft may not generate the same level of attention, as Bing's share of the web search market is much lower than Google's.
Apple's search engine rumors resurfaced earlier in 2022, with analyst Robert Scoble saying the company will introduce it in January 2023.